At the March 14 City Council meeting, Officer Derek Hokkanen was named the 2022 Officer of the Year for his personification of the River Falls Police Department mission statement, "To protect with courage and serve with compassion."
Officer Hokkanen started his professional life as an automotive technician, working in the field for over 20 years. He decided to pursue his dream of becoming a police officer and attended the Law Enforcement Academy. Officer Hokkanen began his career in law enforcement with RFPD in April 2019.
He quickly earned the respect of his fellow officers and supervisors through his diligent work and calm demeanor. Beyond his patrol duties, Officer Hokkanen continually seeks out additional responsibilities in support of the police department. He was selected as a Field Training Officer and a Taser Instructor and immediately demonstrated his leadership abilities by transitioning the department to updated Taser 7 devices.
In 2022, Officer Hokkanen was recognized numerous times by individuals outside the department. The following quote is taken from an email the department received from a community member, which aptly describes Officer Hokkanen as an individual and an officer: “I just have to say that I was extremely impressed with Officer Hokkanen. He was incredibly great to work with and was understanding, compassionate, and professional. Congratulations to Officer Hokkanen!