Retired Coon Rapids Police Chief Steve Wells has announced that he will run for the at-large seat on the Coon Rapids City Council in this year’s election.
The position will be vacant because three-term at-large Councilmember Scott Schulte is not running for re-election as he is a candidate for the Anoka County Board.
As a 32-year resident of Coon Rapids and a longtime member of the police department, Wells feels he has a lot to offer, he said.
According to Wells, he is familiar with city government, knows the process and the roles of the council and staff.
Wells joined the police department as a patrol officer in 1978, was promoted to sergeant in 1989, then to captain in 1992 and chief in 1998. He retired in May 2010.
“I want to give back to the city and it’s something I want to do,” said Wells, who has never run for elective office before.
“Being away from city government for two years has changed my perspective on things.”
“I have been encouraged to run by people I respect.”
In Wells’ view, the city is run very well and is not broken, he said.
But the city should stick to its core roles of public safety, public works and amenities like parks and trails, Wells said.
Wells is an advocate of a park bond referendum to provide money to improve and parks and trail system, an issue the council has under consideration, provided it is a reasonable amount, he said.
“The city has got the right idea in trying to attract citizen involvement through community meetings, but it is a difficult thing to do,” Wells said.
While Wells believes the communication between council and citizens is good, he would like to improvement the communication between staff and the community, he said.
“The city’s advisory commissions do a great job, with people who have served for many years bringing a lot of experience,” Wells said.
A concern of Wells is that partisanship might come to city government, something that has not affected the council to date, he said.
“In my experience as police chief for 11 years, you can’t let the words of a small vocal minority speak for a city of 61,000 people,” Wells said.
Raised in New Brighton, Wells graduated from Irondale High School in 1973 and received an associate in science degree in law enforcement from North Hennepin Community College in 1975.
He later earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree while he was working for the police department.
Wells and his wife Paula have two children, Matthew, who is a career firefighter with the Coon Rapids Fire Department, and Kristin, who works at the Andover YMCA.
Matthew and his wife Kelly have a son, Colton, 3, and 10-month-old triplet daughters, Allie, Brynn and Tori, while Kristin and her husband Paul Perez have a son, Wesley, 1.