At the meeting, David Plagens and Luis Waechter received their badges from Police Chief, Kelly Swihart, and were welcomed by mayor, Mark Jensen. The two men are starting work this week and will go through a few months of training, which will include shadowing other officers.
Waechter comes to Petersburg from the U.S. Navy, where he spent four years as a military police officer. This will be his first job as a civilian officer.
“I absolutely love the town,” said Waechter. “It’s beautiful, it’s nice, everybody’s very kind. It’s a great place to be.”
Waechter is from Summerville, South Carolina. But even though he’s from the deep south, he spent the first ten years of his life in New York state. He says the cold doesn’t bother him and he’s excited to start up an Alaskan lifestyle.
“I’m looking forward to being able to do a lot of fishing and hunting up here,” Waechter said. “I’m very excited about living in a place where I can do so much of that. That was a big factor in me wanting to come up here.”
Plagens is also from the South. He was a police officer in Salt Flat, Texas near the Mexico border. And like Waechter, he also likes outdoor recreation.
“Very much so,” said Plagens. “I love the area, looking forward to the fishing. Looking forward to meeting everybody and getting involved in the community.”
Plagens moved here along with his wife. He says he was attracted to Petersburg because it wasn’t urban.
“I’m more comfortable, I guess, in a smaller community,” Plagens said. “And it’s got a great atmosphere. Everybody’s welcoming. So far, love it!”
The two new hires bring the total sworn officers in the department to nine. A tenth officer has been hired and will report to work in mid-February, which will fully staff the Petersburg police.