Dozens Attend Vigil To Support Cloquet Police Chief

Chief Steve Stracek Is On Paid Admin. Leave After ‘Vote of No Confidence’ By Officer

CLOQUET, Minn. – A different kind of vigil was held outside Cloquet City Hall Tuesday  that didn’t involve a death. It was instead a community effort to close what some consider a growing divide between the City Council, residents, and the Police Department.

This all stems around Police Chief Steve Stracek, who was put on paid administrative leave about a month ago.

The community is very split on the council’s decision to investigate a “no vote of confidence” against Chief Stracek by his own police officers.

Dozens of community members gathered outside the front doors of Cloquet City Hall to pray for a city they feel is under a dark cloud of controversy.

“We are a city divided, the leadership is divided and we wanted a chance to come together through prayer and worship.” Says Citizen Jenny Rackliffe

“I think the majority of people are unhappy about the whole event, how it was handled. It’s been ongoing for a long time,” Says Resident Don Walsh.

As of now, city officials only confirm the investigation does not involve anything criminal.

But the Teamsters Local 346 (officers’ police union) goes further saying: “After all other attempts at communication failed, members of the Cloquet Police Department conducted a ‘Vote of No Confidence’ in Chief Stracek. This vote was the last resort to express concern over the chief’s lack of leadership, lack of communication, lack of support for officers, and poor policy decisions that have created an alarming state of morale and concerns regarding public and officer safety.”

While the investigation involving the allegations continues with no clear answers, longtime residents of Cloquet have mixed emotions.

“There’s more we don’t know than what we do know. We do know that a lot of people that we care about are going through a bit of controversy,” said local Pastor Fred Goldschmidt.

“We are here to pray for good and honest leadership and for our leadership to lead with integrity,” says Rackliffe.

Cloquet councilors had no comment for this story Tuesday.

But Mayor David Hallback did release his own statement to FOX 21: “I am still being advised that I am not to talk about the situation at hand.  The matter is still under investigation. I will say this, that I believe prayer is good for everyone.”

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken also attended the vigil in support of his fellow co-worker from Stracek’s 21 years on the Duluth Police Department.


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