A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Monday, February 28, 2005

Interesting Article

A friend sent me the link to an editorial about the responsibility of parents to control the access of alcohol to their teens. It's got some good points. With spring coming, so comes the lure of outdoor parties and activities. Parents should monitor their teen's activities and have serious conversations about the risk and consequences of alcohol consumption and the use of other illegal drugs.

Our officers do an outstanding job of monitoring illegal consumption activities. They do not issue warnings or simply send people home. Violators are going to get a citation or possibly held in a medical facility if their level of intoxication is dangerously high.

Simply put, find alternative activities that won't impact your life, future career opportunities or cost you your life.

As always, our staff will be conducting alcohol and tobacco compliance check on local business throughout the year. Our merchants do an outstanding job of monitoring who is in their establishments and work closely with us to prevent access of alcohol to those under 21.

Officer Jody Spinner is available to conduct information meetings for parents or teens. Sergeant Roger Schroeder is available for instructional classes or presentations on drug usage. You can reach both of they by calling 507-645-4477. Captain Tim Halverson is available to answer your questions about traffic complaints and nuisance abatement. You can reach him by calling 507-663-9302.

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Mark Jones of the Hardeeville Police Department was killed in a traffic accident on February 27th while responding to the aid of another police officer who needed assistance. Officer Jones is survived by his wife, son and two daughters.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

A Voice From The Past

A long-time friend of mine called from Nebraska yesterday. His name is Jerry Smith and nope, we're not related. We met in our 7th Grade Home Room in 1967 at Barr Junior High since they put us in there by alphabetical order in those days. Jerry is a little bit shorter than I am so we had all kinds of nick names like "Mutt and Jeff", "Smith Brothers" as in cough drops and a few others. Jerry still lives in Grand Island with his family. He's a great friend and it's good that we can stay in touch.

Later in the day, I got another email message from another old friend from high school in Hastings, Nebraska. The individual found my weblog and gave me a little grief about looking a whole lot older than the last time they saw me, which was a long time ago. On a dare to post something nostalgic, I found this news item from the Hastings, Nebraska Tribune. So here it is. I'm not sure of the date of the news photo but I wrote May 4th and 5th on the photo and yes, that would be 1973. My U.K. viewers may be interested in knowing the setting of this 1935 drama, "Kind Lady" was set in London. I played the part of an English butler, and as you know, the butler was usually behind the shady antics of the plot. This was no exception.



Friday, February 25, 2005

Officer Memorial

Deputy Sheriff Blake Gammill of the Douglas County, Georgia Sheriff's Office was shot and killed on February 24th while making an arrest at a home. Deputy Gammill is survived by his wife and two young children.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Home Office

Scott Neal posted an entry yesterday that talked about his visit to the new Home Office in the U.K.

The British Home Office is located in a new facility, according to Scott and well secured.




Here is a picture of Scott with Mike Alderson holding an Eden Prairie Police Department insignia patch. According to Scott, Mike is with the Citizen Focused Policing Team of the Police Reform Unit of The Home Office. Mr. Alderson is well known for his work in community-policy initiatives both in the UK as well as the US.

To help balance out Mr. Alderson's Minnesota police patch collection I'll be sending Mr. Alderson a Northfield Police Department patch tomorrow.

My experience has been that most European countries are heavily involved in community policing initiatives. When I visited Germany several years ago, I was impressed with the community policing initiatives found there. Prior to coming to Northfield, I had helped to host high ranking government officials from Moldova. The purpose of their trip to the U.S. was to learn about new policing initiatives that involved community participation.

The delegation from Moldova brought an interpreter who spoke Russian as that was their second language. I happened to have an officer, Doug Cline, who was fluent in Russian, working in my division at the time so I invited him to sit in on our discussions. I remember how great I thought it was to be sitting in the Police Department Office in Grand Island, Nebraska at the time, having my thoughts translated by one of our officers to a group of police officers who had traveled half-way around the world to visit with us.

These days, the conversations are common via the Internet, discussion groups and Weblogs.

Policing is a world-class occupation. It takes dedication and commitment as well as a good educational background and a lot of common sense to be successful. I'm optimistic that my associates around the world are embracing the technology that allows us to communicate and share ideas on a daily basis. It can only help benefit our communities as we learn new ideas and concepts that will help us partner with our respective communities to keep our friends, families and neighbors safe.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Close Call

Ramsey County Deputy Chris Tayson was shot and injured tonight while working to arrest a fugitive. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an evening article on their website about this incident. I'm very glad to hear that Deputy Tayson will make a full recovery.

I was speaking to one of our officers here in Northfield tonight about another matter when he told me about this incident. We had a brief discussion about this before we hung up. It reminded me that despite the differences officers everywhere are concerned when an officer is injured.

It also serves to remind me how grateful I am to the men and women of the Northfield Police Department who risk their lives every day to make sure we all are safe.

Officer Memorials

Patrol Officer Patrick Michael Righi-Barnard of the Burbank, Illinois Police Department was killed in a vehicular assault on November 25, 2004. He was struck and killed by a hit and run driver while assisting another motorist. The suspect was apprehended. The 7 year veteran of the department is survived by his fiancee, mother, brother and sister.

Commander Joseph Allen Goldsmith of the Apache County, Arizona Sheriff's Office succumbed May 22, 2004 to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on May 20, 2004. He is survived by his wife, two children, parents and two brothers.

Officer David Day of the St. Louis Park Police Department was killed this week while serving with the Military in Iraq.

Blogging News

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune ran an article yesterday about some of our local bloggers(free access but you have to register).

Northfielders Scott Neal and Griff Wigley continue their trek across the U.K. stimulating discussion on civic blogging. They are keeping an active log of their travels and experiences. Take a minute and check them out.

So what's your take on all this. Is blogging a good thing or just a fad. I think the potential is there for improved community involvement, especially in policing. In the past several weeks, I've been able to share with you a number of postings that deal with the rising drug problem and some personal implications for those of us who are officers in Northfield. Do you find this beneficial? Let me know. You can post a comment that everyone reads or leave me a message by hitting the contact me button that sends an email message.

I'll try to post a few of the responses.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Making it Harder to Make Meth

I received this comment earlier today.

I'm now a student at the University of Oklahoma. I couldn't believe it when I had to sign a logbook just to buy 12 doses of a decongestant at the pharmacy here on campus. Wouldn't it be easier to "flag" sales of the drug when someone buys more than 36 doses at once? The last time I visited Northfield, it was really nice to buy 48 doses at Target without giving them my name, address and phone number. There's gotta be a better way... doesn't there?

What the person is referring to is proposed legislation that would require people purchasing psuedo-ephedrine to sign a log. I posted information about this a while back. A big part of the process is getting the psuedo-ephedrine (main ingredient to make meth) off the open shelf and under control. A lot of the drug is stolen off the shelf: not purchased at all. Having it under control will hopefully limit access to it. The process has been effective in other states. Most proposals include language that specify only those medications with psuedo-ephedrine in them. It should not impact other cold or allergy medications.

It may be a bit of an inconvenience but the information that would be required is generally on your personal check, or your account if you have a prescription at the store. Hopefully limiting access to the drug will slow down the manufacture of meth in the state. Minnesota already requires the registration of purchase of certain chemicals that are used in conjunction with the manufacture of meth.

It will be interesting to see how the discussion plays out in the legislature this session.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Civic Blogging

I've been fortunate to have been invited to participate in a civic leadership pilot that has involved public officials in the US and UK. Cllr Andrew Brown posted an entry on his site today describing the arrival of Eden Prairie City Manager Scott Neal and Girff Wigley of Wigley and Associates, both Northfield residents, in the UK to attend a number of workshops and participate in presentations as the use of weblogs grows in the UK with public officials. It's been a rewarding experience. The project is called ReadMyDay. One of the places that Griff and Scott will be speaking is the Hansard Society.

I'm looking forward to a continued relationship with my new UK friends.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Legislative Issues

Rep. Ray Cox posted an entry about two bills that have support by a good number of police chiefs and sheriffs that deal with child restraints and prohibiting non-public safety officials from possessing a device that will change traffic signals. The information Ray provides is relative and worth consideration.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Officer Memorial

Officer Charles Haist, 32, of the Henry County, Georgia Police Department was killed in an automobile accident today. He was responding to a distress call at the time of the accident. He is survived by two daughters.

The Bug is Alive and Well


I fought the battle with the flu bug and lost over the weekend. I've been working mostly from home since Monday. Like a lot of places, it's hit our staff pretty hard. Obviously, when you are in contact with as many people as our officers and staff are, the odds are pretty good you are going to get something. Our staff have toughed it out and I appreciate their efforts.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Officer Memorial

Police Officer James M. Feltis II of the United States Pentagon Force Protection Agency - Pentagon Police, died today of injuries sustained on January 11th as he attempted to help apprehend a stolen car. Officer Feltis is survived by his wife and daughter.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

From Training Wheels To Learner's Permit

It just seems like a few years ago that my son Chris graduated from a training bike to the "big kid" bike. It was an October Sunday afternoon. My parents were visiting. Chris chose that time to consider our prior conversations between the two of us as to when he was ready to try the big bike. We started in the drive and I paced myself along side the bike holding on to the seat as we moved onto the street. I let go intermittently as he gained the confidence to go on his own. As his confidence grew so did the pace of his ride to the point I could no longer run alongside. As I fell behind, I would continue to call to him and shout words of encouragement so he knew I was there in case he needed help.

It was a big deal. One of those moments that parents don't forget.

I remembered that moment yesterday as Chris slid behind the steering wheel and I sat in the passenger seat as he tried out his newly acquired learner's permit. As his confidence grew, his pace quickened. This time I didn't fall behind literally but I did realize this was another important moment. Chris is at the age where he is again pulling away from me as he grows confident and more independent.

I did tell him that I'll keep "shouting" those words of encouragement and that no matter how far away he may be from me, I'll always be there to help him back up to try again.

Chris just smiled and probably figured that's one of those parent things...but he knows it to be true and that's what is important.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Don't Talk To Aliens From Outer Space???

A recent post in an edition of "Around The Block" mentioned a citizen report of a UFO over Northfield, of which officers were unable to locate. I then had a friend who sent the following to me thinking I might want to expound on it. I checked with Truth or Fiction and determined it to be false.

The item starts off as ..
"EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL EXPOSURE LAW
Already Passed by Congress
On October 5, 1982, Dr. Brian T. Clifford of the Pentagon announced at a
press conference ("The Star", New York, Oct. 5, 1982) that contact between U.S. citizens and extra-terrestrials or their vehicles is strictly illegal.
According to a law already on the books:
(Title 14, Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations, adopted on July
16, 1969, before the Apollo moon shots), anyone guilty of such contact automatically becomes a wanted criminal to be jailed for one year and fined
$5,000. The NASA administrator is empowered to determine with or without a hearing that a person or object has been "extraterrestrial exposed" and
impose an indeterminate quarantine under armed guard, which could not be broken even by court order."

According to Truth or Fiction, there is no such law so go ahead and befriend as many visitors from space as you wish.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Officer Down

Police Officer Molly Suzanne Bowden , 26, of the Columbia, Missouri Police Department succumbed to gunshot wounds a month ago as a result of being shot during a traffic stop. The suspect shot her once in the shoulder and later shot her in the neck where the suspect shot her two more times. She died on February 10th. She is survived by her husband who is also a police officer with the Columbia Police Department, two stepsons, parents and a brother. She had worked for the agency for 3 1/2 years.

There have been 13 line of duty deaths so far in 2005 and 17, 408 total to date.

Officer Down

Sergeant Michael Scarbrough of the Wayne County Airport Authority Police Department, Michigan was killed in an automobile accident on February 9th.

Officer Down

Deputy Wayne Koester of the Lake County, Florida Sheriff's Officer was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call on February 9th. He is survived by his wife and two children. He had served the sheriff's office for 9 months.

Protecting the Innocent

I was able to attend a training session today hosted by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

The topic of the training was how we can use new technology like DNA identification and new techniques in eyewitness identification to make sure that investigators develop information to find the right suspect and avoid sending innocent people to trial.

The group of several hundred attendees were a mix of police, prosecutors, judges, public defenders, several medical disciplines, and students. All share the goal of making sure the system works toward the identification and prosecution of criminals while protecting their rights and the rights of the innocent.

I would guess that some of you would be surprised to learn that investigators use tools like DNA evidence, fingerprints, interviews and eyewitness accounts to eliminate innocent individuals from investigations. The techniques help to narrow the field through good case management and working closely with prosecutors and the scientific community to keep those who prey on others out of circulation.

The good news is that new techniques make identification a higher possibility now and substantially reduces the risk of making a mistake, especially with eyewitness identification.

It was great to see everyone involved in the criminal justice system come to this meeting to dedicate our efforts to work together for justice.

You can be be proud of Minnesota for being a leader in the development of legal processes that are found in very few states. Minnesota is one of only 4 states that require the electronic recording of interviews of suspects who are in custody (Minnesota v Scales). The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is one of a very select few sites in the United States designated to receive funding for advanced DNA testing. Minnesota is known for its high standards in the selection and training of peace officers. It has also been my experience that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies work very well together in Minnesota.

Minnesota is the only state in the U.S. to actually begin the task of integrating all criminal justice information systems. The project is called CriMNet.

Combined, this makes Minnesota a leader in the criminal justice field and public safety.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Follow Up On Meth

I received a number of emails and inquires after I posted my my Tuesday entry about the hit list and the drug arrest. Here are several of the inquiries.

Was the drug arrest on Tuesday related to the meth lab you guys raided on Heritage Drive over the weekend?

No, they were separate incidents. The person arrested out of the apartment on Heritage Drive as a result of a search warrant was the resident of the apartment. That person had been arrested and taken to the Rice County Jail. He was released by a Rice County judge without posting bail. That means the person who admitted to making meth in his apartment where other people are living, including a child, posted no bail but simply promised to return to court when called.

Why did your officer have to stop the drug dealer's vehicle on Highway 19 at rush hour?

We really don't control where drug deals happen or where they decide to drive. We have ways of watching them to observe the drug transactions and agents try to contain them. Officers at the scene made a decision to stop the vehicle before it got into the downtown area where there would be more traffic and more pedestrians. It's a judgment call on the part of the drug agents. There is always a concern that the drug dealers have weapons.

Was the person your officers arrested from Northfield?

No, the two adults arrested were from the metro area. Our investigators have learned that a large amount of drug trade in this area takes place in Internet chat rooms between area residents and people living in the metro area who advertise they will come to this area to deliver drugs. Our goal is to make Northfield a very uninviting place to do illegal drug business. We have learned that routinely the transactions take place in public places and parking lots were there are people. We don't want this kind of activity happening because with drug transactions, there is always the chance of violence.

Is there a bigger drug problem in Northfield than other places? (my note, I've omitted the names of the cities the person inserted)

No, unfortunately, drug activity, mostly meth and cocaine is quite active again throughout southern Minnesota.

What exactly did the notes say that you took out of the car involved in the shoplifting incident? (my post on Tuesday)

The note listed a number of police officer names and vehicles, both city-owned and personal vehicles and other information, I prefer to not post here. The best way to describe this incident is to quote one of the reports sent to me by a Northfield investigator:



"...there were two lists in an organizer in the trunk. The lists contained descriptions of vehicles and license plates that appear to be some of our unmarked cars; it may contain descriptions and license plates of our private vehicles also. My unmarked car and an --- one of ---'s were on the list along with our names. Around the edge of the one list it said,



'Kill everyone affiliated with Police..' "


The list also contained phone numbers for a bunch of people who appear to be in the Meth crowd.

The paranoia associated with those who use meth makes the last statement above a real concern. It's not uncommon for those involved in the drug world to brag and engage in this type of bravado. I guess it makes them feel better. It often helps investigators because suspects like to take pictures with drugs, money and guns, write stuff like the quote above. Obviously, our investigators will be continuing a dialogue with the person in whose vehicle the documents were found.

Thanks to all of you who wrote kind words of support, they are appreciated. I feel it is important to provide a glimpse of the impact of the drug trade. I do hope everyone keeps it in perspective. I would ask that you remember that we are dedicated with working with other components of the system to help stem the tide of drug usage both through enforcement but also education, interdiction and treatment. I do want to thank the officers and staff for their willingness to also keep perspective as they go about their daily business of serving the members of this community.

We will continue to offer drug education programs and information meetings for those of you in the Northfield Area who would like to learn more. You can contact our office at 507-645-4477 to arrange a meeting. We will also host a citizen police academy again this spring. (I'll talk more about this later.)

We would continue to ask you to help be our eyes and ears, reporting suspicious activities and working within your Neighborhood Watch groups. We do have DARE officers available to provide the program in our local schools if we are ever asked to do so. Our school resource officer, Thad Monroe has been actively working in the elementary schools on a program to prevent bullying. He stands ready to assist in the middle school and high school if asked to do so.

We are committed to assist the community through education, joint projects and enforcement to continued to make Northfield a safe place to live.





Wednesday, February 09, 2005

In The Classroom

I spent the morning in Faribault at the Rice County Courthouse. No, I wasn't there to testify for a criminal trial, nor was I there to meet with either of the three judges. I was there to attend our annual training on use of force issues with about twenty-five other law enforcement officers from around Rice County.

The training, which is sponsored by Rice County Attorney, Paul Beaumaster, is designed to cover recent changes in state and federal court cases that impact on our ability to do our jobs. The primary focus centers on issues related to officers involved in use of force incidents, arrest, search and deadly force situations.

The training reminded me of a conversation I had with a reporter last May while I was attending the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The question asked was why is it necessary for a cop from a small town like Northfield to learn about all these modern law enforcement principles and techniques that would never be needed.

My response had been that our society is always changing and the demands and needs of our respective communities requires police professionals to stay at the edge of innovation and knowledge to better serve those we are sworn to protect. Size of the community has very little to do with the type of situations police officers face these days. The discussions today about reasonable and necessary use of force to protect others falls into this category.

Knowledge is truly power when one discusses officer use of force. Our officers must know when and how to deal with the various situations they encounter while performing their duties. It is absolutely essential that they are comfortable with this knowledge when it comes time for them to make split-second, life and death decision. We put our peace officers out in the community with the charge to protect us. It is only reasonable that we provide them with the best training, equipment and knowledge base available to assist them in making the right choices.

More on Methamphetamine

Representative Ray Cox recently placed an entry in his weblog discussing a bill he is working on that would restrict the sale of psuedo-ephedrine by changing it to a Schedule V drug. This means a person could no longer just walk up to a counter and access the drug. This drug is the key in making meth. It can't be made without it. Oklahoma passed a similar bill a while back and have seen a dramatic reduction in the local production of meth. Ray should be commended for working on this bill. Believe it or not, there is opposition in the retail sector as they don't want to have to control the drug in this matter. In my opinion it's a small price to pay to slow down the production of this dangerous drug. Please let your legislators know you feel this is important legislation that needs to be heard this session.

I also appreciate Ray taking a position on proposed legislation that would deny LGA funding to political subdivisions who do not allow police and fire fighters to wear U.S. Flags on their uniforms. In my previous discussion on this topic, I said the proposed legislation is fraught with loopholes that can prove to be disastrous. In my previous posting, I have provided links to the sponsors of the proposed legislation if you would like to voice your opinion.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Believe it or Not

Here's another believe it or not. My sister who lives in South Texas sent me this sound clip after I posted the item about stuff out on the Internet circulating that are not accurate or truthful. In checking with Urban Legends page on this topic, they are unclear if it is fact or fiction. They feel it is close to a program from All in the Family where Archie Bunker had an accident with a stationwagon full of nuns. We'll keep tracking for future reference. Obviously I do not advocate the actions taken in the audio clip. (It also allows me the chance to try out a new option that will allow me to upload short audio files through the use of a phone). There is a long lead at the beginning so please be patient. Here's the narrative that came with the email my sister provided. She is going to try to see if she can validate if this is factual or not.

On a recent Spurs trip, we were asking one of our sponsors who works at Jack in the Box some funny stories or experiences with the company.
The funniest story he had was when an operations manager was late for a meeting and called his boss to tell him he was running late. As he was leaving the voice mail message, he witnessed an accident and went on to provide "play by play" of the incident. After telling us the story, he promised to send us a copy of the voice mail and here it is. This is the actual voice mail message. It was passed along and forwarded so many times within Jack in the Box, it crashed their voice mail server.

Keep in mind that the link listed comes from a place called the "nerdgroup."

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, February 07, 2005

Officer Down

Police Chief Anthony Lucas of the French Camp, Mississippi Police Department died February 4th when he was shot and killed in Weir, Mississippi, assisting the Ackerman Police Department during a vehicle pursuit.

Chief Lucas is survived by his wife and 5-year old son.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Northfield Fire Department


The Northfield Fire and Rescue Department held their annual recognition awards banquet on Saturday evening.

It is always an honor for Ruth and myself to be invited to attend the banquet. The evening provides an opportunity for the members of the fire and rescue department to recognize the efforts of their peers and their contributions to the community for the previous year.

The members of the Northfield Department donate their time and talents to make sure our community stays safe. I appreciate their efforts and their dedication.

Resurgence of an Old Myth

I recently received the attached email at work from an old friend who is not in policing, wanting to know if it is true:

"A friend of my father's was a cop in Nevada, and he was assigned the graveyard shift, posted outside of town on a little used section of road, given a radar gun and ordered to stay put and to pull motorists over for speeding. One night, while the officer waits by the side of the road, the radar gun starts screaming for no apparent reason at all, registering about 140. The officer, who was sleepy anyway, attributes this to a faulty gun, and ignores the incident. A week later the same thing happens again, on the same stretch of road, at about the same time at night. This time, however, the gun registers 145, and the officer pays more attention. Later, after his shift is over, he has the gun checked out for problems, and is told it is operating perfectly. A week later, same road, same time, the gun goes off. By now the police officer is confused, and angry. The next week he has men stationed at a road block a few miles down from the spot where he has been positioned. Like clockwork, the radar gun goes off, and he alerts his friends to get ready for whatever is racing down the highway. At the road block is stopped a black Lamborghini, with an engine iced and baffled for silent running. The driver is a drug mule, hauling a load and staying on the backroads, and less frequently monitored highways. The car itself is running without headlights, while the driver wears night vision goggles. "

Well, it sounds real James Bondish but it's not true. Actually, it is a verbatim text from an entry from Urban Legends. Essentially there is no truth to this story. It has many variations and has been around for a long time. It's about as valid as putting foil in your wheel covers to "fool" the RADAR. Just for the record...neither of the tactics work.

I also was asked if RADAR detectors work on laser speed devices. The answer is no. My suggestion is to save your money on detection devices and devote your attention to defensive driving. It will save you money and probably save someone's life.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A Letter From a Con Artist

A con artist was kind enough to send me an "invitation" to participate in an "opportunity" to make some money at work on Saturday so it gave me something to write about.

This one was from a person who calls himself UBABIA FRANK. They always start off with "Please read this," Dear sir/madam with warm heart I offer my friendship..." or something like this.

Usually it involves a European or African location, involves some kind of political intrigue that will benefit you because they need your bank account to launder money that is rightfully the property of some defrocked prince or something.

It is almost laughable except that we actually have people in Northfield that are falling for it. I can sum it up in one statement:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Don't respond to this kind of message. Just delete it. It's not illegal for them to solicit you in this manner and it's hard to prove anything given the unknown location and identity of the person(s) involved. When we get notification of this type of email, we just send it on to the FBI for their reference.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Spring Fever

The nice weather has provided a lot of us the opportunity to get out and enjoy biking and other outdoor activities more commonly found in March or April than the first week of February. With the unusually warm weather, I'd like to ask everyone to be aware of the increased outdoor activity and watch out for bikers, walkers, and folks on other types of conveyances.

Thanks

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Recruiting Day

Officer Jody Spinner and myself traveled to Minnesota State University in Mankato today to participate in a job fair on the University campus. This is the second year that I've attended this recruiting effort. I try to make several of them a year when possible. I also participated in a panel of police representatives from the various disciplines to discuss issues of applying and qualifying for a job in policing.

The first question is: "Why are you going if you don't have any vacancies?"

Well, attrition in most organizations generally sees some movement almost annually. Besides, it's good to get out and meet those interested in policing. I believe it is important for the students to be encouraged by police chiefs and other executives to continue their quest to become members of the policing profession. This is especially true to work to gain the interest of a more diverse workforce. The recent article in Police Chief Magazine in which I collaborated with several of my peer to develop speaks of the challenges of police recruiting in the future.

Attendance at the recruiting events also allows me to learn future candidates' interests and concerns and helps our local recruiting efforts to be a more attractive police organization in which to apply.

I also encourage students to get involved in volunteer reserve officer programs, internships, and community service officer positions to help build their resume'. In order develop a pool of qualified candidates with ideal traits, you have to help them develop their skills and experience base. They may not wind up working in Northfield, but there is satisfaction that we helped to provide a qualified police officer candidate to another community. Everybody wins. Candidates with a good skills base, high ethical standards, compassion, empathy and good communication skills furthers the profession and provides better service to every community.

We took a few pictures. When I can get the memory stick from Officer Spinner, I'll post a few pictures.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Drug Task Forces

I was in St. Paul today attending a meeting held at the BCA Headquarters (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension). The intent of the session was to inform those involved in the various drug task forces throughout the state of new trends and requirements.

The task forces are funded with pass-through dollars received from the federal government by means of the Byrne Grant. Slightly more than 2.7 million dollars go toward the operation of the drug task forces which are comprised of various law enforcement agencies around the state. The system works well as it affords local control and funding assistance to meet the growing drug problem in the state.

The state receives Byrne Grant dollars that are distributed throughout various state programs.

The Northfield Police Department participates in the South Central Drug investigations Unit (SCDIU) which covers a number of southeastern Minnesota counties stretching from Northfield in Rice County to the Iowa border. It is one of the larger task forces geographically and serves nearly a population of 100,000 people. SCDIU was in the news in September when it was involved in the drug arrests in Northfield and Faribault.

Part of the mission of the drug task forces is information and education. In our area, Sergeant Roger Schroeder (507-663-9322) is the contact person for requests for programs.