Pressure : 29.60 in
Dewpoint : 51.1 °
Wind : West
Hastings City Council members unanimously approved the hiring of a new police chief Friday. Pete Kortum will take the lead.
News 5's Lauren Conley was at the city council meeting Friday morning. Even though this was a unanimous decision, it was still a tough one.
Out of 27 applicants, the city narrowed it down to 4 finalists. Two of them are captains in the Hastings police department. That's Adam Story and Gene Bohner.
But, Kortum is also a captain from nearby Grand Island. His experience is what put him on top.
He's been an officer in Grand Island since 1974. 38 years worth of hard work.
"The community wants a person with a lot of experience, that has programs in mind that they can bring from other cities. I think Pete brings some of that stuff from Grand Island," said Hastings Mayor Vern Powers.
If you told Officer Kortum at the start of his career he'd someday be chief he never would have believed you.
"Growing up as a kid, you know, different people you look up to. For me it was teachers and the officers that worked in our neighborhood," said Kortum.
A captain with Grand Island Police, he realized he had room to grow.
"I recognized a few years ago, if I were ever to be chief I needed to go back to school," Kortum said.
He completed his Master of Arts and Management in 2010. The next step was finding the right chief position.
"The more I talked and met with people, I found, yeah, this is going to be the right fit community wise. Because it had to be more than police, the job only," said Kortum.
He says he's lucky having two of his fellow finalists working with him, Captains Adam Story and Gene Bohner.
"So a new chief coming in, gosh he's got the quality and leadership in place in the captain's positions. So, it's a good place for me to be," said Kortum.
With the chief position comes big responsibility. And, Officer Kortum is ready to fill those shoes.
"Every community, and this will be no different. There will be a small segment of the population who have just chosen to be criminals and that's where we need to target our efforts," Kortum said.
But, he's still sad to say goodbye to his roots.
"Oh, bittersweet probably describes it. I'm not a guy that likes to tread water. I want to keep growing and this is the way to do it," said Kortum.
Kortum is still serving as a captain in Grand Island. His first day as Chief of the Hastings Police Department will be December 3rd.
KHASTV on Facebook