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Lake Country Faces: After 11 years, there’s a new chief in town

Mike Davis takes over Pequot Lakes Police Department; he and his family are well-known in the area

Pequot Lakes Police Chief Mike Davis Jan. 2023.JPG
Pequot Lakes Police Chief Mike Davis poses outside his office in the Pequot Lakes Police Department on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, two days after being promoted.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal
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PEQUOT LAKES — Mike Davis never planned to become a police chief.

I’ve got about eight more years that I still want to continue in law enforcement. So I figured I’d give it a shot, being that I’m vested in the community.
Mike Davis

But after a 22-year law enforcement career, including the past seven years in Pequot Lakes, he decided to apply for the city’s open position.

“I’ve got about eight more years that I still want to continue in law enforcement. So I figured I’d give it a shot, being that I’m vested in the community,” said Davis, who has lived in the city since 2000 with his family.

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On Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Pequot Lakes City Council hired Davis as the city’s next police chief.

Mike is well-liked in the community where he’s lived for a long time.
Eric Klang

He succeeds Eric Klang, chief for the past 11 years, who was elected Crow Wing County sheriff in November.

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“I look forward to working with Mike. We have a long history together, and I only expect good things to continue,” Klang said via text message. “Mike is well-liked in the community where he’s lived for a long time.”

Klang told Davis to call him any time if needed, and Davis looks forward to having his police department and others in the county collaborate with the sheriff’s office under Klang for joint training and other ventures.

Davis, 48, is no stranger to the lakes area. He was born in Crosby and raised south of Crosslake, graduating from Crosby-Ironton High School.

He joined the Army right out of high school in 1993 and was a paratrooper for three years with the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“It was something I always wanted to do as a kid,” Davis said of his decision to join the Army.

Wanting to return to Minnesota, he then joined the Minnesota National Guard and attended Central Lakes College for law enforcement. He decided on that career because the structure was similar to the military.

He served in the National Guard until 2007 and was deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2005-2007.

His law enforcement career began in 2000 when he joined the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office as the boat and water safety officer. He became a full-time sheriff’s deputy in 2001 and also worked for about half a year with the Baxter Police Department that summer.

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Other area work included as a part-time officer in Pequot Lakes from 2015 until becoming a full-time city officer in 2020 and as a full-time officer with the Emily Police Department from 2017-2020.

Davis resigned from the sheriff’s office in 2017, after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension conducted an investigation to determine if he abused his authority as a law enforcement officer.

Criminal charges were never pressed.

As chief in Pequot Lakes, Davis is still getting used to the new position.

“I'm a little overwhelmed,” he said two days after being hired. “I don’t think I’m excited yet. It hasn’t settled in.”

He was scheduled to work until 3 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4, and was at an area police chiefs’ meeting by 11 a.m. that day. He said his fellow chiefs are supportive.

That’s a big thing for me is interacting with the public and community policing.
Mike Davis

Davis hopes to beef up the city’s part-time officer pool, and he supports Sgt. Ryan Franz’s idea to start a paramedic/emergency medical technician program within the department, similar to the program Breezy Point police has.

He also plans to continue with community-based policing, which he called one of the Pequot Lakes Police Department’s strongpoints. It’s part of what he likes best about his profession.

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“Every day is different, not always stuck inside,” Davis said. “I expect to still take calls and interact with the public. That’s a big thing for me is interacting with the public and community policing.”

To that end, Davis was the officer marching around with “The Grinch” in handcuffs at the Santa’s Bobbin’ Into Town event in early December in Pequot Lakes. He’s given stickers and tattoos to kids and shown them his squad car.

“If people see that, it makes them feel they can come to us with anything,” he said.

Davis wants to continue what Klang has done as far as being a community-oriented police department.

“I just want to continue with that - continue to be part of the community, interact with the community,” Davis said.

He and his wife, Kate, a music teacher at Pine River-Backus School, have four children. Two graduated from Pequot Lakes High School and two attend. Davis coached his kids in elementary school basketball for 10 years and baseball for three years when they were younger.

He enjoys outdoor activities like hunting, being on the lake and camping.

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com . Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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