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Monday, July 30, 2012

Synthetic Drug Bill

The problems with synthetic drugs (and the associated laws) continue to evolve right before us.  We are grateful for the DEA's work in last week's search warrants at the Last Place.  We will continue to address the nuisances and crime in the area of Last Place as it has had a terribly detrimental impact on the economic vitality of an area that was really doing well-prior to synthetic drug sales. 

Governor Dayton signed a law into effect last week that tightens up the State law and will give us more leverage in addressing this horrible drug.

Monday, July 23, 2012

National NIght Out

I’d like to invite everyone to participate in the 29th Annual Nation Night Out celebration.  This year’s event is scheduled for Tuesday August 7, 2012.  National Night Out is designed to generate participation in crime prevention programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message back to criminals letting them know that their neighborhood is organized and watching out for one another. 

Neighborhood groups or individuals interested in holding an event that evening should call The 29th Annual National Night Out is taking place on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 in the city of Duluth and around the country.  
Call (218) 722-7178 if you are interested in hosting an event.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bike Patrol

This week a City Councilor asked if we still had our bike patrols.  The question surprised me as we have more folks out on bikes than we ever have.  Today I received the following stats from Area Commander Eric Rish for our Downtown/Canal Park bike patrols since May 1.  Our Downtown cops are doing great work!
Miles traveled - 1066
# contacts - 1590
Custodial arrests - 40
Felony arrests - 5
# of citations - 152
# to detox - 29
Traffic stops on bike - 33

Monday, July 16, 2012

Heroin - Sad stories

This morning I reviewed five heroin overdose cases that occurred this weekend.  In one case, a young man overdosed while his mother and other family members present.  Fortunately, narcan was given to him by paramedics who were fairly close and he literally was brought back to life.  The whole story was pretty disheartening, but highlights the opiate epidemic in our country.  A lot of it seems to start with the prescription opiates obtained legally or illegally.  Here is a story out of Eugene, OR that highlights the issues.

Our drug unit has been working hard on the heroin and opiate problem and had a major case involving over 20 people last month.  Here's the link to that press release.

We are also working with other agencies to educate the public on the dangers of opiates use and addiction.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Emergency Vehicle Operations

I spent most of today at Duluth International practicing my driving skills in a squad car.  It was my turn to attend the once every three years, mandated training. Our police vehicles travel well over one million miles a year and Duluth PD's most common accident involves backing up and hitting something.  This information, along with the fact more officers are killed each year in driving deaths than any other manner determine the tyoe of training we receive.  Learning safe driving skills is priority number one.  Some of the training involved quick turn and stops, backing up, and high speed accident avoidance.

We used a long unused taxiway and a de-icing area for the exercises.  It was almost 20 years ago that I first experienced this training at the Milwaukee
County Sheriff's Department. 
Back then we used the parking lot at the old County Stadium (which was demolished a couple of years later).  The cars and training has changed substantially.  Anti-lock brakes were not in our vocabulary and 10 and 2 where the hand positions.  Now, due to air bags and improvements in the training we are trained to keep the ands at 4 and 8.  We are now taught to use shuffling of the hands on the wheel at higher speed turns, instead of my early instructors yelling to "snap" the wheel which would sometimes send the car spinning out of control.  The 1989 Chev Caprices we were using had these huge cow catcher push bumpers that extended a good few inches beyond the width of the car.

I couldn't find a picture of the cars we were using, but this push bumper was similar to what they had at the time.  They looked ominous, but were great for pushing freeway wrecks out of the way in a hurry.  It was the closest you could get to having a front end loader as a squad.

So that was my day...I don't need to be thrown around side to side in a car for a while and look forward to a slow and calm car ride for a bit.
Oh yeah, one of the other differences between today and when I was in recruit school almost 20 years ago; I didn't get yelled at today.....

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tipping Point?

I've mentioned my concern before that Duluth is close to reaching the unhealthy tipping point for half way houses, group homes, treatment centers, etc. These housing units put additional pressure on our EMS, fire and police.  More importantly they have an impact on our neighborhoods, especially when they are poorly managed.

I understand the need for supportive housing units, however the high density of this type of housing in Duluth seems out of line with similar cities in the mid-west .  Since we are the largest metro area for many miles, have excellent public transportation, housing and are the hub of social services, we are the natural fit for supportive housing units.  That said, the time is here for us to seriously study where the tipping point is for us to maintain healthy neighborhoods and business districts. 

Here is a link to the latest proposed supportive housing unit.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Time Shortage

Whao, I discovered that trying to update this in the summer time is a little more difficult than in the winter and spring.  Throw in a natural disater like we had and it is impossible.  Now that the police department has returned to "normal operations" a few of us are catching our breath.  I will remember the last few weeks the rest of my life. 

Having grown up and worked here most of my life, I cannot believe all of what I witnessed.  Many streets looked like a bomb was dropped on them.  I am amazed and grateful we had no loss of life. While life has returned to normal for most of us, I heard in our morning briefing today we still have some houses with raw sewage in the basement.  You can imagine what two weeks of sewage in your basement will do in this heat?  Plans are being made to help those folks out and our hearts go out to them. 

In non-related flood news I want to congratualte Lieutenant Scott Drewlo for his recent appointment as police chief at UMD.  There is no doubt our already good relatinship with UMD will only strengthen. Way to go Scott!

I also want to congratulate West Area Commander Leigh Wright for making it to the top of St. Cloud's search for police chief.  While she was not chosen, it shows the caliber of person she is.

Both of these individuals are tremendous members of this department and no doubt will continue to be great leaders in policing and our organizations.  I value their ambition and admire them for their efforts.