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Sunday, January 29, 2012

License Plate Reader

We have a couple of license plate readers (LPR) in service that increase our effectiveness on the street.  Small cameras are mounted on the squad car that read passing license plates and runs them for stolen cars, warrants and involvement in crimes.  We plan on expanding the number of LPR's this year.  I read a bulletin from last night that mentioned an officer was patrolling when his LPR alerted him to a passing stolen car.  The officer pulled over the car and discovered the suspect had also committed at least one burglary. 

It is through tools like LPR that police are more efficient and effective than ever before.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Open House!!

Public Safety Building
Open House

        Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Public Safety Building
2030 North Arlington Avenue

This event is open to the public.  The Public Safety Building houses the St. Louis County Sheriff Offices, 911 Communications, and is the new headquarters for the Duluth Police Department.  Please join us for a tour!   I hope to see you there.....

Monday, January 23, 2012

More accidents

Today we had another dusting of snow and squads were busy helping folks all morning.  One officer and others involved barely escaped injury when a car skidded into a parked car and the squad.  Here is the press release and pictures.

This could have been much worse than a totalled squad car.  Please remember to slow down when you see our staff and squads on the roadways!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Advice (from those who have been around)

I caught the end of a radio news story that talked about a study on what advice elderly have for the younger generation.   I found an article on the study in the New York Times.  It is an interesting read that reminds me of the importance of keeping life in perspective...

Here was an excerpt that was my favorite.

ON HAPPINESS Almost to a person, the elders viewed happiness as a choice, not the result of how life treats you.
A 75-year-old man said, “You are not responsible for all the things that happen to you, but you are completely in control of your attitude and your reactions to them.” An 84-year-old said, “Adopt a policy of being joyful.”
The 90-year-old daughter of divorced parents who had lived a hardscrabble life said, “I learned to be grateful for what I have, and no longer bemoan what I don’t have or can’t do.”

Even if their lives were nine decades long, the elders saw life as too short to waste on pessimism, boredom and disillusionment.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Neighborhood Crime

Last year we saw an uptick in residential and vehicle burglaries.  Our goal is to prevent them before they happen.  One way to stay aware of what crime is occurring in your neighborhood is to check out our on-line crime mapping feature.  Click here for a link to see more about how it works.

This is the link to crime that have occurred recently in Duluth.  It is a great site.  You can zoom in and zoom out, click on crimes to find out more information as well as sign up to receive email alerts to notify you of crimes in your neighborhood.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Staff

We welcomed our new staff yesterday during a ceremony at the DECC.
It is always interesting to meet their families and talk with them about their loved one's future in our department.  The 14 recruits are finishing up their 12 week academy and will begin their field training soon.  After four months of field training they will be working solo preventing and solving crime. 

Mark Stodghill with the News Tribune wrote a nice article on the new staff.

 I also pasted it below...

Chase Landingin didn’t have a badge pinned on his chest with the 14 new Duluth police officers sworn in Thursday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, but he has the satisfaction of knowing he’s assuming an important role in the Police Department.

Landingin, 26, who was born and raised in San Diego, moved to Duluth earlier this month to fill one of three criminal intelligence analyst positions in the Police Department. It’s a civilian position.

His job will be to study crime and crime patterns and profile suspects by analyzing crime data to forecast times and locations the next crime will be attempted. For example, do certain crimes take place at specific times in certain neighborhoods? Can suspects, based on their record or address, be connected to certain crimes? Are there criminal connections between suspects? With that information, police can decide how best to allocate resources and station officers.

“I’m very motivated,” Landingin said. “I accept any kind of a challenge, no matter how hard or how easy it is. I’ll just take it head on and I’m very open-minded.”

Langingin has a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of California-Irvine and criminal analyst certification from the University of California-Riverside.

“He’s a very positive young man,’’ said Lt. Steve Stracek, supervisor of the Duluth police Organized Crime Bureau. “He’s quiet and soft-spoken, but he’s got some grit. He’s got some ambition. We like him and we’ve got a lot of expectations that he’ll do well.”

Stracek said about 20 people from around the country applied for the position.
“Right now our criminal intelligence analysts are taking phone records and linking this drug dealer with that drug dealer,” Stracek said. “They help us establish associations, past criminal histories and participation in gang activities in other jurisdictions before they came here. They are able to link phone numbers with specific targets. We’re also looking at neighborhood crime trends and citywide crime trends.

The criminal intelligence analysts bring calls of services, known offenders, crimes of violence to our attention and we can spread the intelligence around to the troops.”

Before introducing Landingin, Duluth police Chief Gordon Ramsay told the new officers and their families that this is a city that supports its police as evidenced by the soon-to-be-completed new police headquarters on Arlington Road, and by the fact that the department has been able to hire 18 new officers in the past year to reach its authorized force of 152.

Ramsay also told the newest rookie class that they shouldn’t do anything to tarnish the good reputation that their co-workers have established in the community.

The new officers include Kalika Pukema, whose father, Dick, is a retired Superior police officer and former Douglas County sheriff. Her father pinned on her badge. The new officers chose parents, wives, fiancées and children to do the honors of pinning on their badges.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Shaun Floerke, who is the son of a retired Wisconsin deputy sheriff and the grandson of a former Wisconsin chief of police, swore in the new officers.

The 14 officers joining the force are:

  • Eli Anderson, grew up in Cherry. Has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. His grandfather spent 30 years in the St. Paul Police Department.

  • Morgan Cekalla, grew up in Little Falls, Minn. Has a bachelor’s degree from UMD and completed his law enforcement training at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, where he graduated with a 4.0 grade point average.

  • Ian Johnson, grew up in Prescott, Wis. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

  • Carla Josephson, grew up in Hermantown. Has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She has three years’ experience as a Pine County sheriff’s deputy.

  • Trevor Kaldor, grew up in Duluth. He completed the law enforcement program at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

  • Bob LeClaire, grew up in Lakeville, Minn. He has a bachelor’s degree

  • Brent Mathison, grew up in Duluth. He has a bachelor’s degree from UMD. His great-grandfather was a Minnesota State Patrol trooper.

  • Daniel Merseth, grew up in California. His father and uncle were police officers.

  • Kalika Pukema, grew up in Lakeside, Wis. She served 10 years with the Air National Guard and graduated with high honors from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

  • Robert Schmidt, grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minn. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Minnesota. He spent six years in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2007.

  • Todd Simmons, grew up in Minnesota, Iowa and Idaho, where he graduated from high school. He has 17 years of military police experience with the Army and was deployed five times to Iraq and Afghanistan. He spent six years as a deputy sheriff in Reno, Nev., before coming to Duluth.

  • Ashley Thurmes, grew up in Rosemount, Minn. She graduated summa cum laude from Minnesota State University-Mankato in 2011 with a degree in law enforcement. Her father, Curt, is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.

  • Zach Trieschmann, grew up in Two Harbors. He completed the law enforcement program at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

  • Larry Westerman, grew up in Grafton, W.Va. He attended the Community College of the Air Force/Marshall University, the West Virginia State Police Academy and the North Dakota Peace Officer Training Academy. He served as a security police officer in the Air Force and with the Kingwood, W.Va.; Fairmont, W.Va.; and Bismarck, N.D., police departments.
  • Monday, January 9, 2012

    New Officer Swearing In Ceremony

    On Thursday, January 12th, 2012 at the Duluth Police Department will host a ceremony for the swearing in of 14 new Officers and introduce other new employees.

    The event will be at the Lake Superior Ballroom City Side Convention Center(DECC) and is open to the public. Please contact Duluth Police Department Public Information Officer Jim Hansen (218) 390-2232 with any questions.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Bail Amounts

    There has been a debate on the philosophy behind bail amounts for years.  I like to see high bail on repeat offenders who been brought to jail.  First time offenders and those with full time employment should be given a break (for non-violent offenses of course).  In the 1990's I began watching bail amounts as the revolving door was the name of the game for our repeat offenders.  When I became chief we worked bringing to light some of the problems with low bail amounts.  I remember on a Friday in 2007 there was a shooting in West Duluth.  No one was hit, but it none the less was a shooting.  Neighbors were very upset as the suspect had been terrorizing them for months.  The suspect went to jail that night.  He was out on bail Monday.  My phone rang off the hook from neighbors calling angry the police were not doing anything.  Well, it wasn't the police.  It was a judge who set his bail at only $4,000.  He was able to bail on just $400.00. 

    While we have seen an increase in the bail amounts in Duluth over the last few years, I know there were folks in the criminal justice system who disagree with my thoughts on the role bail amounts play in crime prevention.  Bail amounts send a message to crooks.  They indicate how serious a community views crime and those who perpetrate them.  Many of us believe higher bail amounts for habitual offenders reduces crime.

    Here is an interesting story out of St. Louis on  bail amounts and shootings in  "Crime Report" that hopefully will spur more studies.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    I Was in Detox on New Years Eve

    When the ball dropped at midnight I was in detox.  I was there because after spending the first part of the evening with my family and friends I decided to go into work and help out on the street as uniform patrol.  Around 9:00 P.M. I booked on with dispatch as squad 46. Downtown cars are given the number six as their second call number.  This was my favorite place to work when I was on patrol.  Downtown is by far the busiest district in the City and the cops who work there are usually busy their entire shift.  Cops who choose to work downtown like it because of the busy pace.  Those who work there who don't like it are there because they are low on seniority.    

    New Years eve is usually busy with plenty of interesting calls.  The call that had me at detox at midnight came in as a drunk male in his early 20's who was jumping into people's cars.  He had no coat and was unable to talk coherently due to his drunkenness.  Some kind ladies who he tried to join in their car escorted him into a restaurant in Canal Park where I found him passed out on a bench.  When I awoke him he couldn't really talk and could hardly stand.  There was no other choice but to bring him to detox.

    Fights and domestics were the most common call of the night.  I was surprised there were not more crashes as the roads were fairly slippery.  While responding to a domestic fight I drove down Mesaba Avenue on onto south bound I-35.  I noticed a white Chrysler traveling along side of me-except they came down the north bound Mesaba exit and entered north bound I-35 heading south!  I could not believe they didn't hit another car.  I slowed and watched as the driver who was a cement barricade and five lanes over realized what they had done and proceeded to try and turn around going the right direction.  There was nothing I could do except notify dispatch and ask if there were any squads close that could hop on north bound I-35 and take some action.  In a matter of seconds the Chrysler turned around and headed north on Mesaba.  I don't know how they escaped a crash.

    My first incident of the night occurred after leaving headquarters.  I saw a Kia driving with out headlights on Fifth Avenue west.  I pulled the car over and found the driver to be an 18 year old male with an open bottle of Windsor on the floor.  He had a blood alcohol content of .07%.  The legal limit is .08%.  I tagged him for driving with out headlights, open bottle and underage drinking and driving. 

    Numerous fight calls, suicide calls, loud parties and domestics rounded out the night.  I was amazed at the number of people downtown enjoying New Years eve.  It was good to see.  I rolled into bed about 3:40 and drifted off to sleep thinking how much I miss real police work.