By Katie Dahlstrom
Clinton resident Brian Winkel started living a life-long dream Wednesday after he was sworn in as the newest officer of the Clinton Police Department.
“It’s something I wanted to do as long as I can remember,” Winkel, 28, said. “I want to protect and serve the public.”
Before joining the force, Winkel earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ashford University and managed a tax office. He also has volunteered as a Clinton County Sheriff’s Reserve deputy since November 2011.
“The timing was right and I got some experience with the Sheriff’s reserves. I really gained some knowledge there,” Winkel said.”I feel great. I’m excited to start the journey.”
Winkel will attend the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy’s 252nd basic training school from Aug. 26 to Dec. 6. When he returns, he will start the Clinton Police Department’s field training officer program where he will learn all aspects of the job during the four-month training.
He will fill the vacancy created when officer Mike Wirth resigned to join the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office in April.
“We’re glad to have him on board with his experience,” Police Chief Brian Guy said, adding the hiring process for a new officer, including training, is nearly a year long. “He’ll hit the ground running when he comes back.”
Winkel is the second officer to be sworn in to the department in the last month, bringing the department up to its budgeted strength of 40 officers. Of those 40, 38.5 are funded by the city, with the remaining 1.5 funded through the agreement for school resource officers with the Clinton School District.
Kennie Sparks took his oath in July, replacing former officer Luke Kuehl, who left to join the Illinois State Police.
Mayor Mark Vulich welcomed the new additions to the force.
“I’m glad to see the department is back up to budgeted strength. It will take some of the stress off the department and put more police on the streets,” Vulich said.