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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Nine new officers finished the academy last week and began their field training this week.  Eight of the nine have at least a bachelor's degree and they all come with interesting and diverse backgrounds.  Here is a little about each one..

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Tyler Bodin grew up in Carlton. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from UMD where he studied Criminology and graduated with a 3.7 GPA. He completed his law enforcement portion at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in 2013. Tyler was a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Carlton for 4 years. He is the first in his family to work in law enforcement. Tyler chose to become a police officer because of his passion for helping others. In his free time he enjoys fishing, hunting, and being outdoors. Tyler would like to thank his Uncle Scott, Aunt Laura, and his girlfriend, Brittany as well as his entire family and friends for their support.    
Sean Fraser grew up in Frazee, MN.  He completed his law enforcement training in Alexandria.  He worked as  a patrol officer for Hibbing Police Department for 6 ½ years prior to being hired with Duluth.  He is the first in his family to work in law enforcement.  He enjoys spending time with his wife Lindsey, his sprainger spaniel Ruger, his family and his friends.  Sean enjoys hunting, fishing, and snowmobiling.  He would like to thank his parents, family and friends for their continued support of his carreer.  

Dan Kerfeld grew up in Duluth.  He graduated from UMD where he studied criminology and psychology. He completed his law enforcement portion at Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College in 2010.  He has been involved with the Duluth Police Reserves for the last 4 years.  He is excited for the opportunity to work for the city of Duluth.  Dan enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing with his dogs and being outside.  He would like to thank his wife, parents, family and friends for all their support. 

Pat McCormick was raised in Faribault. Pat knew as a young boy that he wanted to do one of three things when he grew up. Join the military, become a police officer, or become a firefighter. Following graduation from high school Pat enlisted into the Marine Corps and served four and a half years.  He was deployed to Iraq 3 times from 2004-2008 and was awarded the purple heart after being injured by shrapnel.  He then attended school for firefighting and became a wild land firefighter. Discovering firefighting wasn’t for him he went back to school for law enforcement. He attended Mankato State University where he received his bachelors in law enforcement. He completed his skills program through Hibbing Community College the summer of 2013.  Pat enjoys camping, shooting, hunting, fishing, and pretty much any other outdoors activity. He would like to thank everyone who has come to support him today, his parents, family, friends, teachers, and mentors all of which have helped him to be standing up here today. He would also like everyone to know that he is soon to be an uncle!  

Jacob Moldenhauer grew up in Houston, MN. He attended Winona State University where he studied Law Enforcement and graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree. He completed his skills portion at Rochester Community Technical College in 2013. Jacob worked for the State Prison in Faribault, MN for a year and a half prior to being hired by Duluth. He is the first in his family to work in law enforcement. Jacob enjoys running with his dog Dallas, mountain biking, and hanging out with family and friends. He would like to thank his father Steve, mother Arlene, and his brother Ryan for all their support.

Mike Renier grew up in Duluth. He went to Duluth East high school where he played hockey for the Greyhounds. He attended UMD where he studied criminology and sociology and completed his bachelor’s degree. He also completed his associate’s degree in law enforcement at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in 2012. Mike continues to play hockey as much as possible and coaches for the Duluth East JV and varsity teams. He loves the Duluth area and is excited to be working for the community he grew up in. Mike’s dad, Dean, was a police officer for Duluth PD for many years and that’s how his interest in law enforcement was found.  Mike would like to thank his father Dean, mother Amy, brother Luke, and his friends for their support.

 Nick Stauber grew up in Duluth.  He attended the College of St. Scholastica where he studied history, graduating summa cum laude with a 3.95 GPA.   He went back to school at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in 2011 for his degree in law enforcement, and graduated with a 4.0 GPA.  Nick had an interest in law enforcement from an early age, and after riding along with several Duluth officers and seeing first hand the importance of professional police work in a community, decided to make that interest into a career.  Nick enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and spending time with family and friends.  He would like to thank his father Rick, his mother Belinda, his stepfather Todd, and retired Sergeant Dave Greeman. 

 Dan Thorstensen grew up in Hermantown.  He studied law enforcement at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and graduated in 2008, and went on to study criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin Superior and graduated in 2013.  Since he was very young, Dan has been impressed and intrigued by the field of law enforcement and he is the first in his family to become a Police Officer.  Dan loves the Duluth area because of the many year-round outdoor activities that are available, especially fishing and hiking.  Dan would like to thank his parents James and Debra along with his sisters and extended family for their support and encouragement. 

Jeff Webster grew up in Maple Grove, MN. He attended UMD where he studied criminology and geographical information systems. He completed his law enforcement portion at Alexandria Tribal and Community College in the summer of 2013. His passion for law enforcement came to him when he was a kid but decided he would make it his career at the end of his senior year in high school. In the fall of his senior year at UMD, Jeff became an intern with Duluth Police and that is when he realized that he wanted to pursue a career with this department.  He enjoys mountain biking, watersports, snowmobiling and traveling with friends and family. He would like to thank his parents Mike and Kathy as well as his sister Abby and many other friends and family for their continued support throughout his journey.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Update


2013 ended on a busy note as we are finishing up year-end reporting and updating our policy manual.   I also was able to throw in a couple of night shift patrols and enjoyed getting out on the street as much as I ever have.  It is always reassuring to me to watch how our officers handle themselves on the calls they respond to.

I went on many calls where I watched officers display incredible patience and compassion to individuals who’d worn out their welcome with everyone else.  Officers managed to resolve tough, tense situations throughout the night by talking to those involved and resolving problems without using any force.  There was one incident in particular where a fight had taken place with many intoxicated people requiring one of them to be checked at the emergency room as he had been hit in the head with a blunt object.  The officer who drove him to the hospital had requested assistance as the man had become very agitated and was refusing to get out of the squad car at the hospital.  When I arrived there were already three officers there and they were using their verbal skills to deescalate the situation.   Once again, I was amazed at the patience and kindness displayed by the officers as they were being verbally threatened and called every name in the book.  

When we are in the final interview with police officer candidates, I always ask myself, “would I want this person to show up at a time of need for me, family member or friend?”  I can confidently say every officer I recently worked with fits that bill.

Lastly, I wanted to share my vision for Duluth P.D. in 2014 which is for successful crime prevention and reduction while increasing citizens' sense of safety through greater visibility and good relations.   

My best to you in 2014!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Medical MJ

The medical marijuana dispensaries in some parts of the country are very similar to what we had with Last Place. We don't need to go through that again.

Our society does not need more legalized drugs; prescription or otherwise....



Well done Duluth News Tribune
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print article Print     e-mail article E-mail Published January 19, 2014, 12:00 AM

Our view: Medical marijuana measure not yet right for Minnesota



Conversing with colleagues from California, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay laid out the troubles Duluth has had with the Last Place on Earth: the long lines intimidating others and crowding them off the public sidewalk, the sometimes-dangerous criminal activity, the bizarre behavior of those clearly stoned, and worse. Plus, there was that expensive, takes-officers-away-from-other-troubles need for constant police presence.
“Oh,” the California cops invariably would interrupt, as Ramsay recalled during an interview last week with the News Tribune editorial board. “You sound like you’re talking about our dispensaries.”
As in California’s marijuana dispensaries. As in the storefronts where medical marijuana can be legally sold — and then illegally resold outside or stolen or worse among the crowds that gather and hang out, a la Last Place on Earth.
Not wanting a return to such troubles, among other good reasons, Ramsay stands with people both inside and outside of law enforcement who oppose any suggestion Minnesota legalize marijuana for medical use.
State Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, introduced legislation last session to do just that. It didn’t go far. She said she’ll introduce it again when the Legislature reconvenes in late February. But the bill isn’t ready for passage and can be rejected once again by fellow lawmakers.
As well-intentioned as Melin and her measure may be, and as heart-tugging as the stories of people who could be helped by medical marijuana are, what she’s proposing simply
doesn’t address the larger concerns raised by Ramsay and others.
“My experience is, I’m not protected by a bubble. I live in the real world. I’ve seen the devastation that marijuana use can cause families and children,” Ramsay said. “I don’t believe in it. I think it’s a bad thing. … I’ve had a family member who was addicted to it and was hallucinating and had psychosis where he had no clue what was going on. He couldn’t work (and) couldn’t even really function.”
In California, Colorado and other states, legalizing marijuana for medical use was just a first step toward its total legalization, including for recreational use. Ramsay and other experts who we ought to be listening to — including the Minnesota Law Enforcement Coalition, which represents the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, the Minnesota Sheriffs Association, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association — warn against starting Minnesota down that same problem-riddled path.
“The legalization movement, they start with medical marijuana and they’ll find these very touching stories on how marijuana changed someone’s life. I saw one going around that involved a young kid and seizures,” Ramsay said. “But look at some of the statistics.”
Marijuana is the most widely abused controlled substance in our state and nation with nearly a third of Minnesota 12th graders using it in the past year, the Minnesota Law Enforcement Association reported in 2009. Users do worse in school and at work and more often get into traffic accidents, studies have confirmed.
Further, about 9 percent, or about 1 in 11, of those who use marijuana becomes addicted, a National Institutes of Health study found, debunking the myth that you can’t get hooked on weed. The rate increases to 17 percent, or about 1 in 6, if marijuana use starts during teen years. The addiction rate skyrockets to 25 percent to 50 percent among daily users of dope.
In Colorado, between 2006, when marijuana was first legalized for medical use, and 2011, traffic fatalities involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana increased a whopping 114 percent, according to a federal study released in August. In 2011, the same study found, 7.64 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. were considered current marijuana users while in Colorado the percentage was more than 40 percent higher at 10.72 percent. Among young adults ages 18 to 25, the percentage of current marijuana users was 45 percent higher in Colorado (18.7 percent nationally compared to 27.26 percent in Colorado).
Does Minnesota really want to follow the lead of Colorado, where recreational sales of marijuana became legal on Jan. 1?
“My hope is the pendulum will swing and this Colorado thing will turn out to be a disaster. And then, by the time it gets here, people will realize, yeah, this isn’t smart,” Ramsay said. “Drugs are a scourge on our society.”
Marijuana today is genetically engineered to be far more potent than in decades past. There are far more problems associated with its use as a result. We need to be far more careful.
At the same time, it’s difficult to deny there are elements in marijuana that can bring relief to those who are ill. If Melin’s measure defined such elements and made just them available, perhaps even in liquid or pill form, there’d be little for law enforcement and other opponents to object to.
But it doesn’t. Melin’s bill would legalize the sale of marijuana for smoking to anyone who can argue a medical need. In other states that has been as simple as complaining of back pain. Who could disprove back pain? Her bill would create dispensaries, about one per county, ushering in all their problems. And if someone didn’t live close to a dispensary, the new law would allow them to grow their own plants.
“I’ll take off my police chief hat and say, (as a taxpayer), I don’t want to be paying for anyone to grow marijuana or pay for anyone’s marijuana, period,” Ramsay said.
As sincere and well-meaning as it may be, Melin’s measure isn’t yet right for Minnesota.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bike Patrol

Staff sent me the bike patrol stats for 2013 today.  You will see miles traveled, patrol times and contacts are up significantly.  With the closing of Last Place on Earth in July the number of problems downtown dropped and officers were able to spend more time on the Lakewalk and in Canal Park putting on more miles and having more citizen contact.  I am very pleased with our bike officers and their effort to keep our City safe....
Photo by Duluth News Tribune
2013 Bike Patrol Statistics

 

 
2013
2012
Total Miles Patrolled
2273
1936
Total Hours Patrolling
1325
977
Citizen Contacts
6153
3800
Custodial Arrests
51
73
Felony Arrests
26
10
Citations
239
253
Total To Detox
42
59
Traffic Stops
35
43

Monday, January 13, 2014

Enter 2014


2013 ended on a busy note as we are finishing up year-end reporting and updating our policy manual.   I also was able to throw in a couple of night shift patrols and enjoy getting out on the street as much as I ever have.   It is always reassuring to me to watch how our officers handle themselves and the calls they respond to.  I went on many calls where I watched officers display incredible patience and compassion to individuals who had worn their welcome out with everyone else.  Officers managed to resolve tough, tense situations throughout the night by talking to those involved and resolving problems without using any force.  There was one incident in particular where a fight had taken place with many intoxicated people requiring one of them to be checked at the emergency room as he had been hit in the head with a blunt object.  The officer who drove him to the hospital had requested assistance as the man had become very agitated and was refusing to get out of the squad car at the hospital.  When I arrived there were already three officers there and they were using their verbal skills to deescalate the situation.   Once again, I was amazed at the patience and kindness displayed by the officers as they were being verbally threatened and called every name in the book.  

When we are in the final interview with police officer candidates, I always ask myself, “would I want this person to show up at a time of need for me, family member or friend?”  I can confidently say every officer I worked with recently fits that bill.