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Monday, May 28, 2012

Share the Road

As part of Bike Month  the Duluth Police Department is announcing plans for an event free and open to the public being held at the Public Safety Building, 2030 North Arlington Avenue.  On Sunday, July 1st 2012 from 10:00AM until 2:00PM  Duluth Police Neighborhood Officers will be hosting a “Share the Road” event which will include a bike safety course and a training to educate drivers and bicyclists on safe riding and bicycle laws. Twin Ports Cyclery has volunteered to do bike inspections before participants can ride the bike safety course. 
The law is clear. Bicyclists and motorists share responsibility. Eight “rules of the road” to improve bicycle safety are:
  • Bicyclists may ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted — such as interstates.
  • Bicyclists should ride on the road, and must ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Motorists must at all times maintain a three-foot clearance when passing a bicyclist.
  • Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.
  • Motorists and bicyclists must yield the right of way to each other.
  • Bicyclists must signal their turns and should ride in a predictable manner.
  • Bicyclists must use a headlight and rear reflectors when it’s dark.
  • Bicyclists should always wear helmets and bright reflective gear
To learn more about bicycle safety in Minnesota, visit  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another oops?

I had blogged a while back about the Berkley, CA chief who sent an officer to the home of a reporter late in the night when the chief had a concern about a news article the reporter wrote. While I don't particularly want to highlight a colleague's troubles, I do find these two incidents particularly interesting.  The Berkley chief is involved in a controversy again-this time regarding the department's involvement in the investigation of the chief's son's stolen i-phone.  There were about ten investigators involved in the search for the i-phone and some folks are raising concerns that the resources expended on the phone search was over the top and preferential.  Here is a link to the article.

 I am interested in your thoughts.  Do you think the chief should face any scrutiny or discipline over these acts?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seeing an increase overdoses

We have seen an increase in heroin overdoses and a couple of deaths in recent months.  This is not unique to our area.  At the chiefs meeting I was at last week, opiat based drugs (heroin and various prescription drugs) are causing problems in just about every corner of the country.  And remember, along with the drugs comes property crimes and other problems.
white powder heroin
Below is a sergeant's command notification on another OD from last night.  While we know synthetics have caused a marked increase in emergency room visits, this would be the first synthetic OD that was saved with Narcon that I am aware of.  Of course the woman probably is not being forthcoming with what she was using.  Just to follow-up we will be running this by experts in this area whether or not a synthetic could have the same chemical effect as opiats. 
poppy flower
What ever the drug, synthetics, herion, etc. they are taking lives.  This lady is lucky to be here today.  Identifying info was cut from the notification below.
Command Notification

ICR: 12-089097 Date: 05/19/2012 Time: 2124
Location: 28th Ave W/ 3rd St
Subject: OD death with Narcon resurrection
Narrative/Description: Squads dispatched with Gold Cross and Duluth Fire to a pickup truck parked near 28th Ave. W and 3rd St on the report of an overdose. Info from the RP XXXX  00/00/1968 is that he is driving in the vehicle with his girlfriend XXXX   00/00/1991 when she stops breathing, codes and pretty much dies. GCA arrives on scene and has to breathe for her for a while and ends up giving her Narcon. She comes out of it and ends being transported to St. Lukes Hospital. Squads talk to XXXXX who states that he knows girlfriend to "snort powder" and she uses synthetic marijuana. Squads respond to the hospital to speak with XXXX who states that she was using synthetic marijuana this evening and appeared to be fine now.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Back in the Saddle

I just returned home from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)  Mid-Size Cities Section conference in Washington D.C. (all  costs were paid for by the IACP).  I have been a Deputy Chair of this group for a couple of years now and find my involvement to be extremely beneficial.  The chiefs who partake in this section are very engaged, active and innovative and come from a wide variety of cities and departments throughout the country.

I listened to a lot of innovative ideas and programs that other chiefs have intitiated.  Chiefs also shared problems and issues that are effecting their cities and departments.  We prioritized the current problems chiefs are facing and they landed in this order; budget cuts, recruiting issues, dealing with an increasing population with mental health issues and lastly, increasing prescription drug and heroin issues (opiates).

I was also able to spend a little time with Flint, Michigan Public Safety Director Alvern Lock.  He is currently managing the Flint police and fire department and has faced unprecedented budget cuts.  Flint's population has dropped to about 110,000 and the police department has been cut to about120 total officers (we have 152).  Additionally, Flint has between 55-65 homicides a year!  That is more than Minneapolis with about 700 officers.  It was fascinating to hear how they address crime given their incredibly low staffing.

There were many other really interesting police chiefs I was able to spend time with as well.  In looking at how things are here in Duluth compared to other cities, I came back feeling we are on the right track and are doing pretty good when it comes to our prevention efforts, community support, caliber of staff and the crime rate.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Night Shift

I spent some time on the street last night.  Every time I work patrol I realize how much I miss it.  I look at things through a different lense now.  Like most adrenaline junky cops I always loved the major calls, like fights, robberies etc. However, I now would much prefer to not have those calls as it means crime and disorder-something our folks are working hard to prevent.  

Anyhow, the five hours I spent out were well worth it.  A chance to connect with some folks I never get to see and an opportunity to see how things are  looking well after dark.  Shift A was visible and very proactive in their efforts.   And for me it was reassuring to be assigned a dog barking call instead of a robbery or fight at midnight.  Things are good on the night shift....

Monday, May 7, 2012

Now Hiring

It's that time again.  We opened up our hiring process last week and are anticipating hiring about five or six new officers.  This is after hiring 18 new officers last year.  Starting pay for officers without police experience will be in the low $40's and those with experience mid $50's.  The police union has negotiated many add on's that don't show in the base pay and most of our officers who have been around a few years are all making in the $60's without any overtime. 

The process begins with an application period. Eligible applicants are then given a written test on June 9.   Those who do well on the test then go on to an oral interview with department and community members.  Candidates who do well in the interview proceed to a thorough background interview, more interviews followed by in-depth psychological and medical testing.  If the candidate survives that process, they will receive a job offer and then six to seven months of training.

We've had close to 400 applicants the last couple of years for each test. 

My sincere thank you to Mayor Ness and our City Council for their continued support of our department.

Here is the link to the job posting.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cold Case Story

Dan Hanger from Fox 21 did a nice job this week on covering our efforts to solve a homicide from 30 years ago.  Here's the link.  The video portion is at the bottom of the page.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Surprise suprise

 I read the article below and was not surprised to see marijuana use is up among teens. One in 10 kids are lighting up at least 20 times a month! With all the legalization and medical marijuana efforts of course more kids are likely to use it.  We are hearing kids say there can't be any negative effects if it is used for medicinal purposes.  Yeah, right. 


Having dealt with real world problems as a cop for almost 20 years, I can tell you kids and adults who use this stuff 20 plus times a month have problems.  I have been involved with many, many families who have watched their dope smoking loved ones unable to hold a job, fail school, become withdrawn, unmotivated  and depressed using this stuff.  As the THC content in marijuana has become stronger and stronger we see addiction and psychosis more and more often with the use of the drug.....I see it first hand. 



Wednesday, May 02, 2012 10:16
Teen Pot Use Up in Latest Survey, Prescription Drug Abuse Easing

More teens are smoking dope, with nearly 1 in 10 lighting up at least 20 or more times a month, says a new survey of young people reported by the Associated Press. The report by The Partnership at said abuse of prescription medicine may be easing a bit among young people in grades 9 through 12, but still remains high. Partnership President Steve Pasierb says the mindset among parents is that it's just a little weed or a few pills — no biggie. "Parents are talking about cocaine and heroin, things that scare them," said Pasierb. "Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana. They can't wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this behavior is unhealthy."
Use of harder drugs — cocaine and methamphetamine — has stabilized, the survey showed. Past-month usage of marijuana grew from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent last year. Also alarming, says Pasierb, is the percentage of teens smoking pot 20 or more times a month. That rate went from 5 percent in 2008 to 9 percent last year, or about 1.5 million teens toking up that frequently. The marijuana findings track closely with those in a recent University of Michigan study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. That study also found marijuana use rising among teens the past few years, reversing a long decline in the previous decade.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Duluth Police Department
Recognition Ceremony
Wednesday, May 2nd,  2012
2030 North Arlington Avenue