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Northern Minn. Police Chief Facing DUI, Other Charges

Updated: 03/04/2014 5:08 PM
Created: 03/04/2014 1:25 PM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart

A northern Minnesota police chief is under fire after allegations of a DUI arrest were confirmed on Monday.

Sebeka Police Chief Eric Swenson is facing charges for driving under the influence after he was pulled over around 11 p.m. on Feb. 26., according to Assistant Otter Tail County Attorney Heather Brandborg. The incident report will not be made public until he makes his first appearance in Otter Tail County District Court.

He is also facing a fifth-degree domestic assault charge from last June. The Sebeka City Council suspended the chief for 30 days during the summer due to the incident, Brandborg says.

In that same month, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for drunk and belligerent behavior at a bar in Huntersville. He was fined and sentenced to 30 days in jail, along with one year of probation that required him to stay out of trouble.

For now, Swenson is still able to patrol the town of Sebeka in northwest Minnesota, about 45 minutes from Detroit Lakes, Brandborg says. He is the town's only full-time officer.

These charges are not the chief's first time being in trouble with the law.

In October 2010, Swenson made national headlines when he claimed SWAT equipment was missing from his home. Swanson found the items - loaded magazines for a Glock 9mm and AR-15 rifle, night vision goggles and stun grenades - in his son's backyard fort a week later, a sheriff's office report states.

Also in that year, Swenson went for a week without pay and was ordered to complete a police ethics course after several incidents, including allegedly responding to a call with alcohol on his breath, were reported.

There is no court date for the DUI charge yet, Brandborg says. Charges for the domestic assault will be addressed on March 10 at a pre-trial conference. The state may combine the offenses during the hearing.

Sebeka Police Chief Eric Swenson is facing a DUI charge after being arrested on Feb. 26.
Photo: KSTP/File

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