A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Officer Memorial

Patrolman Terry Michael Byrd, 26, of the Pascagoula, Mississippi Police Department was killed in a motorcycle accident on March 27th.

Patrolman Byrd had served is agency for 5.5 years. He is survived by his wife and child.

Security Policeman Erin S. Fraiser, 18, of the U S Air Force Security Police was killed in an automobile accident on March 13th.

Policeman Fraiser was killed in a car accident while patrolling Edwards Air Force Base. Her patrol vehicle overturned and she was partially ejected from the vehicle.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Interesting View

On my way back to Minnesota today (Tuesday), I noticed the cloud formation below. It was a bit of sunshine breaking through the late afternoon sky. It was a welcome sight since I'd spent the better part of the day driving through dreary and cloudy skies. It also gives me another opportunity to show some Midwest prairie beauty.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Officer Memorials

Deputy Sheriff James McGrane Jr., 38, of the Bernalillo County, New Mexico Sheriff's Department was shot and killed while making a traffic stop on March 22nd.

Deputy McGrane Jr. had served his agency for 2 1/2 years. He had a total of 10 1/2 years between the U S Postal Inspection Service and the New Mexico State Police. He is survived by his wife and parents.

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Whitehead, 36, of the Bibb County Sheriff's Department was shot and killed while he and other deputies were serving a warrant at a home on March 23rd.

Deputy Whitehead had served his department for 11 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Deputy Pierre Bain, 45, of the Los Angeles County, California Sheriff's Department died on March 23rd after he was involved in a motorcycle accident.

Deputy Bain had served his department for 14 years. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Sergeant Gerard Burke Jr., 39, of the Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia was killed in an automobile accident on March 23rd.

Sergeant Burke had served his agency for 16 years.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Audio Of Meth Panel and Pictures

Here is the MP3 Audio File of the Meth Panel from the Meth Conference in Northfield, MN on March 18th. It is about 53 minutes long. The initial audio is a bit weak but gets better about 5 minutes into it. I've also included a few photos of the event you can review as you listen to the audio.

Sergeant Rover Schroeder of the Northfield Police Department, Task Force Commander of the South Central Drug Investigations Unit, opens the Conference.

This is a photo of the cover of the manual participants received.

A picture of part of the audience at the general session

A number of Northfield Police, St. Olaf Staff and Members of the South Central Drug Investigations Unit Assisted with the event.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Listening To The Issues

I was invited to attend a leadership meeting by Senator Tom Neuville and Representative Ray Cox in Lonsdale this evening. The majority of those in attendance were elected and appointed city, township, county and school officials.

The discussion was broad and covered many issues. Funding, the explosive population growth in our area and the challenges it brings and the need for cooperative efforts were themes throughout the evening.

I find it very beneficial to attend meetings of this nature to get a broader view of the challenges faced by elected officials as they strive to meet the needs of their respective constituents. It's a tough job and I appreciate their efforts.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Officer Memorial

Senior Patrol Agent Nicholas D. (Nick) Greenig, 28, of the U S Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol, was killed in a vehicle accident in Pima County, Arizona.

Agent Greening had served his department for 4 years.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Meth Conference

Our meth conference was held earlier today. Feedback from those in attendance indicated it was worth their time. Thanks to Karen Mangold, Jeff Ringlien, Kris Wilson and Sergeant Roger Schroeder, Officers Jesse Cordova, Monte Nelson, Thad Monroe and Jody Spinner from Northfield PD for their assistance. Also thanks to St. Olaf College and the South Central Drug Investigations Unit, specifically Investigator Scott Hansen from the Steele County Sheriff's Office who assisted with the event as well. I'll be setting up an audio link soon so you may listen to the panel part of the presentation.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Snow Emergency

The City Of Northfield has issued a snow emergency. Vehicles cannot be parked on streets and there are restrictions on lots. Please check the city web page for restriction guidelines and the snow removal hotline. You can also access a copy of the notice for a snow emergency here.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Friend When I Needed One

I've mentioned several times about my experiences living in Edgar, Nebraska as a first grader. A recent conversation with my mom reminded me of one particular experience I'd like share with you.

As a six-year-old I met the daily challenges of most folks of my age: watchful first grade teachers, dogs who liked to chase bicycles and a watchful parent making sure I didn't get into too much mischief. Unfortunately, I encountered about the worse thing a young boy could encounter: at least I thought so at the time--a six year old girl who had designs on my spare time: for the rest of my life.

I went through a daily ritual after school each day. As I exited the school I heard that feminine voice that struck fear in my friends and myself (I'll avoid the name to avoid any latent embarrassment on everyone's part). The shout of my name set my legs in motion before my brain had hardly the chance to engage the relationship between my name being called and what the consequences would be if I got caught. You see this femme fatale had designs on my returning to her home after school to help with homework, enjoy some homemade cookies and watch television. That wouldn't be so bad except she had already decided we were going to get married. As you know any self-respecting 6 year old male is too busy worrying about baseball, bicycles with playing cards in the spokes to make it sound like a motorcycle and avoiding evening baths. The even thought of a constant female companion was more than my psyche could tolerate, so the race would be on.

For clarification, my parents were good friends with this young lady's parents making the whole situation even more challenging. I had been told numerous times to be polite and "act like a gentleman:" hard to do when you don't even know the definition of a "gentleman" yet.

Back to the race. My goal was to make the four blocks at a dead run, knowing that I would be exhausted by that time. My strategy? I knew there was a friend waiting there to rescue me. That friend happened to be my grandpa. My grandad had developed a new vocation after he retired: town observer and it didn't take him long to figure out my plight. Early on in the school year, I found him parked in front of the local diner sitting in his 1959 Chevy Impala, "just killing time."

If I made it to where he was parked, I would get a ride home and usually a snack to boot. I learned later that he looked forward to our visits and it's something that I can hold onto as a fond memory. Not only did he rescue me but he was able to keep a straight face as I described my fate of being pursued by my paramour.

I had the opportunity to visit with my grandad on my trip home. I'd also find him sitting in front of the tire store sipping soda and talking to his buddies about the general state of the world. The men are all gone now but I still remember their willingness to tolerate my youthful ignorance.

So what's this got to do with the state of things in Northfield? Consider what impact you could have on a young guy with his own dilemma. Unfortunately these days, things are more serious than a youthful attraction. Take the time to mentor a young man or young woman. The time you spend with them can and will make a difference.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Officer Memorial

Officer Matthew Melchionda, 31, of the Watchung, New Jersey Police Department was killed March 8th as the result of an automobile accident while following a suspicious vehicle.

Officer Melchionda had served his department for 6 years. He is survived by his wife.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Officer Memorial

New York State Trooper Andrew J. (AJ) Sperr, 33, was shot and killed on March 1st when he stopped a vehicle containing suspects who had just robbed a bank.

Trooper Sperr had been with his agency for 10 years. He is survived by his parents, five brothers, and five sisters.

Sergeant Jeremy Newchurch of the Assumption, Louisiana, Parish Sheriff's Office was shot and killed with a handgun on March 1st. He was working a drug investigation at the time.

Sergeant Newchurch had served his department for 8 years.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Meth Conference

The Northfield Police Department, St. Olaf College and the South Central Drug Investigations Unit are sponsoring a meth conference for the community on March 18th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at Buntrock Commons on the St. Olaf Campus. I've attached a copy of the flyer below.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

River Incident

Yesterday we had a report that someone had jumped into the river. Literally within minutes, volunteer and staff rescue personnel responded from Northfield Fire and Rescue, Faribault Fire and Rescue and the Dakota County Sheriff's Department Water/Dive rescue Team.

The river was less than hospitable as these individuals donned their gear and ventured out into the cold water and ice in the Cannon River. These folks stayed there hour after hour to make sure they covered all the areas of concern in the river. Here are a few pictures taken by Officer Craig Sammon and CSO Kris Wilson.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Caller ID??? Maybe

Over the past year, a growing problem has gained prominence. Websites that sell the ability to mask or display an incorrect caller ID on telephone calls have increased in number and ease of use.

An article today in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune does a good job of outlining the challenges of this type of activity.

Right now it's not illegal to mask or mislead a caller ID. It's actually a federal regulatory matter. Since the implementation of caller ID, the number of harassing and threatening calls have dropped dramatically. Don't give up on your caller ID boxes yet. Just be vigilant and don't assume that the name on the display is going to be who you acutally talk to.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Time to Remember

There was a conviction in the 1970 ambush slaying of St. Paul Police Officer James Sackett today. I've waited to post anything about this until after the trial was over. The jury convicted a person of the killing today, according to a story in the Minneapolis Star-Trubune. Sackett had just returned for his first shift back to work after having taken time off for the birth of his fourth child.

I won't mention the name of the person convicted by a jury today. The issue at hand is the sacrifice of an honorable man who gave his life to respond to what he thought was a pregnant woman who needed help. Instead, he became a target of a group of people trying to prove themselves to a radical organization who took pride in the indiscriminate killing of police officers.

The resolution of this case won't heal the hurt and pain experienced by Officer Sackett's family, friends or coworkers. The conviction does bring vindication in that the very system of justice that Officer Sackett took an oath to protect brought closure to this sad set of circumstances today.

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Joseph Corr, 30, of the New Hartford, NY Police Department was shot and killed on Monday February 27th after following a vehicle pursuit of four men who had just robbed a jewelry store.

Officer Corr had served his department for 6 years. He is survived by his wife, infant daughter, and parents.