Cottage Grove Public Safety Director Announces Retirement

For More Information Please Contact:  
Charlene Stevens, City Administrator, 651-458-2822

Cottage Grove Public Safety Director Announces Retirement

Cottage Grove, Minn. – Sept. 27, 2017 – Cottage Grove Public Safety Director Craig Woolery has announced his retirement. His last day of employment will be Feb. 23, 2018.

Woolery has served the Cottage Grove community for 34 years, beginning as a community service officer/paramedic.  He progressed through the ranks, serving nine years as a Patrol Officer/Paramedic, six years as a Sergeant, and five years as Deputy Director before being appointed Public Safety Director in 2006.  During his career he was a D.A.R.E. officer in the schools, supervised the investigative division and was the team commander on the Washington County SWAT team.  He also served as the City’s Interim City Manager for five months while the search for a new City Manager was underway, while continuing to manage the public safety department.

As the Public Safety Director, Woolery oversees the police, fire, emergency medical services, emergency management and animal control operations for the city.  In 2006, he oversaw the consolidation of the City’s dispatch center with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office communications center, which was a big step towards the implementation of the City’s police squad’s mobile computers.  The consolidation saved the City more than a quarter of a million dollars annually and resulted in a larger communications center able to provide even better service to the community.

He has been instrumental on work being done on the proposed HERO (health and emergency response occupations) Center, which would be a regional training facility for law enforcement, fire and EMS first responders. The joint project between Cottage Grove and Woodbury has already received state legislature approval for $1.46 million in pre-design and design funding.

During his tenure, the Public Safety department’s emergency medical services shifted to the Fire department, allowing the Police department to focus on police work and street patrol.  Averaging less than six minutes, the emergency medical response times are one of the best in the state.

“On behalf of the entire City Council, we are very appreciative of everything he has done for this community,” said Mayor Myron Bailey.  “Under his leadership, our Public Safety Department has grown to be one of the best in the state of Minnesota.”

Woolery worked hard on establishing strong partnerships with Washington County and neighboring cities and has strived to make the Public Safety Department a strong, cohesive team with a common goal of serving the community compassionately while providing protection.

Woolery expressed that the talented people in the Public Safety Department are fully capable of moving the department and city onto new levels.  

“Working for a department that is loved by its community and respected by its public safety peers is a blessing,” said Woolery. “It has been an incredible honor to serve this community. “

His service to the community also includes serving on the Youth Service Bureau Board of Directors, on the Woodbury YMCA Community Board, and as a member of the Minnesota and Washington County Chiefs of Police Associations.

While he says he will miss the people who work for the department and City, he is looking forward to enjoying his hobbies and being open to what opportunities may come his way.

The City Council will soon begin discussing the hiring process for the City’s next Public Safety Director.