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New public safety chief Still is eager to embrace Mitchell role

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Glen Still, pictured this week in his office at Mitchell Public Safety Building, took over as Mitchell's new Director of Public Safety on Sept. 30. (Matt Gade / Republic)

After 33 years with a Nebraska police department, Glen Still said he knew it was time for a career change when Mitchell’s director of public safety position opened up this summer.

Despite being a lifelong Nebraskan before beginning his new role four weeks ago, that change has been eased by Still’s ties to the Mitchell area that began 18 years ago.

At that point, Still crossed state lines every summer to work at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. That’s where he met Wanda, an Alexandria native who was a dispatcher in Mitchell at the time. The two started a long-distance relationship and eventually got married, at which point Wanda moved to Fremont, Nebraska.

“Her folks still live in Alexandria. Some of her family live in Mitchell,” Still said of his wife. “So we always came up here, all the time, numerous times a year. It was just like driving up the street for us, after a time — even though it was three hours away. I just got to know the community. I got to know people here.”

So when former Director of Public Safety Lyndon Overweg retired in June, Still said accepting the position was a win-win. Mitchell’s City Council approved the hire at the beginning of September, and Still officially took over on Sept. 30.

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Mayor Bob Everson told The Daily Republic on Wednesday that between 10 and 20 candidates applied for the job in total.

“All the candidates we interviewed were more than qualified. Any one of them could have fit the bill,” Everson said. “We picked Glen because of his experience and what his ideas are.”

That experience includes time as an EMT and volunteer firefighter, though the majority of Still’s career was spent at the Fremont Police Department, where he began working 33 years ago after time with the Union Pacific Railroad after high school.

“The railroad was making a lot of changes. I was a reserve down there for a few years, and then when the railroad offered to give me a buyout, then the city was hiring, so I was hired as a patrol officer,” Still said. “I was there several years, and I was originally promoted to corporal; sergeant; lieutenant.”

Still has additionally attended Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, is nationally certified as a public manager through the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice, business and public administration, respectively.

Fremont has a population of 28,000 and is located just west of Omaha, and Still said while the population in Mitchell is smaller and farther from a major metropolitan area, it has many similarities to Fremont, and public safety goals are the same across the board.

Still said what he’s valued most about working in law enforcement is the ability to make a difference in the lives of those in the community, even by only having brief contact with them.

“If you can help somebody in one way or another, you never know how you’re going to fix somebody’s life,” he said.

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Though still getting to know his coworkers and learning how the Mitchell Department of Public Safety operates, Still said he’s begun to identify some goals for the department.

One of those is budgeting to ensure the department has everything it needs but is still saving money where possible, such as with rotating out police patrol vehicles as they get run down over time.

“He’s been able to come forward with some good ideas so far, and we’re working to take those into account. I think he’s going to be an asset for the department,” Everson said.

Still also said he wants to make sure sensitive information is being handled properly and disposed of on a more regular basis.

“I’m trying to move it so we shred several times a year versus maybe once, so it’s not laying around,” he said. “It’s not that it’s unsecured, it’s just that you don’t want that stuff laying around; if you’re done with it, you’re done with it.”

After several weeks of Still juggling working in Mitchell during the week and going back to Fremont on the weekends to pack, Tobin Transfer and Storage moved the Stills and their two dachshunds to Mitchell this week for what Still said he expects to be a long time.

“I plan on being here quite a while,” he told The Daily Republic on Monday. “I wanted to make a career move at this time in my life, and I’m going to work at it for quite some time to come.”

In his first month on the job, Still said his days have gone by quickly, even when he goes into work early enough and stays late enough to ensure he gets to know those who work nights.

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“I really enjoy it. I’m happy I came. Sometimes in life, you just need to make a career change, and my education and everything has steered me toward a position like this,” Still said. “I really appreciate the mayor for choosing me for the position, and the council for supporting it and having their faith in me to be the man for the job. I’m going to do what I can to do my best.”

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