Winninger, Midtling eager to work at FDPD

The Fort Dodge Police Department has more help keeping the city safe since two recently hired officers completed their field training.

Officer Kelly Midtling and Officer Alex Winninger were both hired by the department in April.

The officers said working in law enforcement has been their longtime goals.

Midtling, of Webster City, decided to apply to be an officer in Fort Dodge after speaking with other officers on the department.

“They had a lot of good things to say about the department,” she said. “The town is also growing economically, which is what brought me here.”

Winninger, a Fort Dodge native, said he’s always looked up to police officers.

“When I was looking at college and figuring out what to do, criminal justice stuck out to me,” he said.

Although neither worked as a law enforcement officer before joining the FDPD, Midtling and Winninger have both worked in public safety. Midtling is a former dispatcher for the Webster City Police Department and Winninger worked in the Webster County Jail as a correctional officer.

As patrol officers, Winninger and Midtling have various responsibilities.

Winninger said there are a variety of calls to which he’s had to respond.

“It can be anything from taking a report for a theft to a more emergency situation such as a fight or a domestic,” he said. “It always varies depending on the call.”

Midtling said another responsibility is answering questions from the public.

“A lot of citizens look to you for answers, for help and guidance,” Midtling said. “A big role of being a patrol officer is to help them with that and give them the answers.”

Both said their primary responsibility is keeping the community safe.

“We want to ensure that parents feel comfortable letting their kids walk down the street and letting their kids go to school,” Midtling said. “Individuals need to feel safe walking down the street and out in the community.”

Winninger agreed with Midtling.

“It’s nice to make someone’s day a little bit better by just going over and talking with them,” he said. “It’s all about being able to help people.”

Both officers said one of the challenges, while also one of the more unique aspects of being a police officer, is that every day is different.

“It’s something different every day,” Winninger said. “That’s one thing that’s nice about the job.”

Midtling said one challenge she’s experienced is having a family of her own while working with families who are struggling.

“It’s one of those situations where I can relate to them, being a mother and having children,” she said.

Because neither had worked as a law enforcement officer before, Midtling and Winninger were required to attend the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in Johnston. After 15 weeks, both officers graduated and moved on to the FDPD’s 10-week field training program.

Police Chief Tim Carmody said both of the new officers are welcome additions to the department.

“Kelly is a shining example of the type of officer we want,” he said. “I fully expect her to be a key part of the opportunities that are presented.”

“We’re also very proud of Alex and what he’s done so far,” Carmody added. “We’re excited for his future and the future of the department.”

While both officers have been on their own for just a few weeks, both are looking forward to the futuret.

“There’s a lot of good that this department has to offer,” Midtling said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of all those opportunities.”

Winninger sees it as an opportunity to help his hometown.

“I’m able to give back to the community I grew up in,” he said, adding that his fellow officers have been very supportive.

“They’ve welcomed me with open arms,” he said. “Every officer I’ve trained with has been willing to help. It’s a really positive police department to work for.”

Midtling said she’s also felt welcome.

“I truly enjoy working with this department and the people here,” she said. “There’s a strong brotherhood and sisterhood. It’s definitely a family.”