Nisswa: Mayor alleges police misconduct, demands investigation

Council members deny knowledge of alleged incidents; council takes no action regarding an investigation

Nisswa City Council members and staff listen to Troy Scheffler during open forum at the Wednesday, Sept. 16, meeting. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

Addressing the Nisswa City Council from the public podium rather than his mayor’s seat, Fred Heidmann spoke at length to level misconduct allegations against the city’s police department and claim disrespectful behavior by three longtime city employees, also saying council members knew of some incidents.

Council members, however, said they were unaware of any employee misconduct allegations.

Heidmann’s comments came at the council’s regular meeting Wednesday, Sept. 16, and included allegations that Police Chief Craig Taylor has threatened Heidmann and others; that two of four women cried when sharing their encounters with Taylor; that five marriages were destroyed by poor police conduct; that an officer allegedly had sex with a mentally challenged woman; that a husband allegedly came home, found an officer with his wife and was arrested when he became upset; and that this year it was brought to the council’s attention that an officer or officers may have been having sex with a woman or women at city hall and the council failed to act on it.

“I’m sick of it. I am darn sick of it. We are here as an elected body to do everything we can to make this city better, to see that our citizens are protected, that we have great employees and manage employees and the budget to the best of our ability,” Heidmann said, concluding by saying the police department “needs investigation by an outside party to get to the bottom of this.”

At the meeting, John Ryan - who is running against Heidmann for mayor - was the only council member to address the mayor’s comments.


“As a member of the personnel committee, I don’t recall us meeting and discussing any of those (allegations),” Ryan said, noting he saw no documentation. “I was caught off guard and kind of surprised. It was news to me.”

Reached Friday, Sept. 18, two other council members also said they knew nothing about Heidmann’s allegations.

Council member Gary Johnson said via text message: “I believe it would be accurate to say there have been no allegations of misconduct by any city staff brought to the city council this year as the mayor stated. And the council has received no complaints from the public about employee misconduct that I am aware of. There is a process for such things to go through the personnel committee and nothing has been filed with that committee.”

Council member Don Jacobson said by phone: “I never heard it before. It’s strange that he knows a lot that apparently we don’t. It should have been brought to the personnel committee. It’s on the mayor to bring proof. Give us some proof and handle it in the correct way.”

Ryan also said by phone that there is a policy to handle complaints about employee misconduct. If people said they were fearful of retribution, a complainant’s name can stay confidential throughout an investigation if one is warranted, he said.

Ryan reiterated: “We haven’t heard a thing about this stuff, period. … I have been informed of zero complaints.”

Taylor was not present at the meeting. Reached by phone Thursday, Sept. 17, he chose not to comment. The city’s public works director, Tom Blomer, and finance specialist, Maggi Wentler, each said via email they had no comment at this time.

No council members - including Heidmann - moved to take any action in response to the mayor's statements, and the council meeting then proceeded as usual.


“No actions so we’ll just move on,” Heidmann said. “That’s interesting.”

Mayor’s statement

The mayor’s comments came after he was arrested Aug. 29 under probable cause for disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process while two officers - one from Pequot Lakes and one from Nisswa - were conducting a traffic stop on a third party on Highway 371, south of Nisswa.

At a subsequent special city council meeting Sept. 4 to address the incident - which Heidmann didn’t attend on advice from his attorney - the council asked the mayor to resign, removed him from city committees and censured him.

“So the council knows, I have no intention of resigning and I do intend to keep on running for mayor for the next two years,” Heidmann said at the Sept. 16 meeting.

Police body-camera footage from the Aug. 29 incident showed Heidmann swearing at officers when they repeatedly asked to go to a safer area to record the traffic stop. In a written statement after the incident, Heidmann said he saw the traffic stop across the highway from his business while walking his dog and was concerned by what he saw, so he began recording the incident as he went to see what was taking place. Heidmann said he wondered what impression this was making with the hundreds of vacationing families driving by seeing what appeared to be tourists having their goods rifled through.

Heidmann said local police should be patrolling their city streets, not the highway.

In starting his statement at the Sept. 16 council meeting, Heidmann said he wanted to address some serious concerns he had.

“I believe tonight has the ability to become a defining moment of change and positive things to come. But it will be hard at first,” he said.


After saying he wanted to clarify that contrary to social media, he is a huge supporter of good law enforcement and police, Heidmann said he had received an outpouring of support over the past two weeks.

Regarding his allegations, Heidmann said he and the women didn’t file charges against the police chief because he was told since there were no witnesses, there was no case; it was one person’s word against another’s.

The mayor claimed the city has had staff problems for the past 10 years or more and that as a council person and then mayor he has seen constant disrespect by the police chief, public works director and finance person.

Heidmann never used employees’ names, only their positions. He claimed these employees bullied and harassed to the point another long-term employee left.

“The council knew and failed to do anything,” he said, targeting Johnson, Jacobson and Ryan while acknowledging that council member Mike Hoff was not on the council then.

He claimed these three employees vehemently opposed hiring a city administrator and they still refuse to accept the new system and authority, and again the entire council refuses to do anything about it.

“The council needs to seek professional advice about this and remedy this immediately or the city stands to lose the good staff it has recently hired,” Heidmann said.

Heidmann said two weeks after he opposed an officer’s promotion to sergeant, he was pulled over by another officer for not wearing his seat belt. He said while sitting at a Highway 371 intersection with a lot of oncoming traffic, he took his seat belt off to unclip his cellphone, which was jabbing him in the hip.


“The police sit on that highway like hawks every single day. They see me many times every day going north and south. They know by matter of fact and pattern I always have my seat belt on,” he said, noting he explained why he momentarily took the seat belt off but he got a ticket anyway and the officer “smirked” all the way back to his squad car.

He demanded an investigation into all the alleged matters, saying citizens need to know they can trust the police department, and an end to unprofessional behavior by employees.

“And people wonder why I got upset when police were shaking down vacationers on our highway, which isn’t even ours to patrol,” he said of the Aug. 29 incident, adding patrolling the highway is the job of state police or possibly the county.

He acknowledged he probably could have done something differently during the Aug. 29 incident with police, but said: “My heart, my passion is for the city of Nisswa - and at times that passion comes out pretty strong. At least I have the gonads to stand up and call what I'm seeing as wrong.”

Former council member responds

Former council member Ross Krautkremer, who served from mid-2014 to 2018 and is seeking election to the council again in November, questioned the mayor’s leadership in directing the council to respond to the allegations against the police.

“These accusations needed some response from the city,” Krautkremer said, and leadership from the mayor as to what should be done.

He said he never heard any accusations of officers having sex in the building.

“I never heard that. I wouldn’t sit back and not do anything,” Krautkremer said. “There was never anything brought to the council of those accusations.”


Current council member Mike Hoff agreed he hadn’t heard anything like that since being elected two years ago.

“I find it hard to sit here and have our cops berated,” Krautkremer said. “When I was on the council, there were no complaints about our cops.”

Heidmann responded: “Right, because people are afraid to report or say anything.”

He reiterated that the council was aware of all the allegations he alluded to.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

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 or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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