Weather Forecast


Former broadcaster chooses career as cop

North Hudson Police Officer Andrew Vitalis believes he has found his career niche.

Vitalis, 27, comes to law enforcement after a successful career in sports broadcasting. A native of Taylors Falls, Minn., is one of two officers who have recently joined the North Hudson Police Department. He graduated from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota with a degree in mass communications. His love of sports drew him into the sports broadcasting field where he worked as a producer for Fox Sports in Los Angeles, as a sports anchor in North Dakota and as a writer for Let's Play Hockey magazine.

Vitalis relocated to the Polk County area with his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Caitlyn, and took a part-time job as a dispatcher to augment his income. That's where he got interested in law enforcement and decided to make the career change after riding along with deputies there.

"I wanted to see what it was like working on the other end of those phone calls, being there to help where I could." Vitalis took law enforcement training and recently completed his field training with the NHPD.

Vitalis said he likes police work because of the variety it offers and the chance to operate independently yet still as a member of a team of officers. He believes his personality along with the interview skills he developed in his former career are well-suited to police work.

Vitalis said he wanted to work for a smaller department in a small town, and North Hudson fit the bill. "I was also impressed by the professionalism of the department. Chief (Mark) Richert is a good leader and Sgt. (Mark) Volz has years of experience. I've gotten good training from Officer Willems, who is a great patrol officer. They've all been very open and honest with me about the job and what is expected. That kind of upfront atmosphere is what I was looking for."

Vitalis said after living in Los Angeles he is ready to settle down in a small town to raise his family. "I want to be a good, solid patrol officer, do my job as best I can every day and go home to my family. I think I can do that here."

For more information about the North Hudson Police Department, call (715) 386-8433 or go online at

Meg Heaton can be reached at

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604