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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Austin, Texas Police Chief "Move the Shelters out of Downtown."

Problems and increased crime in downtown Austin have caused the police chief to suggest homeless shelters be moved out of downtown.  Here is the story:

What are your thoughts?

Monday, September 17, 2012


We recently learned we have been awarded the 2012 Community Policing Award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). This award is given out annually and recognizes outstanding community policing initiatives by law enforcement agencies worldwide. 
Prosecution of sexual assault cases involving Native American women victims has a historically low prosecution rate. With that in mind, “Mending the Sacred Hoop” and the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual partnered with the Duluth Police Department and began a Safety and Accountability Audit; a collaborative process of examining the system's response to reported rapes of Native women.
 The Safely Audit identified the gaps between the experiences and needs of Native women who reported a sexual assault to the police and what the institution of law enforcement is organized to offer them as a result. This project was to be "victim centered" identifying whether a woman's safety is compromised or ways in which the offender can escape accountability. The gaps uncovered in the Safety Audit would forever change the Duluth Police and community based agencies' response to sexual assault. Because of the Audit, the ground work has been established to move forward as a department committed to "victim centered" responses, transparency with partner agencies, and honest and heartfelt critical evaluation of our responses to victims of sexual assault. Another outcome of the Audit is a sexual assault advocate is now embedded in the Sex Crimes Unit to ensure we are doing all we can to have a successful outcome in sexual assault investigations.
This ground breaking work has caught the attention of police departments throughout the country who want to improve their response to victims of sexual assault. Duluth Police Deputy Chief Mike Tusken will travel to San Diego where he will accept the award during the 119th Annual IACP Conference on October 1st. The trip is being paid for by the IACP.
Here is the IACP link for more information on this award:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Elementary Thought

I attended a mandatory parent meeting for my daughter's new kindergarten class last night.  After covering all of the basics they talked about a major character building focus for the year; being kind.  This seems to be a character trait that is of the utmost of importance, but seems to have been forgotten in today's world.  I left the school feeling good about the education my daughter will be receiving.

From Wikipedia
Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions (see ethics in religion).

Monday, September 10, 2012


Once or twice a month I sign off on commendations for staff.  These are often cases no one ever hears about.  After watching the video of this one, I was pretty impressed by the Clean and Safe Team member and our officers.  Because you could potentially identify the person who was trying to jump, we are prohibited from releasing it.  This is an example of the work our folks do everyday.....

Here is the shift commander's write up of the incident:

Squads responded to the Fon-du-Duluth Casino parking ramp on the report of a female attempting to jump off the top floor of the structure. Comments of the call stated a Clean and Safe Team member was currently holding on to the suicidal female to prevent her from jumping. Officers Neitzel and Hopps arrived quickly on the scene and assisted Pfuhl. The officers and Pfuhl grabbed the distressed female by the arms and legs and pulled her back over the ledge of the building to safety of the parking ramp.  The quick thinking and cooperation of these three individuals most certainly prevented a tragedy and saved the ladies’ life. The dramatic rescue was caught on videotape by a nearby witness.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Auto Theft Investigator and Stats

A resolution is heading to City Council next week to accept money from the State Department of Commerce for continued auto theft investigator funding.  We have received this funding for at least 8 years and it has helped us reduced auto thefts in our City.  Last year there were attempts by some legislators to take money from this dedicated fund to help reduce the State's deficit.  The concern many of us had with the raiding of this funding is that it comes from a dedicated surcharge on insurance premiums-strictly intended to cover auto theft investigation and prosecution.  Fortunately due to a united effort among law enforcement agencies and county prosecutors we were able to keep the surcharge going toward what it was meant for.  Here is a historical, year by year chart of our auto theft statistics going back to 1960.  The numbers may surprise you.