Contrary to the famous lyrics of The Who's song, "Won't Get Fooled Again," the new boss is not the same as the old boss.
In fact, if you're a City of Minot police officer, pretty much none of them are.
Near the center of the job description maelstrom sits Capt. Jason Olson, the Minot Police Department's operations commander. Along with fellow captains Rob White and Dan Strandberg, the entirety of Chief Jeff Balentine's senior command structure has been given a facelift within the past 12 months.
Dave Caldwell/MDN • Capt. Jason Olson, shown Thursday in his office at the Minot Police Department, is the department’s longest-tenured captain.
And though the movement has hardly proven disastrous, it has not been without its challenges either.
"Even though I can still call up (longtime operations commander) Al Hanson and ask him a question, having all three of those previous captains out the door, there was a lot of knowledge on day-to-day workings that (disappeared)," Olson said Thursday. "Now, the chief is the only one who has the knowledge along those lines that's still here every day.
"All three of us are trying to pick up things as quickly as we can."
Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or Managing Editor Kent Olson at 857-1939. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to email@example.com.
At about one year of service in the position, Olson is the longest-tenured captain on the force, having been promoted in March 2010.
As operations commander, Olson oversees the patrol and investigations divisions of the department, making him the face of the police department.
"The support position I used to have was more behind-the-scenes, so this is a more prominent role, I would say," Olson said.
A Williston native, Olson started with the department in 1988.
"I graduated from high school there and came down here to go to college," Olson said. "I was inspired by (former Minot police chief) Dan Draovitch, who was teaching up at Minot State (University) at that time, to go into police work."
Other than two years he spent in crime prevention and a brief stint in investigations, all of his experience came in the patrol division. He also served on the SWAT team for 18 years, six as commander.
"For me, the biggest change has been perspective," Olson said. "You find out that it's a lot easier to be on the outside, having a lot of ideas and throwing stones - but then you find out once you're on the inside that things aren't quite as easy to pull off as they look from the outside, where it's easy to criticize."
Olson has also been the beneficiary of a different kind of perspective. His wife, Lisa, was elected in June 2010 to the Minot City Council.
"We're able to bounce different ideas off of each other," Olson said. "I'm able to give her insight into things within the city that she might not otherwise get.
"It's been a learning experience for her, being new to city government. But she's really enjoying it.
"It gives us things to talk about at home sometimes that are topics we otherwise might not talk about," he chuckled.
When asked if he has "nagged" his wife for a raise, Olson laughed.
"Well, she can't really push too hard on that," he said. "There's a conflict of interest there."
With all three captains positions turning over in such a short period of time, Olson said it has created a fairly steep learning curve. Administrative captain Bill Brown retired from the department and took a job with the state Department of Emergency Services. Current Ward County Sheriff Steve Kukowski was operations commander for a brief period after serving as support commander.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, Olson said he tries to reinforce professionalism and responsiveness to public needs, whether it be a speeding issue, a parking issue on a certain street, or any more serious matter.
"Even though we have a lot of turnover and a lot of new officers, there's a good core of people within the department that can still make sure that things are done right," Olson said. "The new blood is being brought up to the way we do things in the philosophy of our department."
He referred to police work as "customer service."
"That's really my philosophy on police work," Olson said. "The public are our customers, and we have to do our job in a way that is efficient. A lot of times we have to do hard things, but you can still do it in a professional way and treat people like you would want to be treated.
"We're trying to pass those things along to our new officers as much as we can and maintain our good relationship (with the public)."