Chiefs of Police

Chief Cudd Warren

The first known Chief of Police for the City of Big Lake, was Cudd Warren. Chief Warren served during the 1950's to 1960's, although the exact dates are unknown.

Chief Virgil McNabb

Chief McNabb was the second serving Chief, he was assisted by one officer during his time, making for a two officer department. Prior to Chief McNabb, the City of Big Lake relied on an appointed “Marshal” to administer law enforcement services. Chief McNabb would have served during the 1950's to 1960's, although the exact dates are unknown.

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Chief Darell Burma

Chief Darell Burma served during the 1960's to 1970's, although the exact dates are unknown.

Chief Robert Armstrong

Chief Robert Armstrong served during the 1970's, although the exact dates are unknown.

Chief Ken Zaske

The exact dates of Chief Zaske’s service are not available but it would have been during the 1970's, we do know he also served with a second officer making for a two officer department.

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Chief Willard Swanson

Chief Willard Swanson served during the 1970's to 1980's, although the exact dates are unknown.

Chief Steven Bockwitz

(1981-1988) In June of 1981 Chief Steven Bockwitz assumed office. During Chief Bockwitz’s tenure, the department grew to four full time officers, and two part time officers. In 1986 under Chief Bockwitz, the Big Lake Police Department Reserve Officer Unit was formed. This unit began with three volunteer Reserve Officers who assisted with policing various community activities, and accompanying officers on patrol.

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Chief Jeff Lindberg

(1988-1995) Jeff Lindberg assumed the position of Chief of Police during this time span, the department continued to function with four full time, and two part time police officers.

Chief “Skip” Gerlach

(1995-2001) Chief Gerlach assumed the position of Chief of Police during this time span. During Chief Gerlach’s tenure, the department expanded to five full time, and four part time officers, and one full time and one part time secretary.

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Chief Sean Rifenberick

(2001-2011) It was during the tenure of Chief Rifenberick that the City of Big Lake experienced extreme population growth. Because of this growth, the Big Lake Police Department grew to 14 full time officers, and 3 full time secretarial staff. During the economic downturn which began in 2009, the department shrunk to 11 full time officers and 2 full time secretarial staff.

Chief Joel Scharf

(2012-Current) Joel Scharf assumed the position of Chief in August of 2012. From December of 2011 to Chief Scharf appointment, the Chief of Police Position was filled on a contract basis with the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, Commander Steven Doran filled this role. As call for service loads continued to increase, and population once again growing, a 12th full time police officer was added back to the ranks in 2014, they serve along with our two full time Police Specialists (Prior Titled Secretaries).

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