A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Officer Memorial

Officer Jeffery Alan Wroten, 44, of the Maryland State Division of Correction died of a gunshot wound while guarding an inmate.

Officer Wroten served his department for 4 years. He is survived by five children.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Officer Memorial

Detective John Piskator, 41, of the Key West, Florida Police Department died of a fatal heart attack while participating in physical fitness training on January 23rd.

Detective Piskator had served his agency for approximately 2 years. He is survived by his 12-year-old son.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Coleman Town Hall Meeting on Meth

I thought you may be interested in knowing that Senator Coleman has
organized a town hall meeting (via satellite) today regarding Meth.
Dakota County Attorney, Jim Backstrom will be speaking on a panel.

The details are below.

You can watch The Town Hall broadcast live from the Senate Dirksen building,
room 419 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. EST in webcast form at www.coleman.senate.gov

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Officer Memorial

Trooper Matthew Dewayne Myrick, 36, of the Texas Department of Public Safety - Texas Highway Patrol died in an automobile accident on Friday, January 20th.

Trooper Myrick had served his department for two years. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


What is CEPTED? It is "crime prevention through environmental design." A way of conducting business that gained acceptance in most of the civilized world in the late 1970's and early 1980's. It's a concept of designing and taking advantage of strategic thinking in constructing new buildings and homes and remodeling existing structures.

For example: planting trees and shrubs that allow for the observation of windows and access points but still provides an aesthetic presentation to a property; the avoidance of screening of public places such as parks and parking locations that does not allow public observation to prevent property damage and personal assaults.

The concept takes advantage of the public to help discourage criminal activity. The concept is extended further to what is called "target hardening." This technique is based on the principle that the longer and louder it takes to gain access to a location or the higher the chance of being discovered by a police officer or passerby, the less likely it will be that would-be thief or attacker will strike at that location. I would add the caveat; however, that locks and deterrence devices don't work when they aren't locked or activated.

The past few years have challenged those of us who subscribe to CEPTED with the trend moving toward historical preservation and the public's desire for more and more privacy, even in traditionally public space. The concerns about "light pollution" have also often run contrary to sufficient lighting to provide adequate deterrence to criminal activity.

It will be interesting to watch the next few years, internationally, as designers work to meet the needs and desires of the public while still working to deter crime and promote personal safety.

Our crime prevention officers use many of the CEPTED and target hardening tools when providing free security assessments of your home or business. Northfield residents may schedule an appointment with Officer Jody Spinner or call her at 507-645-4477. For owners of multi-unit dwellings, we offer the Crime-Free Multi-Housing Program. This program is designed for residences with multiple units.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Reaching a Higher Standard

Last week, I posted a short item about the training that was held in Northfield for area police supervisors and administrators. On Tuesday of this week, I traveled to Minneapolis to attend a training session hosted by the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute. The topic of this training was entitled "Innovations in Police Accountability." The session was geared for senior law enforcement officials. There were representatives from several states and well over 100 people in attendance. Given the road conditions, it was a remarkable showing.

I thought you might be interested in the speakers and their backgrounds:

David Harris, Balk Professor of Law, University of Toledo Law School
Chief Robert W. McNeilly, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police
Chief John M. Douglass, Overland Park Police Department
Samuel Walker, Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Omaha
Chief Luis Velez, Colorado Springs Police Department
Steve Wing, Office of Independent Police Auditor, City of San Jose, California.

The topics centered on measuring the levels of activity in a community and measuring police response while measuring officer and first line supervisor accountability. The speakers were all intimately involved in innovative new programs and provided a good foundation for new ways of doing business to better meet the needs of our community.

It was a full day but one well worth the travel and time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Officer Memorial

Deputy Cory Allen Ricks, 33, of the Seward County, Kansas Sheriff's Office was killed on January 16th as a result of an automobile accident.

Deputy Ricks is survived by his wife, son, daughter, four sisters, and parents.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Officer Memorial

Special Agent Greg R. Boss, 36, of the US Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, was killed in an vehicle accident in Arapahoe County, Colorado.

Agent Boss had served his department for 2 years. He is survived by his parents, two brothers and his girlfriend.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Officer Memorial

Senior Corrections Officer Wayne Clark, 62, of the New Jersey Department of Corrections was killed in an automobile accident on January 10th.

Officer Clark served his department for 23 years. He is survived by his girlfriend, two sons, two daughters, and two sisters.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Ideas and New Paradigms

A substantial undertaking started today at St. Olaf College here in Northfield. Law enforcement administrators and supervisors from Faribault, Owatonna, Rice County Sheriff's Office and Northfield Police Departments assembled on the campus today to begin a three day training session.

This is a substantial event. Putting the key people together for two counties as well as the public safety officers from St. Olaf spells good news for residents. It means the cops are talking....and not just the cops, but the supervisors and administrators who help develop the strategies to combat crime in your communities. When we all get together the communities and counties win and the crooks lose. The more we communicate, the better we work together. The more we train together, the better we innovate and collaborate. It also means that our officers and support staff are so good as to pick up the slack while we are out of the office.

Local talent and nationally recognized criminal justice experts will be presenting the next few days. Hopefully the experience will energize and the synergy created between the law enforcers will carry back to their respective departments. This is one "bug" that would be worth catching!

The event came out of a conversation that Rice County Sheriff Dick Cook, Faribault Police Chief Mike Lewis and myself held several months ago. It wouldn't be happening today without the excellent help of CSOs Kris Wilson and Josh Malecha. They worked on the logistics: getting materials copies and compiled; delivered to the location and generally just taking care of business.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Officer Memorial

Officer Richard May, 39, of the East Palo Alto, CA, Police Department died on Saturday, January 7th of a gunshot wound when he was shot while responding to a disturbance call.

Officer May had served several departments for a total of 11 years and 6 months. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Officer Memorial

Deputy Sheriff Ethan Collins, of the Fairfield County, Ohio Sheriff's Office died in an automobile accident while responding to an officer needing assistance call on January 4th.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Surprise Visitor

We had a surprise visitor strolling down our street on New Year's Day.

A llama that resides down the road from us decided to take advantage of the new year to stroll through the neighborhood. I suspect for a couple of the newer residents in the area, it was a bit of a surprise to drive home and find the "guest" strolling through their yard.

Word from the dispatch center was the llama was eventually convinced to return home.

Officer Memorial

Patrol Officer James Knapp, 50, of the Cook County Sheriff's Department, Illinois, was killed on Wednesday, January 4th after he was involved in a vehicle accident.

Officer Knapp had served his agency for 16 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Officer Memorial

Trooper Billy Jack Zachary, 32, of the Texas Department of Public Safety was killed when a vehicle struck him while he made a traffic stop.

Trooper Zachary had served his department for just over one year. He is survived by his wife and 3-month-old daughter.

Officer Memorial

Lieutenant Michael Walker, 47, of the California Highway Patrol was killed when hewas struck by a vehicle while at the scene of an earlier accident on December 31st.

Lietuenant Walker is survived by his wife and two daughters. Lieutenant Walker had served his agency for 24 years.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Officer Memorial

Deputy Sheriff Lester Dewayne Tatum, 42, of the Trinity County, Texas Sheriff's Department was killed on Wednesday, December 28th as the result of a vehicle crash. Deputy Tatum was responding to a burglary in progress call at the time of the accident.

Deputy Tatum was the K-9 Officer for his department. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, parents and two grandchildren.