Something funny happend on the way to Duluth
AVON – In 20 years policing Mesa, Ariz., Brian Kozak says, he stocked his toolbox full of the skills which eventually landed him the top job at the Avon Police Department.”It seems like my background is perfect for what the town is looking for,” said Kozak, who starts work in Avon May 1. “I can bring that big toolbox there to the valley.” Kozak, 41, worked for the Mesa police for over 20 years, ultimately heading up the traffic section as a lieutenant. The section handled drunk driving, traffic safety, parking, commercial vehicles and vehicle crimes, among other duties.
Avon officials tapped Kozak for the job recently after a months-long search and interviews with four final candidates. The Minnesota-born man Kozak was chosen based on his experience patrolling – a major part of policing in Avon, said Jacquie Halburnt, assistant town manager.”I feel like his background really ties in with a lot of the issues we see in Avon,” Halburnt said. “It should be easy for him to make the transition to Avon with the background he has in Mesa.”Kozak will earn $90,000 per year, a slight increase over former Chief Jeff Layman’s $85,226 salary.Kozak’s other qualifications include a bachelors degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and a master of education he is currently finishing at the school. He said education and police work are similar, whether it be teaching fellow cops about police work or kids about underage drinking.
“I just really like being a teacher, and being a police officer is pretty close to being a teacher,” Kozak said.He grew up near Duluth, Minn. among eight brothers and sisters and had always planned to become a chief near his family and hometown.”It’s been my goal to make 20 years (with Mesa) and after that start looking to be a chief in Minnesota,” the father of two daughters said.But during a vacation to Colorado last year he and his wife fell in love with the area. Soon thereafter, he saw an advertisement for the Avon position and applied. Originally, his brothers wanted Kozak to come back home, but then the brothers heard about the skiing.
“My brothers said, ‘No, we’d rather come visit you in Vail and so we have a place to stay,’ ” Kozak said.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado