The Regional Report: Aitkin police chief resigns while under investigation

Tim Catlin worked for the city of Aitkin for 39 years and was chief of police since 2014. He also served as Aitkin County sheriff 1995-99.

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Aitkin Police Chief Tim Catlin resigned late last month while on paid administrative leave during an investigation into a complaint, the Aitkin Independent Age reported Dec. 30.

The Aitkin City Council voted to accept Catlin’s resignation, but council members Erin Wagner and Leeann Moriarty opposed the motion. Wagner indicated her opposition centered on the fact the investigation into Catlin’s conduct would not continue by accepting the resignation.

The Age reported Jan. 6 the inquiry was indeed dropped and the nature of the complaint will remain secret per state law due to Catlin’s resignation.

Catlin worked for the city of Aitkin for 39 years and was chief of police since 2014. He also served as Aitkin County sheriff 1995-99. The agreement allowed Catlin to receive his full pension and one year of health insurance. He also was paid for unused vacation time, unused compensatory time and unused sick leave totaling $63,894.

In response to the matter, according to the Age, the Aitkin Police Department is considering using Lexipol, a company offering policy manuals, training bulletins and consulting services to public safety agencies.



The annual Crosslake-Ideal Lions fishing tournament on the Whitefish Chain will be named in honor of its founder who died in 2020, the Echo Journal reported Jan. 6.

The tournament was the brainchild of Joe Doerfler, a charter member of the Lions Club since 1982 who filled a number of leadership positions over the years. Doerfler died in November 2020 of COVID-19.


A part on the chlorine pump in the Deerwood city water system recently failed, leading to an excessive amount of bleach in the water supply, the Crosby-Ironton Courier reported Jan. 6.

Public Works Foreman Patrick Radtke explained the issue at the request of Mayor Mike Aulie during the Deerwood City Council’s Jan. 4 meeting. Radtke said they began flushing hydrants immediately to clear out the system and conducting water testing. Aulie said residents were not in danger because the levels remained in the safe zone.

Aulie said he would look into a system that would notify residents by email or text message, should something happen like this in the future.

Mille Lacs County

Mille Lacs County will see changes to its probation system after the Mille Lacs County Board voted to allow the Minnesota Department of Corrections to take over, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported Jan. 6.

The decision came in the wake of three county judges announcing a new appointment for the director post and not reappointing Director Ben Davis. The judges’ order stated the director serves at the pleasure of Mille Lacs County District Court and did not offer a reason for the change in leadership.

While Minnesota Judicial Branch policy requires collaboration with county officials, according to Assistant Administrator Holly Wilson, the board felt the judges made the decision without any input. The judges’ appointee Cara Fosteson urged commissioners to remain in a county-run model. But the board’s decision sets the stage for a transition to state corrections as of July 1.



A bomb threat led to a lockdown at an assisted living facility in Onamia, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported Jan. 6.

Law enforcement officials responded to the threat at Lake Song Assisted Living in the early morning hours of Dec. 28. A manager called 911 after learning an unknown male called and said he’d placed a bomb in the building. The Onamia Police Department and Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office swept the perimeter and building interiors after Mille Lacs Health System staff secured residents, but no device was found. Reviewing surveillance cameras further indicated there was no threat.

— Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or . Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at .

Joe Doerfler. Echo Journal file photo

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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