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Friday, August 11, 2017

Focus on Changing the Culture—Addressing EMS Provider Stress and Mental Health

The Burnsville Fire Department is changing their
culture on responder stress and mental health.
That’s the title of a Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS)-sponsored webinar that features Burnsville’s Fire Chief BJ Jungmann and Assistant Fire Chief Brian Carlson. The presentation is more of a conversation, as the chiefs talk about the lessons learned after Chief Carlson began to struggle with a mental health problem. While the overall lesson was a focus on changing the department culture, they did have some specific recommendations.

Some of those included the topics of:

  • Training
  • Having good intentions
  • Preparing for worst-case scenarios
  • Always communicating
  • Expecting and dealing with the fear of the unknown
  • Knowing the work comp process and having a plan
  • Providing leadership 
  • Having a return-to-work program

This topic (and the recommendations included in the webinar) aligned with last spring’s workshop session on mental health, and we will be making this topic a priority for the next year as well. I extend a huge thank you to BJ and Brian for sharing their story and for their dedication to this important topic.

You can find and view the JEMS webinar here.

Up next: Help With the Audit of Automated License Plate Readers

Stay safe,
Rob

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

MNLARS

In-car computers will now be accessing MNLARS.
As this blog is being posted, Minnesota is transitioning its 30-year-old Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) mainframe records system to MNLARS—the Minnesota License and Registration System. This is a large project that includes linking 6.4 million vehicle records with 4.1 million driver records. The system involves partnerships with law enforcement, local, state and federal agencies, courts, deputy registrars, and drivers’ license agents.

The new system will look a little different but is designed to be intuitive, and training will not be necessary. When fully implemented, MNLARS will increase data integrity and system security, increase fraud protection, and improve accessibility to information. It will also improve support to its wide range of end users. Full migration onto the new system will not be complete until 2018.

Some of the new changes include a larger address field, the color of a vehicle now being mandatory, and the vehicle descriptions will now match the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) codes. The NCIC is the federal computerized index of criminal justice information.

Be sure to alert your non-system users who use information from the system to these changes. These users include police department support staff, city and county attorneys, and their staff as well.

If you have further questions about MNLARS, contact the BCA Service Desk at bca.servicedesk@state.mn.us

Up next: Two Local Fire Chiefs Talk About Handling a Mental Health Crisis

Stay safe,
Rob

Friday, July 14, 2017

LMC 2017 Law Summaries

Bemidji police officers build relationships
during a previous National Night Out.
National Night Out is less than one month away, and a new law now allows local units of government to expend funds to support programs which “foster positive relationships” between law enforcement and the community they serve.

Cities with “Community Medical Response Emergency Medical Technicians” should be aware the description of “covered services” for medical aid now includes post-discharge visits from a skilled nursing facility and not only a hospital.

These are just some of the bills that passed into law during the 2017 Minnesota legislative session. There are also changes to the laws regarding fire sprinkler system requirements, funding for grants in sex trafficking prevention, and numerous changes to the DWI laws. The funding amounts for hazmat and chemical teams, bomb squad reimbursements, the new funding amounts for police officer training, and the change in requirements for officer continuing education credits are spelled out as well.

If you’re looking for information on new laws like these that impact cities, the just-released League of Minnesota Cities 2017 Law Summaries is your guide. Assembled by the League’s Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) team, this document includes an overview of the session, as well as a summary of the bills that did not become law, and the bills the governor vetoed. It’s also bookmarked for easy reference.

Get information on more new laws impacting data practices, election laws, employment laws, and the creation and extension of many local sales taxes. The new liquor laws include laws regarding brew pub retail sales, micro-distilleries, cocktail rooms, and the extension of bar hours during the Super Bowl weekend. And yes, liquor stores can now open on Sundays.

Find all of this and more in the LMC 2017 Law Summaries.

Up next: Information on the New Minnesota Licensing and Registration Systems (MNLARS)

Stay safe,
Rob