Minneota chief takes new job in Cold Spring

Minneota Police Chief Eric Johnson is leaving the community he’s served for 17 years. Johnson has accepted a position as chief of police in Cold Spring.

Johnson was Minneota’s only full-time police officer. In Cold Spring, Johnson will supervise seven full-time officers and another seven part time.

The job offer was contingent on a background check and psychological evaluation, which Johnson said he passed on Wednesday. Now all that remains is the results of a physical examination on Friday, and he’ll be ready to give his two-week notice to Minneota.

“I wasn’t looking for a job when I applied,” Johnson said. “My wife and I were on our way to Brainerd to see my folks when we passed through Cold Spring. I mentioned the position was open, and she said, ‘Are you going to apply?’ I said I hadn’t planned to, and she said she thought it was a good idea. So a couple interviews and a public forum later and here we are.”

According to Minneota City Administrator Shirley Teigland, the city hasn’t formally moved on seeking a replacement for Johnson yet as his resignation hasn’t been submitted.

The background and psychological tests were originally supposed to take about a month, but Cold Spring moved more quickly than either Johnson or Teigland expected.

“Eric Johnson is an outstanding community-focused police chief who will be missed by the officers at the city of Minneota,” said Matthew Loeslie, law enforcement training director at Minnesota West Community and Technical College and one of Minneota’s six part-time police officers. “He’ll do a great job at Cold Spring.”