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Sgt. Naomi Plautz to become interim WPD chief

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After years of service as the Wadena Police Department’s first female officer, Naomi Plautz is about make local history again as she becomes its first female chief July 30. Plautz was unanimously chosen by the Wadena City Council to become interim chief once the term of  retiring current chief Bruce Uselman expires.

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Although Plautz’s promotion to chief is a first for Wadena, she said her status as female in a traditionally male-dominated field is no longer part of her mindset.      

“I’ve been doing it for so long... I don’t even think of that anymore, honestly,” she said. “I mean, I’m an officer just like all my co-workers.”

Plautz said her gender has worked as both an advantage and disadvantage while she interacts with the citizens of Wadena. In certain situations the WPD handles, people feel better talking to a female officer, she said -- but in other cases subjects don’t want to listen. Often, however, Plautz’s working relationship with the Wadena townsfolk depends not on gender but on how familiar they are with her as a cop, she said.

Plautz also said her bond with the community has been improved by her experience as a D.A.R.E. officer; a role she has held since 2000.

“That has been a been a very, very awesome experience,” she said. “I’ve gotten to meet so many neat kids over the years.”

Originally from Wisconsin, Plautz moved to Bertha with her family when she was five years old. She attended Bertha-Hewitt High School and later graduated from Alexandria Technical College with a degree in law enforcement in 1996. Her first job in law enforcement was working as a jailer/dispatcher for the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office while she attended college.

Plautz currently lives in Deer Creek with her husband and four children.

ZACH KAYSER | WADENA PJ

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