A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Concerns Of Police Survivors - COPS



Concerns of Police Survivors, Incorporated (COPS for short), works with families of officers who have been killed in the line of duty. They are actively involved in Law Enforcement Memorial Week, providing time for counseling and healing for family members. They also provide outstanding training throughout the year to families as well as those who work with police officers and their families.

COPS was responsible for brining the COPS kids to the FBI National Academy while I was there earlier this year.

Every year "COPS Kids" travel to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia in May while they are attending the law enforcement memorial activities in D.C. They are children who have recently lost a law enforcement parent who was killed in the line of duty. The FBI agents in training and the National Academy students participate in an all day activity to spend time with these kids. It is just one of the many activities that Concerns of Police Survivors is involved in.

They are a great organization. I would encourage you to click on the logo at the top of this blog to go to their website and learn more.


Monday, August 30, 2004

Police Ethics in the 21st Century

In 1998, I wrote an article for the Community Policing Consortium entitled "Police Ethics in the 21st Century." In the article, I spoke about the need for police administrators to move beyond the traditional paradigm of ethics and move to a broader picture that included keeping the community informed and speaking out on matters of public concern.

In his book Problem-Oriented Policing, Herman Goldstein talked about the practice of taking problems not easily solved by the community and giving them to the police to solve, often without additional resources or direction. Goldstein talks about how this practice seldom solves the problem and generally causes strain on the police and community relationship.

Recently, I read a Fond du Lac, Wisconsin article that talked about problems with vandalism and alcohol-related activities in their downtown area. The police chief there was quoted as saying increased patrols had resulted in increased arrests for a number of incidents.

Although increased patrols will initially reduce activities that are the result of problems in the area, it will not address the causation factors that required the extra patrols in the first place. The reality is that increased reactive patrols in one area mean reduced patrols or services elsewhere because additional staffing or overtime is not a reality in the current economic climate. That is why it is important to take a deliberate look at what causes the problem in the first place. By hopefully eliminating the climate that results in vandalism or theft, the problem can be mitigated or at least managed prior to someone being victimized.

Our officers recently contacted a number of juveniles around the age of fourteen who were out in the downtown area at about 4 a.m. There may be some legitimate reasons for their being downtown at that time...or there may not. Currently, our county court treats curfew violations as a citable offense that can be paid by a fine. The court does not require adult or parent participation in the process. Our officers continue to try to contact parents or guardians when juveniles are found out late with no viable reason to assist them in holding their kids responsible for their activities.

We continue to work with liquor establishments to make sure they are not serving intoxicated individuals or allowing persons to carry alcoholic beverages out of the establishment. Adequate lighting and the ability to be observed aid in deterring inappropriate activities such as vandalism, theft, public urination, etc. Combined with random officer and reserve officer patrols, this will have some impact as well as detoxing individuals to have reached dangerous levels of intoxification.

We also know there is a long-standing history in Northfield of increased incidents of vandalism and theft when school is not in session. Our patrol staff has been charged the past two years to identify viable prevention strategies to manage and eliminate criminal activities. Most of these strategies involved "scanning" the area to identify the causation factors. This can include surveys and working with local neighborhoods and business groups to develop strategies to reduce or eliminate criminal activities. Currently Sergeant Mark Murphy is working with downtown businesses to work on dealing with the issues of vandalism, especially along the riverwalk.

Sergeant Bill Olsen is currently supervising the scanning of the area around Headley Court. Our reserve officers and explorers are assisting with a survey in that area to identify the causation of increased levels of vandalism and theft from that area.

Our officers and supervisors have received training in problem identification and problem solving. When coupled with enforcement strategies and intervention, our goal is to reduce and eliminate the conditions that are causing the identified problems.

We try to post a weekly e-newsletter, called "Around The Block" that is available through this weblog. This weblog is another tool. Our staff will continue to work with Neighborhood Watch Groups and Neighborhood Watch Coordinator Officer Jody Spinner to keep communication lines open.

Officer Monte Nelson works with our patrol staff to monitor graffiti activity and cross-reference it with known taggers and gang members in the area. We also have staff that will meet with individuals and groups to help identify ways you can prevent criminal activity. Officer Jody Spinner can assist you with scheduling these programs. Sergeant Roger Schroeder is the task force commander of the South central Drug Investigations Unit. He can provide training or prevention information regarding drug usage and selling.

Working together through education, prevention and enforcement to solve community problems we can successfully meet the challenges ahead.

After five years as a police chief. I still believe the concepts I outlined in my 1998 article are viable. You have my assurance that I will continue to work to provide you with an accurate, realistic view of what is happening in our community.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Commensurate Neighborhood Activist

Just about the time you think your efforts to engage the community in prevention strategies reaches a plateau, something happens to renew your faith in the accomplishments of members of our community. Marti Dompierre, an eleven-year old local Northfield resident got excited about National Night Out last year and went out and canvassed her neighborhood and raised some money to help offset the cost of the activities. Not to be out done, Marti raised over $200 this year for National Night Out. Why, you might ask? Marti says that it is important for people to know each other and work to stop crime. She was kind enough today to stand with me for the picture below.


Marti's efforts to support her neighborhood through National Night Out is community at its best. Think of the potential that exists if more of us would take the time to meet our neighbors and get them involved.

Just like our Explorers, Marti is an excellent example of the fine young folks in this community. Oh, by the way, Marti says she isn't done yet. She wants to double her collections for 2005!


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Anniversary

The 10th anniversary of the murder of Officers Ron Ryan Jr. and Officer Tim Jones will be August 26th. Both of these St. Paul Officers were murdered by what the Star Tribune described as "a small time drug dealer" by the name of Guy Harvey Baker, a man who was on his way from his home in Iowa to Canada. Baker also killed Jones' dog Laser.

The story included comments from Ron Ryan Sr. and his wife. Ron is a great guy and an outstanding law enforcement professional. I am fortunate to work with him on the Minnesota Statewide Gang Strike Task Force. Ron is the commander of the task force and I am a member of the task force oversight committee. My thoughts go out to Ron and his family as well as the family of Officer Jones.

The Star Tribune did an excellent job of reporting on the story. You can access the article by clicking here. Memorials and remembrances of this nature remind me that we still live in a society where it is necessary for individuals to give up their lives to protect others. This fact transcends politics or social debate. It is a reminder that there are people who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for others. It is an honorable and noble thing to do and we shouldn't wait until an officer is killed, injured or remembered to thank those who risk their lives to protect ours.

For those of you who carry on the honorable tradition of policing, thank you and stay safe.

Monday, August 23, 2004

National Explorer Conference

The Northfield Law Enforcement Explorer Post recently participated in the National Explorer Conference. The picture below from left to right are Northfield Explorers, Jared LeClair, James Ingham, Devin Erickson and Andrew Wunderlich.


The Explorer National Conference is held every two years. This year it was in Atlanta, Georgia. The Explorers raise their own money to pay for their expenses and transportation. The members of the Post compete in various types of police training and exercises. The Minnesota program meets yearly in Breezy Point usually in March where Explorer posts from around the state meet. There are usually about 900 kids at that event. The senior post advisor for the Northfield Explorers is Sergeant Ted Berg. Officer Jody Spinner is also an advisor. Members of the Northfield Police Department also participate in providing training and working with the Explorers.

The Explorers donate hundreds of hours to the residents of Northfield with their assistance at special events and various police functions throughout the year. The picture below, shows our Explorers carrying the Minnesota banner on the floor of the convention. Minnesota holds a strong reputation and standing in the national organization and as such, our Explorers are provided reserved space area in front of the stage.

At a time when young adults are often painted in a less than desirable picture, our Explorers and their associates around the United States do us proud!

If you are between the ages of 15 and 21 and live in the Northfield area and would like to learn more about Exploring, email Sergeant Ted Berg. If you live elsewhere and are interested in Exploring, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Foster Care


Some years ago, we opened our home to kids in crisis and became a foster home. It's a challenging thing to do but rewarding. You provide an opportunity for a child to have a safe, secure and stable home to stay during a family crisis or a refuge from an abusive home. The need is great. Right now, there are kids who are waiting for a safe place in which to land.

If you think you are interested in learning more about fostering and you live in Rice County, Minnesota, you can email Ruth Smith at Rice County Social Services.

Rice County Social Services is offering a training opportunity on the topic of sex offender awareness. The training will be held at the Government Services Building, 320 NW 3rd Street, Faribault, Minnesota on Thursday, September 30th at 7:00 p.m. If you would like to register for this training, contact Ruth Smith at Rice County Social Services. Discussion items will include: stranger danger, safety tips, brief history of law and levels of offender classifications.

Speakers include Sergeant Richard Larson and Sergeant Dan Collins of the Faribault Police Department, Scott Halvorson with Rice County Corrections and Investigator Monte Nelson of the Northfield Police Department.

Space is limited so reservations are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure your attendance, please register early.


Officer Killed In Florida

A deputy sheriff was killed in in Fort Lauderdale, Florida last Thursday (8-19), and another was shot by a man who had previously threatened to "hunt down" police after they raided his home and hauled away his partner and a stash of child porn, according to the Miami Hearld. The deputies worked for the Broward County Sheriff's Department.

According to the article, a bullet tore through the vest of Detective Todd Fatta's protective vest, striking him in the chest. Fatta was 33 years old. Sergeant Angelo Cedeno, 36, was a in stable condition after being shot in the hand and the shoulder.

The suspected shooter is Kenneth Wilk, 42. The officers were part of a task force designed to patrol the Internet, searching for pedophiles and pornographers. This day, the officers were there to serve a search warrant at the home where convicted pedophile Kelly Ray Jones, 39, lived. According to the Hearld, both Wilk and Jones are registered sex offenders.

This incident underscores the seriousness of illegal Internet pornography. There are those who would have you believe that this is a "victimless" crime. I suspect the child victims and Detective Fatta's family would take exception to that.

Internet access, especially broadband access, has exploded the problems associated with child porn and child molesters and predators posing to entrap children into their sick business. The task of tracking these predators is difficult and costly. Fortunately, the FBI has developed a working partnership with state and local law enforcement officials to help track molesters and predators and stop their activities. Sergeant Ted Berg is our representative on our state task force. He has worked with the Minnesota task force to successfully track down and arrest a number of individuals in Northfield involved in child porn.

This incident underscores again the unpredictable nature of policing.

Detective Fatta joined the Broward Sheriff's Office in 1995. He served in the U.S. Airforce. He was described by associates as "someone who would do anything for a friend."

For the Miami Herald bio on Detective Fatta, click here.

Detective Fatta was working on the most important kind of police work there is...protecting children. I didn't know Detective Fatta, but I mourn his loss. There is one less champion for our children today.



To view the complete Miami Herald article, click here. To visit the Broward County Sheriff's Memorial Page, click here.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Risky Business

I receive daily news updates through a number of sources. An article from yesterday caught my eye. It involved a situation in Upper Darby Township in New Jersey where an individual walked into a police department and threw a beer bottle at the reception area officer and ultimately pulled a gun. The ensuing events wound up with an officer injured and the subject killed. The paper states that it appears the man wanted to commit suicide, often known as "suicide by cop." To read the article about the incident, click here. Based on the article, the officer most likely was struck by another officer's bullet.

This type of incident underscores the need for caution and understanding in dealing with an emotionally disturbed individual. It is a tragic situation. A person is dead, and a person who dedicated their life helping others, is forced to take a life to protect others around him. Nobody wins. It would appear that the man who was ultimately killed had been drinking.

The stabbing incident that took place in Northfield last Sunday (8-15-04) was also alcohol related. According to witnesses, three men who knew each other and even played with each other on a soccer field ultimately reached a point during their drinking where one of the three severely injured two of his associates. Oftentimes, police, fire and rescue workers wind up arriving at the scene of these crimes while they are still in progress. The case in Upper Darby Township was literally closer to home as it happened at the police station. Regardless, these situations are dangerous for bystanders and public safety officers alike.

It is also a reminder that those who work in the public safety field face risks on a regular basis. I appreciate their efforts and dedication.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Email phishing scam

If you get one of these by email, do not respond. It's a phishing scam.


These folks weren't even savvy enough to exclude the police. When I clicked on the URL, it was already gone. If you get stuff like this, don't respond. Your financial institutions already have your information and do not need to verify it by email. If you get one of these, notify your bank immediately and under no circumstances should you ever provide or forward your social security numbers or account numbers to respond to an email like this.

I would strongly suggest you simply delete the message without opening any attachments.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Police Chief Investigates Homicides At City Library



Earlier this year, I volunteered to participate in a reader discussion group at the Northfield Library. We got together to discuss a couple books that spent a good amount of time detailing the investigations of crimes. We discussed The Frumious Bandersnatch by Ed McBain and Certain Prey by Minnesota author John Sandford.

I had a great time leading the discussion. We culminated the meetings by inviting our evidence technician, Jeff Ringlien to bring his mobile crime scene vehicle to the library to give a tour to the participants.

While I was at the FBI National Academy this spring, I had a chance to read John Sandford's Naked Prey. I especially enjoyed this book because it literally had a border to border plot and given the setting in Minnesota, I enjoyed measuring Sandford's experience to real life characters in our state. I'm hoping to finish Sandford's Hidden Prey before my kids get back to school in September. I'm thinking either Naked or Hidden Prey would be good discussion books.

Anybody have other suggestions for a fiction police mystery book that might be good for a discussion group?

Friday, August 13, 2004

EMERGENCY RESPONSE TRAINING

Earlier this week a number of emergency response teams from this area in which we participate, gathered at the old Northfield Hospital to practice a number of scenarios. Because of the public nature and access here, I won't go into details or specifics. Thanks to one of the officers present, we do have a few generic photos I'll share with you.

Emergency Response Units (ERU's) are sometimes called SWAT teams but there can actually be technical differences. Essentially, their job is to protect lives and property and assist law enforcement officers in high risk situations where special tactical training and specific types of equipment are needed. Each agency has a number of officers who volunteer for this assignment. It may sound glamorous but it is a lot work. You have to be in excellent physical and mental condition. You lug around a lot of heavy, hot, uncomfortable equipment and generally don't get much recognition. Again, these men and women do their jobs so well that it is seldom that they are seen or reported on. They are certainly on the front line of very dangerous situations that require split second decisions. They get called out at all hours of the day and night, and they still have to report for their regular job assignments. Weekends and holidays are seldom their own. I am very appreciative of their dedication and willingness to take on this awesome responsibility. You all know who you are!!

I also want to thank Northfield Hospital Paramedic/EMT Brian Edwards for coordinating the training. Special thanks to Ken Bank and Mary Crow from Northfield Hospital who helped facilitate the training exercise and even volunteered to show up at the training site. Thanks also goes out to the residents in the neighborhood who put up with the extra traffic and noise for a day. This type of opportunity for training in an institution such as this is rare so it is great our folks were able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Incident Command is a concept borrowed from the fire service to use during major emergencies, crime scenes, or critical incidents. Generally the top ranking official from the primary agency involved works out of a vehicle or site near the event to coordinate activities and give approval for certain types of activities

Generally some type of staging or meeting takes place near the event.

Here's a picture of a team member participating in the exercise.

We are fortunate that area law enforcement agencies work well together. The combined sharing of resources keeps the cost of this training and operational maintenance manageable. The combining of talent and personnel also makes sure that in the event of a critical incident, we will have the staffing necessary to adequately meet the need.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

FIGHT CRIME:INVEST IN KIDS


A few years ago Bob Olson, who was the Police Chief in Minneapolis at the time, sent out a letter asking police administrators to consider becoming part of an organization whose sole purpose is to promote programs and projects that invest in kids' futures. There was no initiation fee, no dues requirement...just a willingness to promote the need for programs and opportunities for kids to succeed. That organization is Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

Last March, I traveled to DC to testify at a senate hearing in favor of a bill that promoted continued funding for afterschool and preschool activities for kids: especially kids at risk. I was able to meet with legislators and aids in addition to speaking at the hearing. I was pleased when I heard that Congress funded the bill.

My time in DC also provided me an opportunity to meet and spend some time with the dedicated folks at Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. I was impressed with the spirit and dedication of every single person I met. They are passionate about their purpose and they helped guide those of us through the process that day. The experience reinforced my desire to support the organization. I recently learned that Fight Crime: Invest in Kids will establish a Minnesota office. The fact that Fight Crime: Invest in Kids sees Minnesota as a progressive state in promoting our kids is a compliment to everyone who champions our youth.

My years of law enforcement experience has convinced me of the need for community support of our kids. This doesn't just mean youth centers and activities...it means making an individual commitment through mentoring, sponsoring and just plain every day encouragement of our youth to succeed.

The impetus that got me going on this subject was a fax I received from "Invest in Kids" today that announced a press conference to be held in the "Cities" on Wednesday to announce results of a recent survey. I don't want to usurp the press conference that is to be attended by several law enforcement administrators and prosecutors from the metro area by giving out the results early, but the gist of the results will reveal that early childhood development is key to the future success of a child socially and academically.

Dr. Peter Benson, who will be speaking at the Healthy Community Initiative meeting next week, August 17th at St. Olaf College, is well known for his "asset building" concept. You can click on Dr. Benson's name above to learn more. Suffice to say for this blog that positive early development is key for kids' future success.

Quite a few years ago now, I sat on a local policy council board for a Head Start project. Even though I had seen a lot of dire situations in a lot of family settings, I was amazed how many youngsters at the age of 3 or 4 had not been instructed how to sit at a table and use silverware as they ate. They did not understand the concept of standing in line, nor did they understand basic social graces that involve greeting another person and replying to a greeting. My favorite part of Head Start was the graduation when the little ones wore caps and gowns for their "graduation." The event was exciting for the kids but equally exciting for the parents. The event provided the opportunity for parent and child alike to realize a dream of a successful education.

The basic social and developmental skills provided by preschool programs are essential for kids. As a law enforcement practitioner, I realize the importance of early development for kids: especially kids who are at risk because of adverse family situations or poverty. Speaking as a former foster parent, I can speak from first had experience that positive environments and encouragement, coupled with a safe nurturing environment can help build the positive assets identified by Dr. Benson and others.

I'm not here to promote any particular program, only to illustrate some of the successes I've personally experienced. As my associates meet tomorrow to announce the results of the study, I hope you pay particular attention and consider what you can do to invest in kids.

POST SCRIPT

A letter I received last week reminded me that support can arrive in many different forms. The letter outlined a family situation as described by a parent that painted a long battle with a troubled child. The reason this parent wrote to me was to express her thanks to Officer Thad Monroe for his compassion and consideration in helping the parents deal with a very difficult situation. The writer described Officer Monroe as "an angel" sent to help them in a time of need. Because of the outstanding staff we have here in Northfield, it is not uncommon to receive very positive letters about our staff. It is rare; however, to receive a letter with the outpouring of genuine emotion and thanks I read in this particular letter.

The extra time that Officer Monroe took on this call and the empathy and compassion he showed, while still performing his job is common within the ranks of this department. We are fortunate to have officers and staff who genuinely care about our community. This is the difference in policing with a heart and simply filling in the blanks. Officer Monroe's response contributed that day to the support that leads to the success of our kids.


Monday, August 09, 2004

OUTSIDE THE BOX

I was using an online reference service provided by the International Association of Chiefs of Police the other day and got to thinking it might be a good topic of discussion here. The list of sources is not comprehensive but will provide a glimpse of the resources now available to police administrators.

How police chiefs and law enforcement executives get their information has changed a lot over the past twenty years. When I started as a police officer in 1981, I remember we used to pass around one copy of the IACP Training Key provided by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. That was about as good as it got for outside training. With the advent of computer access, information is much more plentiful; however, I'm not always so sure how accurate it might be. That's why organizations like the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF for short). is so important. PERF is comprised of law enforcement executives from around the United States and other international locations. Active membership requires an advanced degree and an active law enforcement commission in an larger police agency. PERF is a "think tank" for law enforcement administrators and those associated with the criminal justice field. PERF provides some of the best research, information and training around. I've used the organization as a resource for many years.

I meet the advance degree part of the requirement but not the large agency status. Fortunately, PERF provides an associate membership for administrators such as myself. In March of 2003, I took some vacation time and traveled to Washington DC to attend the PERF conference. I got to stay at the Watergate Hotel. That in itself provided some historical significance given the history of the place. I spent a week there meeting and listening to top law enforcement officials from around the world. What impressed me was it didn't matter if you were sitting next to LA Police Chief William Bratton or a chief from an agency my size, people spoke to each other and shared ideas. During presentations, time was always allowed for the audience to ask questions of the speakers. There were tough questions and the speakers didn't back down and provided candid, frank answers. There were speakers who talked about their first-hand experience with the sniper incident on the east coast in Virginia and Maryland. William Bennett was one of the keynote speakers.

It was reassuring to me to find that other administrators from agencies big and small were dealing with the same problems I encountered. The ability to exchange ideas with the best in the field was exciting and I came away with a renewed sense of purpose and the need to continue to look at new ideas and methods.

On occasion, I've shared various perspectives with a few folks who will listen to me from time to time about how difficult it is to implement substantial change in any organization. Policing has improved since the early 1960's when President Johnson convened his commission to study law enforcement. Recommendations from his Commission resulted in programs to provide money for cops to get college degrees and to work to raise the standards of policing in the United States.

The challenge for police practitioners is to keep up with the complexities of society. As the policing profession has changed, so have our respective communities. It takes time for reflection and serious research to plan and look ahead to the future. I've been fortunate during my tenure as chief in Northfield to have been able to take advantage of excellent training in the state but also to gain international exposure to policing in many venues. Policing, as with any profession, needs the research, debate and self-examination that is required for positive change and adaptation.

Back in 1998, I wrote an article for the Community Policing Consortuim. I discussed what ethical delimmas the police administrator will face in the 21st Century. The reality is what I wrote then is still true. As administrators, we need to make sure we don't get so bogged down with the day to day issues that we forget to look ahead. Poor planning or lack of planning is not an option.

The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), International Association of Chiefs of Police(IACP), National Sheriff's Association (NSA), National Organization of Black Law Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and The Commission for the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), are recognized in the field as sources of excellent training, research, and information. The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA), is considered one of the best professional law enforcement administrator organizations in the U.S. They are a great training resource and their annual conference is a bonanza for police chiefs and police administrators to learn new information, network, and keep current on Minnesota issues. Additionally, as a graduate of the FBI National Academy, I also have access to the library at the Academy, located in Quantico, Virginia.

During times when resources are scarce, homeland security demands are increasing, and populations continue to grow, police administrators will continue to look to these organizations for research and assistance as well as a conduit for discussion and information sharing between practitioners.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

ACCREDITATION



The Northfield Police Department is one of only three Minnesota law enforcement agencies who have received accreditation from CALEA, The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. The Commission was established as an independent accrediting authority in 1979 by the four major law enforcement membership associations: International Association of Chiefs of Police(IACP); National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); National Sheriff's Association(NSA) and Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). The Executive Directors of these four associations appoint members to the Commission annually; an endorsement requires a majority vote for each appointment.

The Commission has 21 members; 11 members are law enforcement practitioners; the remaining 10 members are selected from the public- and private-sectors. Commissioners are appointed to a term of three years. The position of Commissioner is voluntary and receives no salary, although travel and per diem expenses are provided when conducting Commission business.

Nationally, only about 3% of the law enforcement agencies in the United States achieve accreditation. It is not easy. It requires compliance with approximately 443 standards. An assessment team travels to each agency once every three years to inspect and check compliance. Failure to meet even one standard can jeopardize the accreditation standing.

I've had a number of people ask me why accreditation is important. I believe it is important and a good investment in time and financial resources for several reasons. First, we open our organization for inspection by individuals who have no bias of our organization. Assessors are carefully chosen and always come from other states and cannot be affiliated or know anyone within the organization. Second, it forces us to maintain accountability internally and externally. There are strict reporting functions in areas such as training, use of force, citizen complaints, and resource management.

The process requires extensive documentation and instills an administrative discipline that requires consistent reporting and evaluation at the various supervisory and administrative levels of the police department organization.

Ultimately, the accreditation provides another conduit of communication with our community. Another means to convey a purpose of trust and commitment to quality police services to Northfield. We are fortunate to have a talented and dedicated group of men and women associated with the department that make the challenges of the accreditation process workable. Without their commitment and assistance. It would not be possible. The process would also not be possible without the fantastic support we get from our City Administrator, Susan Hoyt and our mayor and council. Their commitment to the future is a key ingredient to our success.

We are currently getting ready for our first reassessment. Our initial accreditation was presented in 2002. Our onsite assessment team will arrive in Northfield sometime late spring of 2005. If you have questions about the accreditation process or are interested in learning more about it, please send me an email reply here or give me a call at 507-645-4477.

I'll try to keep you updated on this exciting process as we move forward.








Thursday, August 05, 2004

MORE NNO

NNO Greenvale Apartments & Northfield Retirement Center
Greenvale Apartments sponsored their National Night Out today during an all-afternoon event that provided games, food, and kid activities. On last Monday, seniors at the Northfield Retirement Center helped us kick of NNO with the annual rootbeer float social. Here are a few pictures.
Greenvale Apartments Service Coordinator Krista Ahlman and the 2004 NNO block party organizer takes some time out to pose with a couple of other crimefighters.

Here are a few of the residents trying their luck at bingo. The smell of fried chicken and other summer delights were drifting across the hall and proved to be a temptation for even the diehard gamers.

Kids had the opportunity to try out the slide.

If the slide didn't shake 'em up, they could try their luck with the moonwalk.

Northfield Explorers are a big help during McGruff events. They help with McGruff and handing out stickers and items for the kids and adults. I really appreciate their help.

Here Officer Jody Spinner is joined by Brian Edwards and several associates who helped to conduct the NNO activities at the Northfield Retirement Center. This has become an annual tradition that helps begin the NNO activities the Monday before NNO.

I again want to thank everyone who helped with the NNO activities this year. It was a great Northfield experience!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

NNO The Next Day

As promised, I've got a few more pictures to share courtesy of Sergeant Ted Berg. He captured some stills from the Video he shot last night. Officer Jody Spinner is arranging for some photos from a number of the block parties. If you had a block party and would like your photos included, please email them to me as a jpeg attachment with a description and I'll get them on as soon as possible.


The big "kid" outside the entrance to the Moonwalk is retired police officer Clete Spiker. Clete was one of the first people who visited me when I arrived in Northfield and has been a regular volunteer when we need people to help with various events. His help is always appreciated.

Larson's teamed up with us again this year to produce a unique Northfield National Night Out t-shirt for our volunteers and staff. They also had them available for those attending last evening as well.

Northfield Hospital and paramedics again participated by providing safety information about bike helmets and other safety tips.

The DJJD queen candidates made an appearance as well. A couple of them were even good sports and participated in a bagel eating contest sponsored by Bagel Brothers.

The water balloon toss was a big hit for the second year in a row.

Members of Northfield Fire and Rescue have been key participants in NNO since 1999. One of the biggest requests we get each year is to repeat the extracation demonstration. This year they volunteered the use of the fire barn if the rain had continued, to keep food and participants dry. Fortunately, the weather cooperated at the last minute. I've watched these folks practice and respond to many calls over the past five years and you won't find any better trained, more dedicated fire and rescue personnel anywhere.

Another favorite has been the arrival of a helicopter in Ames Park each year. Brian Edwards, one of our local paramedics assisted in getting Life Link to make an appearance and provided tours for participants. Note the younger guy on the left: guess he was going to be prepared for any unexpected noise.

As we get other pictures back, I'll put a few more in. I also want to feature those individuals and businesses who make NNO a success every year so keep checking in. I'll also try to keep including other blogs on other topics as well.

I would like to conclude this entry with an observation. As in other years, I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people. Some I already knew and some were new faces. There were conversations and introductions all around. I would suggest to you that events like NNO reinforce the importance of community and staying in touch with each other. Our willingness to talk to each other is a big key to making Northfield the welcoming place it is. You are all to be commended.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

National Night Out Is A Success

Thanks to all of you who took the time to stop by the Northfield Safety Center tonight to help celebrate National Night Out. Despite the rain during most of the day, mother nature cooperated by halting the rain thirty minutes before activities started and we had a good showing. Thanks to all the individuals who took the time to set up displays and activities.

I also want to thank those of you who brought canned or dry goods to donate to the food shelf. If you forgot or would like to donate to the food shelf, please bring your articles by the Safety Center Lobby for the remainder of the week. Giving to the food shelf is a great extension of the civic pride and sense of community displayed this evening. I'll like nothing better than to hear our Community Service Officer, Kris Wilson, telling me that he had to make several trips to get all the items to NCRC.

I'll get a more complete list soon. I'll share more thoughts and experiences tomorrow.

Hopefully, I'll have some photos to share soon. You can go to Northfield.org or Northfieldnews.com to see photos from the event yet tonight.

It's our hope that you all enjoyed the evening.

UPDATE:
Here are a few photos courtesy of Northfield.org.
Sergeant Bill Olsen (Uniform) and right of Sgt. Olsen, Officer Jody Spinner who is the National Night Out Coordinator for the Northfield Police Department

Sergeant Mark Murphy was attired in bike patrol gear this evening.


Officer Monte Nelson is visiting with several attendees
.



Monday, August 02, 2004

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

The Northfield News recently ran an article about the domestic violence response training our department was fortunate enough to host for criminal justice practitioners and providers. I received a number of phone calls and personal contacts as a result of the article. Several of the callers were interested in getting information about domestic violence and what they can do to get involved to prevent it. I've provided several listings and links to sites that provide quite a bit of information.

Locally, the Hope Center, formerly known as WomanSafe is our Rice County resource. Their toll free number is 800-607-2330. Their office number is 507-332-0882.

Nationally:

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is an excellent website to reference for information. They have a vast amount of information, data and a memorial page.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline hosts a web site about their domestic abuse hotline.

The key to prevention is to educate people to the warning signs of abuse and to mobilize the resources necessary to stop that abuse which has already begun. Statistics show that almost every case where an abusive relationship takes place, a serious injury or death will eventually result. If you are interested in learning more I would encourage you to contact the Hope Center.

I also received a several calls from individuals who had questions about how our police and prosecutors handle domestic violence calls. Paul Beaumaster, Rice County Attorney, or Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and City Attorney Tim Morisette work very closely with our officers in cases of domestic violence.

Living free of domestic violence and its fear is a basic human rights issue. It is my hope that the awareness raised by this past week's discussion can provide positive change in attitudes and responses to incidents of domestic violence.