A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Community Policing Principles - Cayman Island Style

I found an interesting article about community policing concepts and reducing crime today. It comes from the Cayman Islands. The article speaks about the common threads of community policing: public involvement and activities that encourage community-based problem solving. An interesting twist to this article; however, is the observation that since many of these programs take years to implement properly, they often fall by the wayside because of the turnover in police professionals. The author, Kafara Augustine, RCIPS Media Liaison Officer, states


"...the success of the programme is somewhat dependent on the long-term presence of officers - a fact that is translated in children's minds as the officers sticking with the community throughout all the difficult stages of its development..."
Augustine also notes a 1997 study by the Police Executive Research Forum that showed that the tenure of police chiefs in major cities had dropped to 2.5 to 4 years.

Augustine makes a valid point. It is difficult to maintain programs with high turnover. Traditionally, Midwestern states tend to have longer tenured chiefs and staff; however, that trend is changing with the ability of more mobility of senior police personnel and the often political climate even smaller city chiefs now face on a daily basis.

Governmental bodies also need to be cognizant of the need to provide public safety officials the necessary funding, salary base and growth ability to meet the needs of growing populations. It's a challenge in an environment where there are shrinking dollars. The same problem solving applications that deal with crime and safety can also be applied on a community-police strategy to make sure officers are compensated well and equipped well and they have the consistent leadership that will enable them to be successful.

Augustine's article was interesting and one in which elected officials and city administrators/managers should take note.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Officer Memorial

Sergeant Kevin Kight of the Panama City Beach, Florida Police Department was shot and killed on March 27th while conducting a traffic stop. Sergeant Knight had been with the Panama City Beach Police Department for six years. He is survived by his wife and a 4-year-old son.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A Memorial, Bill Cody and Jazz

While in North Platte Nebraska, we had a chance to take our kids out to Bill Cody's Scouts Rest Ranch. Others know Bill Cody as Buffalo Bill Cody, one of the more flamboyant entertainers of the "wild west." Each year, North Platte holds Nebraskaland Days to celebrate the pioneer spirit and expose visitors to Buffalo Bill's Frontier Review.

I've included a few photos of the ranch and the museum contained on the property.




Here is Cody's home which now houses a museum exhibit and (below) the barn where show horses and equipment were kept. The property is now a Nebraska State Park.



I've included a number of photos from the exhibits below



The clothing above are reproductions of clothing worn by Cody



The above photo is a bass drum head used by Cody's show when touring Great Britain
________________________________________________________
Another stop we made was at the newly constructed Veterans' Memorial in North Platte.




This is an example of the various displays in the memorial.




This wall is the focal point of the memorial, depicting various wars and conflicts. It is a beautiful memorial and a tribute to all those who have served in the military.
We ended the day with the opportunity to attend a concert by The United States Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors. It was a great concert and a fitting finish to an enjoyable day.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument

We headed west from Grand Island to visit family in North Platte. On our way there we stopped at the Crane Meadows Nature Center In the spring and fall literally millions of sandhill cranes roost in the fields adjacent to the Platte River. The Center allows for tours and information as to where the best locations are to view the cranes. The main flock really doesn't arrive until after the first part of April so I wasn't able to get a field shot to include here. I did take a picture of a representation that was on display for those of you who might not know what a sandhill crane looks like. Note: cranes come in different sizes and colors. When we lived in this area, this was one of the most remarkable natural events that took place each fall and spring. Having lived on South Padre Island in Texas and now in Minnesota, I can say I've followed the U.S. migration of the cranes from south to north. They are beautiful to watch in flight, fun to listen to as they roost and impressive when one considers they've been following these same migration patterns for nine million years according to fossil studies. There are about 200 Whooping cranes that migrate through the Platte River valley each spring and fall as well. They are one of the most endangered species in the world. Interesting note: cranes designate "loafing places" where they relax, drink, and mate...much the same as what occurs in coffee houses for humans. Sometimes cranes "loaf" for as much as a month to replenish fat and other nutrients they expend as they make their travels north or south.




We also stopped at the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument. It spans Interstate 80 just before you reach Kearney, Nebraska. My son, Chris took this photo so you could get an idea of what the archway looks like as you approach it on Interstate 80.



The Archway was put in place in 1999. The Interstate was closed for 8 hours while the arch was raised and set on the support beams and secured. Inside there is a place to eat, a gift shop and the main focus is the walk through tour of the history of migration through the prairies of Nebraska as settlers moved west.

The exhibition starts you off riding an escalator up into the opening of the arch. Projected on a wall is a moving display of prairie activities of the period. Once inside the Archway, you are greeted by a person dressed for the period who provides you with a set of wireless headphones to wear as you walk through the exhibits at your leisure. Each area provides a narration that also includes lighting and sound effects. The displays start in the early 1800's and progress to today.

I've included a couple photos below. They are a bit dark because of the lighting inside.






It's a unique concept and we enjoyed the visit. I was a bit disappointed that they did not provide information regarding the effects western expansion had on the Native Americans and the contributions Native Americans made to the growth of our country during this time. Perhaps that will be an exhibit in the future. I did notice they are working on some outdoor exhibits that show how Native Americans lived during the period.

Tomorrow I'll try to get a few shots of things indigenous to North Platte, like Buffalo Bill Cody and his Rest Ranch. Bill Cody has a place in my wife, Ruth's family since her grand mother, Olive Rice, met him on several occasions but according to Ms. Rice, he was a bit of an egotist (a result no doubt of his showmanship) and not always the most well-bathed person. In studying Bill Cody's career as an entertainer; however, I've noted a number of similarities in the manner in which he interspersed words of wisdom and entertainment between the music numbers and acts, not so unlike a local Northfield entertainment icon I think.....

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Traffic Stops and Profiling

Newsday had an interesting article regarding racial profiling and attempts in New Jersey to measure how state troopers were managing their stops. Several years ago, the New Jersey State Police were placed under a consent decree by the Justice Department after allegations arose from a shooting and misconduct on the part of some of their officers who were alleged to have stopped individuals because of their race. According to the Justice Department investigation and subsequent decree, this was found to be true.

The current report found in the link above provides the findings of the most recent study and the discussion between the various stakeholders involved in the process. As you can imagine, there is a difference of opinion between the various groups. It is an example of the challenges communities face in dealing with issues such as profiling, better known as bias based policing.

I think the latter term is more encompassing of the issue and the dilemma created. How is the community assured that police are applying all services and assistance in a community or geographical area fairly and on an equal basis but still performing the enforcement function necessary.

In the case of traffic stops, new technology allows for better documentation of traffic stops conducted by officers. This provides a documented record of the interaction of the officers and traffic violator. In Northfield, our officers document all traffic stops through our dispatch center. They record the reason the vehicle was stopped, the gender and race of the driver and if they conducted a vehicle search or not. The date, time and location of the stop is also recorded should there be a question about the vehicle stop at a later time.

Shortly after my arrival in Northfield, I asked members of our Human Rights Commission to regularly review our incident reports. Not that I feel our staff is doing anything wrong, on the contrary, I feel our officers do an excellent job of fairly conducting our business in the community, but is a good idea to have a fresh set of eyes to view activities for any perceived patterns or concerns. Additionally, we were one of the first agencies to have a policy outlining a procedure to prevent profiling activities and how to respond to citizen inquiries or complaints about possible profiling incidents. Our staff regularly receives training in the area of bias based policing and profiling issues.

I have also reinforced my belief to our staff that the real issue as it pertains to traffic stops is the use of a pretext stop. A pretext stop is when an officer stops a vehicle for a minor traffic violation such as a burned out headlight and then proceeds to ask the driver to search the vehicle without any cause to believe there are drugs or other forms of contraband in the vehicle. Some people would call this a fishing expedition.

It is important that we encourage officers to perform their jobs and prevent crime. I know that 99% of the officers in this country do their jobs well and with a high degree of ethical conduct.

With safeguards in place and by establishing a solid working relationship with our communities and stakeholders, police officers can meet the responsibilities of accountability and still perform their jobs.

Officer Memorial

Officer Jesse E. Sollman, of the Easton, Pennsylvania Police Department died of an accidental gunshot wound on Friday, March 25th. Officer Sollman was a Marine veteran and had served with the Easton P.D. for 8 years. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Friday, March 25, 2005

How Do You Get That Lonely?

..."How do you get that lonely, how do you hurt that bad

To make you make the call, that havin' no life at all

Is better than the life that you had

How do you feel so empty, you want to let it all go

How do you get that lonely... and nobody know..."

These words come from a song performed by Blaine Larson called "How Do You Get That Lonely."

I first heard the song several weeks ago. It talks about a person who is reading a newspaper obituary and discovers one about a young adult who took his own life. The song describes the reader's questions as to how a person could arrive at such a place.

After 24 years of policing and about an equal amount of time working with teens and young adults in a number of venues, I will tell you that I've asked this question many, many times. Those who I've known who have taken their lives are forever lost and I will always mourn the loss of their lives and the positive light they brought into this world.

Recent events in Northfield and in Red Lake have reminded me of the tough times our kids face and how their perception of hopelessness is often higher because of their limited life experiences. We must send the message that it is not as dark as it seems right now. It can and will get better.

For those of you who might be reading this and truly feel that life is worth nothing and you have nothing to live for, I'm here to tell you that is not the truth. There is a loving God who cares about you. You make a difference in many many lives you may not even know about.

You will be missed tremendously.

Please do not take your life.

Find someone to talk with: keep trying until you find someone who will listen. Ministers, teachers, parents and friends want to help you. You can even call 911 and a police officer will come talk to you.

You are precious and loved and we need you to stay here with us. Here are some places you can call or click to right now for help.

Rice County/Northfield 24 Hour Numbers
Mental Health Crisis Line 1-800-233-9929
Hope Center 1-800-607-2330
Social Services 1-800-442-1286

The National Boys and Girls Town has a teen and young adult hotline you can call any time:

Call With any Problem, Anytime
1-800-448-3000 (TDD 1-800-448-1833)
Open 24 hours a day, everyday

You can go to their website and get materials, information and even enter a chat room.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Officer Memorials

Police Officer Peter Grignon of the Louisville, Kentucky Metro Police department was shot and killed by a suspect on March 23rd. The two year veteran is survived by a wife and parents.

Sergeant Carl Dewayne Graham of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was shot and killed in an ambush on March 20th. Sergeant Graham was ambushed in front of his residence as he was returning home after finishing his tour of duty. Reports indicate authorities believe the shooting was result of a previous law enforcement action.

The 12 year veteran is survived by his 4-year-old son and his parents.

Iowa Meth Legislation

An article in the New York Times, reports on the recent legislation passed by the Iowa Legislature and signed by Iowa Governor Thomas J. Vilsack, that now requires Iowans to show identification and sign their names when buying common cold medicines that contain pseudoephedrine. The law also limits the quantity a person can purchase in a 30 day period of time. The article states that Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky have similar laws.

The Minnesota House and Senate are currently working a legislation that would help control the access to pseudoephedrine.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tragedy in Red Lake

The recent shootings in Red Lake, MN reminds me of the need to continually evaluate safety needs of local schools. My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and with the community as they begin the healing process.

The above link will take you to a Minneapolis Star Tribune web link about the incident. It will ask that you register but you will not have to pay any subscription fee.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Officer Memorials

It was a rough week for law enforcement officers, the following officers died in the line of duty.

Police Officer Jackson V. Lone of the Seattle, Washington Police Department drowned on March 16th while attempted to secure a drifting tugboat. He is survived by his wife and an 18 month old son.

Patrolman Thomas Catchings of the Jackson, Mississippi Police Department was shot and killed on March 17th after he was involved in a short vehicle pursuit. He is survived by his wife and three young children.

Police Officer Michael Keith Buckner of the Decherd, Tennessee Police Department died as a result of an automobile accident on March 17th. The accident is attributed to a severe winter storm that was taking place at the time.

Patrolman William A. Henley, of the Suffolk, Virginia Police Department died of a heart attack during a foot pursuit of a suspect on March 19th. He is survived by his wife and four children.

My thoughts and prayers go out to each of these officers' families and colleagues.

Dangerous

My family and I were returning from an after church lunch today. As we were traveling down Jefferson Parkway, I observed a dark color vehicle with the trunk lid open and up. Inside the trunk was a person who looked to be a teen or younger sitting in the trunk. The vehicle continued to turn to go down Jefferson Parkway. Aside from the obvious violation, this is a very dangerous practice.

Should the vehicle hit a bump, turn suddenly, or become involved in an accident, the person sitting in the trunk would be ejected and most likely seriously injured. I have no idea if officers found the vehicle or not.

Please care enough about your family and friend to not allow this.

Ordinances and laws aside, this type of behavior is extremely dangerous and should not be encouraged.

Thanks for listening.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Appreciation To Those Who Fight Winter Storms

It was necessary for me to go to St. Paul on Friday morning. Leaving early in the morning, the weather and the roads were manageable. By the time I left to return to Northfield, things were not so good coming out of St. Paul. Many cars passed me on my way back going much too fast for the ice covered road conditions and high winds. I saw most of them on the side of the road or in fields and ditches later down the road after the drivers lost control of their vehicles.

I heard several estimates between 200 and 300 that represented the number of accidents that were reported on Friday around the metro area. What impressed me most were the efforts that snow plow drivers, both county and MnDot displayed as they tried to keep roads passable. I saw a good number of Dakota County Deputies and Minnesota State Troopers assisting motorists and trying to patrol along Highway 52.

It was a lousy day for traveling and I appreciate the efforts of all transportation and law enforcement personnel who risked their own safety to protect ours.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Hot Reads - Continued

We wrapped up the final installment of the review of this year's mysteries on St. Patrick's Day. I appreciate everyone who stopped by to discuss The Devil's Bed.

I'll look forward to next year's event.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Legislative Day In St. Paul

I went to the Capitol in St. Paul today (Tuesday) to attend the legislative information day sponsored by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police and the Minnesota Sheriff's Association. We spent the better part of the morning listening to a number of senators and representatives speak about a number of bills and proposed legislation key to public safety and law enforcement. A couple of the items discussed were the proposed legislation to control the psuedo-ephedrine that is used to make Meth, a primary seatbelt law and proposed legislation that would make it tougher on drivers who speed and/drive recklessly. Thanks to those officials, including Public Safety Commissioner Mike Campion, who took time to meet with us this morning.

The remainder of the morning and early afternoon involved visiting elected officials of our local jurisdictions and those who chair committees who are present hearing or may hear proposed legislation of a public safety or law enforcement interest. I did have a chance to visit with Representative Ray Cox of Northfield. I appreciated him giving Chief Mike Lewis of Faribault and myself unscheduled time. Representative Cox also posted a weblog entry about our visit.



Representative Ray Cox, Faribault Police Chief Mike Lewis and myself
I know I've said it before but Minnesota residents are fortunate that the various law enforcement disciplines work so well together. It's a win situation for us all.

Discussion of The Devil's Bed This Thursday

"...Moses moved faster than Bo had ever seen a man move. From his prone position, he delivered a powerful kick, and Bo's leg buckled. Even as he went down, Bo tried to bring the Sig to bear on Moses, but the man rolled quickly away. Bo hit the ground on his knees. Moses executed a knife-hand blow that deadened Bo's arm, and the Sig dropped from his hand. In the same moment, Bo saw a flash of reflected light in Moses's right hand. Moses whirled, and Bo felt the thrust of the knife blade in his back..."

That's an excerpt from The Devil's Bed" which is the book we will be discussing this Thursday (March 17th) at the Northfield Library at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to wear a little green to keep the good luck going while we work our way through this book of intrigue and multiple surprises. The book is still available at the library and local bookstores if you are interested in bringing your copy (green cover and all) along with you.

The author, William Kent Krueger is a Minnesota author and the plot is set in Minnesota. This book is particularly inviting because it involves multiple law enforcement agencies, politicians and the relationships between them. Since Northfield has had recent visits from a sitting president (Clinton) and other dignitaries, the connection of the protective service and those they protect, adds a new dimension to the discussion.

The multiple characters and plots make this work a challenge to keep up with all the while, the ticking clock is constantly counting down to the deaths of some very special people. The book has something for everyone, the dedicated law enforcement officer, a very dark villain or maybe several. A government conspiracy, forbidden love and the hero's trusty sidekick.

The respective childhood experiences of the "bad guy" and the "good guy" are intriguingly similar and helps to send the two men on a crash course of death and destruction.

In addition to the discussion, I've invited Detective Sergeant Roger Schroeder from the Northfield Police Department to spend a bit of time with us to discuss the real-life challenges of a major crime investigation.

If you're interested in a lively discussion of a murder mystery set in Minnesota, come on by.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Great Show

Yesterday (Sunday) our family went to the 6th Northfield High School Rock-n-Roll Revival. It's a great time to hear songs from the past but to remind yourself how talented Northfield kids (and a few select adults) really are.

It's a great time and if you get a chance to go you should absolutely go!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Officer Memorial

Assistant SAC David Wilhelm of the United States Department of Homeland Security and Customs Enforcement was killed March 11th when he was shot and killed after being confronted by a suspect who had murdered Deputy Hoyt Teasely of the Fulton County, Georgia Sheriff's Department as well as a court reporter and a judge earlier in the day. He is survived by his wife and brother.

Officer Memorial

Deputy Sheriff James Alexander Burdette of the Anderson County, South Carolina Sheriff's Office died on March 12th after being struck by a vehicle on March 11th. He is survived by his wife and two young daughters.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

March 17th and Safe Driving



St. Patrick's Day is a great day that is often unfortunately marred b y the poor judgment of a few who choose to put others at risk by driving drunk. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has posted a number of posters and information available to those businesses who serve alcoholic beverages to discourage irresponsible behavior as well as editorial letters and information. The picture above is an example of the visuals available for download on the site.

Please enjoy a great time for meeting friends and socializing but do use good judgment and don't drink and drive.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Officer Memorial

Sergeant Hoyt Teasely of the Fulton County, Georgia Sheriff's Department was shot and killed on March 11th while a pursuing a suspect who had just murdered a Superior Court judge.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Driving Conduct

It was an interesting day in Minnesota. A little bit of snow today after a few spring-like days was fraught with accidents. Nothing serious but the body shops will get a bit more winter business it would appear.

I spent some time this morning driving around town to check out the road conditions. I thought it might be beneficial to share my experiences with you. I suspect many of you will relate to my experiences and several of you might recognize yourselves.

Those of you guilty of the following list of various faux pas actions can be grateful that our officers were too busy for me to call over to make a traffic stop and the vehicle I was driving was without emergency warning lights.

At about 7:45 a.m., I was stopped at Jefferson Parkway and 246 where I saw a vehicle slide through the intersection because they were going way too fast. The driver was somewhat surprised at the event but didn't seem to feel the need to stop talking on the cell phone. Perhaps she was calling her insurance agent or a mechanic to advise them she just found out that SUVs don't stop very well on wet, slick road surfaces when traveling 50 miles per hour in a school zone.

At about 8:00 a.m., I watched a semi tractor trailer going way too fast blow the traffic light at County Road 1 and Highway 3. Given the fact that MnDot was kind enough to put up those flashing lights warning of the impending signal change, I just didn't see any reason to not stop for the light. It would have been helpful if the driver had been traveling the speed limit.

At about 8:05 a.m., I watched a car blow the stop sign at Riverview and Highway 3. It shot out of the driveway of the Ranch House Restaurant and never looked back as it forced a car to move into another lane as it proceeded to go northbound on 3.

After a short meeting at the Ranch House, I went out to check the roads again. As I was traveling north on Highway 3 in traffic moving the speed limit. I had a motorist behind me flashing their lights and tailgate me. Apparently traveling the speed limit was an inconvenience. I was amazed that the person could light a cigarette, talk on a cell phone, steer his car and still find time to honk the horn and flash his lights at me. I did figure that perhaps the out of state plate on the vehicle from points far south of Minnesota might have had something to do with it.

At about 8:40 a.m. I watched a person make a u-turn in the middle of the 400 block of Division Street requiring both directions of traffic to wait for them to get done.

I watched this same car fail to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk at 5th and Division, and yes, you guessed it, they were talking on a cell phone the whole time.

At 8:50 a.m, I watched what must have been three alpha male drivers challenge each other at the 4-way stop at Woodley and Division. Fortunately, they managed to dodge each other through the intersection.

I had a 9:00 a.m. appointment so I made my way back to the office and shared my concerns with a few of my friends who do wear uniforms and drive cars with red and blue lights on them who were at the Safety Center.

I would like to thank the many, many drivers who took the time to not only drive for themselves this morning, but also drive for the other drivers I described above. Fortunately, our good drivers still substantially outnumber the not-so-good ones.

This is an excellent opportunity to put in a mention of our future attempts to start addressing the increasing problem with aggressive driving in Northfield. In light of the future construction and detours, we are looking at various education and enforcement strategies that I will be introducing here in the weeks to come. The intent is to help facilitate smooth traffic flow while maintaining the safety and integrity of the various neighborhoods. Most of you will probably never notice us much unless you are one of the folks I described above. If so, I suspect you will be seeing some red lights in your rear view mirror and a citation in your hand some time in the not-so-distant future.

Officer Memorial

Detective John Raymond Weir of the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Police Department died on November 7th from a knife wound he had sustained 14 years earlier while responding to a call involving a mentally ill man who was threatening people with a knife. Detective Weir is survived by his wife and two children.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Supporting our Troops

Recently the Lakeville Police Department coordinated a drive to collect unused ballistic vests from local law enforcement agencies to get them shipped to troops overseas for our Troops. We were happy to contribute. The drive was a success and with the cooperation of a number of resources, the vests successfully made it to the Middle East.

I was engaged in a conversation about this topic Monday evening and it brought to mind the sacrifice made by our soldiers and their families. They are truly heroes. Regardless of your politics or views, the tireless dedication of the members of our armed forces is something we should never take for granted. When I returned home Monday evening, I found an email from my sister who lives in South Texas. It speaks in a way I cannot. I've provided a link here. Please be patient as it will take a short time to load.

Again, I'll remind you that the views expressed here are my own and not that of the City of Northfield. I finance this weblog with my own resources and on my own time.

Godspeed to all our military personnel in harm's way.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Northfield City Council Recognizes "Over and Back"

Tonight, the Northfield City Council recognized the group "Over and Back"



When we came to Northfield six years ago, Over and Back was one of the first social events we attended. I believe that the group's efforts symbolizes a lot of what is so unique about Northfield: talent, dedication, tenure and generosity. The regular concerts held throughout the year, provide great music, some self-effacing humor, educate, provide a message, and an opportunity to help a number of agencies financially benefit local residents who are in need.

Will Healey, Pastor of Emmaus Baptist Church here in Northfield was on hand to accept the council recognition presented to Over and Back by Mayor Lee Lansing.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Craig S. Herbert of the Lawrence, Indiana Police Department was killed on March 5th when his vehicle was struck by a suspect's vehicle pursuit.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Thomas McMeekin Jr. of the Atlantic City, New Jersey Police Department was killed on March 4th after he was struck by a bus while directing traffic at an accident scene. Officer McMeekin was a five year veteran of the department.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hot Reads At The Library

Tonight was the first meeting for our Hot Reads series to discuss murder mysteries.



Here's a look at some of the folks who took the time to stop by to discuss the various aspects of murder mysteries and how they compare to actual police procedure. I appreciate everyone's willingness to join in the discussion Thursday night..

The novel we discussed Thursday evening was Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy. It's a thriller that is set in Minnesota. P.J. Tracy is actually a mother-daughter writing team




We'll be meeting again at the Northfield Library on March 17th to discuss the second book, The Devil's Bed by William Kent Krueger, another Minnesota author.




In addition to talking about the first book, we also spent time discussing the article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune in Thursday's metro edition that discussed the discovery of the novel by John Camp who writes under the name John Sandford, Rules of Prey in a packet of information mailed to local Wichita, Kansas media by the BTK killer. The article discusses the possibility of the novel having some kind of influence over the BTK killer. Of course the article pointed out that most of the killings had taken place before Camp had written his novel. It was a lively discussion.

My thanks to Lynn Young and her staff at the Northfield Public Library for our second annual Hot Reads event. If you have an interest in our next discussion, you have time to obtain a copy and join in on the discussion on March 17th. If you have discussion questions for Devil's Bed, I'll try to post them here in advance and then we'll share them on the 17th. We hope to also have our Evidence Tech, Jeff Ringlien show up to display some of the tools of a real crime scene investigator. The event starts at 7:00 at the library.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Officer Memorial

Senior Agent Jim Matkin of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was killed in an automobile accident on March 2nd. He is survived by his parents, two sisters and a step-son.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Officer Memorial

Officer Eric Jay Van Fossan of the Eagle Pass, Texas Police Department died of a heart attack on February 26th while struggling with a suspect at the scene of a domestic disturbance. The 11 year veteran of the department is survived by his wife and three children.

6 Years And Counting

Today, March 1st marks six years of serving as the Police Chief in Northfield. It has been an enjoyable time. I am so very pleased with the great strides that have taken place within the department during this time. We are fortunate to have an outstanding group of individuals working here.

Our clerks, Donah Broadhead, Tracy Kolterman, Mischelle Watkins and Karen Mangold are very versatile and competent in a demanding office environment.

Community Service Officer Kris Wilson and Evidence Tech Jeff Ringlien lend great support in their respective areas.

Officers Mark Barlau, Jeff Gigstad, Jim Frie, Mark Dukatz, Rich Bailey, Bill Houts, Karen Abrahamson, Scott Johnson, Josh Laber, Steve Klostermeier, Craig Sammon and Kevin Tussing are responsible for patrol support activities. Officer Jody Spinner handles crime prevention and education as well as accreditation and standards monitoring. Officer Thad Monroe is currently assigned as our school resource officer and is doing an outstanding job his first year.

Sergeants Bill Olsen, Mark Murphy and Ted Berg are the patrol supervisors who manage the general operations of patrol activities for the department.

Sergeant Roger Schroeder, Officers Monte Nelson and Jesse Cordova take care of investigations and related activities.

Captain Tim Halverson handles most of the day-to-day issues and oversees the patrol function.

Their dedication to the community is exceptional. We are fortunate to have these fine women and men as part of the Northfield Police Department.

In postings to come, it is my hope to feature our staff and the exceptional work that each of them performs.

To the community, I would like to thank you for your support and encouragement. We have been successful in new problem-solving strategies and partnerships that provides for an excellent quality of life.

Thanks to the elected officials, past and present who have supported our efforts tirelessly and been a good source of support and information these past six years.

Thanks also to city staff who help us succeed through administrative support, field support and just plain good cooperative efforts.

I'm am confident that the next six years will show the same high level of competence and customer service growth as we have experienced in the previous six years. It couldn't happen without the great dedication of all these fine individuals!

Answering a Question About Guns

I had a person ask me if it was true that the IRS was going to require all firearms to be listed on tax returns. I did some checking and cannot find any truth to this. Truthorfiction's entry states that this is either a misreading of the actual bill or an intentional misrepresentation of it. Here is an example of the wording of several of the emails floating around out there.

"This is just purely crazy!!!!! Really go search for this article, I did, and it is disgusting that they can get away with this.

The IRS is too damn powerful!

I am soooooo mad!
-Mark

Read Below!
------------------------------ Gun owners beware!

Senate Bill SB-2099 will require us to put on our 2004 1040 federal tax form all guns that you have or own. It may require fingerprints and a tax of $50 per gun.

This bill was introduced on Feb. 24. This bill will become public knowledge 30 days after it is voted into law. This is an amendment to the Internal Revenue Act of 1986. This means that the Finance Committee can pass this without the Senate voting on it at all.

The full text of the proposed amendment is on the U.S. Senate homepage, http://www.senate.gov/ You can find the bill by doing a search by the bill number, SB-2099.

You know who to call; I strongly suggest you do. Please send a copy of this e-mail to every gun owner you know to help STOP this bill!!"

It's always a good idea to check these kinds of emails out before you send them on or post them someplace.