A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New Weblog for West Coast Chief

Caroline Lowe, who is with WCCO TV posted a weblog entry a couple days ago about Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton starting his own weblog. It appears that Chief Bratton is designing his weblog along similar lines used by Eden Prairie Chief Dan Carlson and myself. The posting talks about Bratton using the blog to enlist the help of the community in solving crimes, gaining new insights into the community and providing clarity when information may not always seem clear.

Sounds like a good idea. I'll be interested in watching the development of Chief Bratton's blog. I know that for the past two years I've enjoyed the opportunity to use this venue to provide information and hopefully show you a more detailed view of policing here in Northfield as well as a bit of my personal side. I had the opportunity to visit with Ms. Lowe while attending the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference last fall. Part of that conversation centered around the use of blogs by police chiefs. I'm glad to see Ms. Lowe had the opportunity to visit the topic.

With the use of the blog; however, comes the responsibility to provide fair and accurate information. Hopefully, as the popularity of the use of blogs increases in the law enforcement profession, so will the respect of the potential for positive change blogging can accomplish.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Observance In Northfield

Here is a view of some of the activities at the Memorial Day service at the newly dedicated Veterans Park here in Northfield.

I was an excellent service and it was nice to see so many people turn out to remember and honor those who have sacrificed to preserve our freedom.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

It was an old postcard stuffed in the back of one of my drawers in the bedroom. You know the kind of drawer I'm talking about...where all the stuff goes you don't know where else to put it? My mom gave me the card a few years ago. Part of that ritual your parents follow when they get along in years: coming to terms with their mortality and a better understanding of the civility of giving out items of value to their kids.

The front of the card was a view of Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. You can date the picture by the vintage 1950's vehicles parked in the parking lot. Actually, my dad sent me that while he was in South Dakota completing a hitch as an Air Force reserve officer. The card said he was outside a base near Rapid City, SD and that he was looking forward to seeing my mom, my sister and myself.

Surprisingly enough, I remember getting the postcard. I read the card while I was watching KOLN TV in Lincoln, Nebraska, watching a program called "Mr. Crystal Ball" - starring a guy named Wayne West who seemed to be the only guy working at the station at that time. Mom brought it home from the post office in Edgar, Nebraska where we lived. We usually didn't go get our mail because that's where my dad worked, so I usually associated mail with my dad getting home from work.

One of the cars in the picture looked like our 1955 Chevrolet. I was just sure that it was our car and somehow Dad had managed to have that picture taken. Why he was there was simply one those trips he took sometimes took to "work" for the Air Force.

I was born at a military hospital located on Selfridge Air Force Base near Mt. Clemens, Michigan. I remember bits and pieces of our time there and more so, seeing most men wear nothing but military uniforms. Most of my dad's buddies were former military associates. Dad ultimately continued his military work as an air traffic controller into his civilian career as a air traffic controller with the FAA.

My dad was a Korean War Veteran. His grave marker in Edgar displays a medallion and during Memorial Day Weekend, a flag.

Military service creates a different family culture. Those of you who have served or grew up in such a home know what I mean. My dad was a very patriotic man. He imparted a very clear set of values to me. Those values include duty, honor and integrity.

I don't often get to return to Nebraska to visit my dad's grave during Memorial day any more. I do celebrate his service and the sacrifices of those who came before him and after him.

I haven't had the opportunity to observe Memorial Day with my dad since I was 15. If you have a family member who has served, thank him or her for their willingness to protect freedom. If not, join the others and observe a Memorial Day service in your community.

This link provides a Tribute to those men and women who serve to protect our freedom.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Officer Memorial

Corporal Jason Makowski, 31, of the Dearborn Heights, MI, Police Department was shot and killed after responding to a call involving a man walking around with a gun and arguing with garbage workers on May 24th. He died on May 25th.

Corporal Makowski had served his department for 11 years. He is survived by his son.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Seneca Darden, 25, of the Norfolk, VA Police Department was accidentally shot and killed by another officer after responding to the scene of a shooting on May 21st.

Officer Seneca served his department for 4 years. He is survived by his wife and a 5-year-old daughter.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Anthony A. Byrd, 31, of the Baltimore City Police Department was killed on May 19th in an automobile accident.

Officer Byrd had served his department for 11 years and is survived by his wife and two young daughters.

Injured Officer Succumbs

A few postings back, I talked about officers who were ambushed by a person driving a hijacked vehicle. The second officer has died as a result of his injuries. CNN has a recent posting about the incident. Take a moment and read the article. It's a good reminder of what officers face when they go to work each day.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Officer Memorial

Master Police Officer Michael E. Garbarino, 53, of the Fairfax County, Virginia Police Department died of wounds suffered on Monday May 18th. He was injured when a suspect opened fire on him and other officers with an AK-47.

Officer Garbarino had served his agency for 23 years. He is survived by his wife, two children, parents and a brother.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Officer Memorial Remembrance

Despite the construction, we will hold our officer memorial remembrance at the Northfield Safety Center on this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. You can still gain access to the Safety Center by 5th Street from Water Street.

We would encourage you all to attend this opportunity to remember those officers who have been killed in the line of duty and to hold up those officers who work every day to protect our communities.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Officer Memorial

Sergeant Rodney Todd Miller, 40, of the Illinois State Police was killed in an automobile accident Friday, May 12th.

Sergeant Miller had served his agency for 16 years. He is survived by his wife, two sons, parents, and a sister.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Officer Memorial

Deputy Sheriff Bill Jones, 53, of the Roane County (Tennessee) Sheriff's Office was shot and killed along with his civilian rider by ambush by two brothers who held a grudge against the region's law enforcement agencies. The two men opened fire on Deputy Jones' car as he drove past a house belonging to the men's grandparents. One of the suspects was shot during the ambush and was arrested at a local hospital after seeking treatment. The other brother remains at large.

Deputy Jones had served the Roane County Sheriff's Office for only 9 months and had served in law enforcement for over 25 years.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Officer Memorial

Detective Vicky O. Armel, 40, of the Fairfax County, Virginia Police Department was shot and killed on May 8th as she and her partner pulled into a parking lot of the Sully District Station.

Detective Armel had served her department for 17 years. She is survived by her son, a daughter and her husband who also serves as an officer with the same department.

Police Officer Gary Skerski, 46, of the Philadelphia Police Department was shot and killed on May 8th while responding to an armed robber call.

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

Corporal Anthony Maurice Andrews
, 33, of the Saraland, Alabama Police Department suffered a fatal heart attack on April 7th while participating in a departmental fitness program.

Corporal Andrews had served his agency for 7 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Assistant Chief Deputy Keith Lyon, 42, of the Knox County, Tennessee Sheriff's Department was killed in an automobile accident on May 9th.

Chief Lyon had served his agency for 18 years. He is survived by his wife.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

We Feel Your Pain

I mentioned earlier this week that construction officially hit Northfield last Friday. Today, we watched our drive access to Fifth Street disappear....actually we watched Fifth Street disappear. Yesterday afternoon, a ruptured gas line shut the gas off to our building until about 3:45 p.m. today. I appreciated the quick response of the Xcel folks and our own city staff, Jeremy Klotz and Dave Nelson of the city Facilities Division who got stuff working again today and Sean Simonson with our city engineering staff who kept us informed of what was going on today. Other than the live-in firefighters taking cold showers last night and this morning, we maintained our operational readiness for an emergency.

Note, the area between the two orange barrels is our access drive. Unfortunately, the crane kind of liked that location for quite a while.

This picture faces northwest at what used to be the Highway 3 and 5th Street Intersection.

Here a worker is putting some dirt on the incline so fire vehicles and police emergency vehicles can get on Highway 3.

I don't think there will be any right turn traffic on 5th Street to go north on highway 3 any more for a while.

Eventually, all the pavement was removed off 5th street from the Highway 3 intersection to the 5th Street Bridge.

It's a mess and a challenge to navigate, but you can still reach the Safety Center on 5th Street from Water Street. Just follow the Barrels. If you need information or a copy of a report and don't want to venture into the maze, you can call us during the week (7 am to 7 pm) and we can get you out a copy of an accident report or other documents that are relatively compact. Feel free to give our office a call at 507-645-4477.

The bright side is the completed intersection will be much safer with left turn lanes and better bike and pedestrian access. As a regular user of that intersection as a pedestrian, the changes will be welcome and worth the challenges of our current construction situation. My only hope....please don't let it rain for a few days!

You can access Highway 3 updates through the MnDot website here. The link includes a map of the impacted areas, tips for businesses to weather the construction and a Power Point presentation for impacted businesses.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bird Flu or H5N1

ABC News is going to run a fictional story about the so called "Bird Flu" on May 9th. Please notice the emphasis on the word "fiction." More information and talking points from the department of health has been provided at this link.

You can also view the actual document of talking points from the Minnesota Department of Health here.

Preliminary discussions about "bird flu" concerns have been ongoing locally for over a year now. There are a number of public safety sessions that will be held in the next few weeks that will better inform local public safety and health officials of the measured concern and what can best be done to prevent and deal with any potential health issues.

Initially, some common sense approaches are good tools to use in any situation:

1) do not handle dead fowl or other dead wildlife
2) wear shoes/sandals/socks to avoid direct skin contact with animal feces, especially where wild flocks (geese, ducks, etc) may congregate.

We know that the department of health does not plan on testing every dead bird found. This is a similar approach taken during the anthrax threat a few years ago. Using disposal techniques (sealing in a plastic bag, cremation) help limit the spread of many diseases.

If you are traveling, especially abroad, be aware of any potential health threats or alerts before you leave. The U.S. Department of State posts such warnings and information, as does the U.S. Department of Health.

The Fox News Channel ran a information program last night hosted by former House Leader Newt Gingrich. They gave factual information but ran a fictional scenario based on information provided to them by "advisors."

It's good to stay current on this issues. It's good to have the facts and not fiction. As I receive credible information, I'll share it with you here. The potential threat of H5N1 should be taken seriously. The best weapon we have is credible information and common sense approaches to address the problem.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Road Construction

The road construction season has officially arrived in Northfield with the final stages of the Highway 3 reconstruction underway. This routes traffic trying to get to Highway 19 westbound now down 3rd Street around to 19. We've already started receiving concerns from residents in that area about speeders. We've received complaints from Highland Avenue folks about construction noise on Cedar Avenue and numerous concerns about congestion and traffic backup both on Highway 19 and Highway 3.

Planning and Patience seem to be the key words here.

Know that you need to allow more time to get through this construction area. Please be considerate of those who live in the neighborhoods by watching for pedestrians and bicyclists and slowing down.

Know that construction will start around 7:00 a.m. There will be noise, vibrations and other related distractions.

Finally, despite the signs, the Safety Center which is located at the epicenter of this year's construction is still open and accessable.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Gary J. Buro, 34, of the Chesterfield County, Virginia Police Department was shot and killed on May 4th when he and another officer responded to a domestic dispute.

Officer Buro had been with his department for 5 months. He had previously served with the New York City Police Department for 6 years and the Lantana, Florida Police Department for 5 years and served as a military police officer in the Marine Corps for 4 years. He is survived by his parents, brother, and a sister.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Mentor Lost

A friend of mine in Grand Island, Nebraska called me this evening to tell me a former boss of mine had lost his fight with cancer. The local paper, The Grand Island Independent, carried this story.

Larry Trosper wasn't used to losing a fight. He was an innovative police supervisor at a time when it wasn't always popular to be so. I had the privilege of working for him early on in my career. Larry spent a lot of his time as a Captain with the Grand Island Police Department supervising the graveyard shift.

I have him to thank for learning basic policing fundamentals. He taught me to pay attention to the little stuff so that bigger problems didn't develop.

Larry was an active man. He instilled a sense of sportsmanship to countless kids he worked with over the years as well as his own kids. It was common to drive by his home and find him out throwing a ball or spending time with his kids.

Larry was the kind of guy who always let you know where he stood. There was no ambiguity.

My condolences go out to his family. He was a good father, a great cop and gave more to the Grand Island community than most will ever know.

Officer Memorial

Trooper Eduardo Chavez, 30, of the Texas Department of Public Safety died on May 2nd as the result of an automobile accident while responding to backup another trooper who had requested emergency assistance.

Trooper Chavez had served his agency 3 years and served law enforcement for 7 years. He is survived by his expectant wife.

Sergeant Darryl Tsujimoto, 41, of the San Francisco, CA Police Department died from a heart attack while participating in canine training exercises.

Sergeant Tsujimoto had served his agency for 15 years. He is survived by his fiancee.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Spring Safety Fair

Officer Jody Spinner has worked with Northfield Hospital and others to provide this opportunity for Northfield Community Members to attend a Spring Safety Fair.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Law Enforcement Memorial Month

May in the month in which we recognize the sacrifices far too many law enforcement officers have made the past 200 years to keep our communities safe and secure.

During this month, we will list activities that will take place and some of the names of those officers who gave their lives to keep our families safe.