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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

City Administrator and Law Enforcement Training

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) is hosting two workshops for city officials.

This training will provide city managers, administrators, and councilmembers a better understanding of police departments and their 21st century challenges—especially since law enforcement has come under such public scrutiny.

Each 6-hour session will cover use-of-force issues, dissemination of public information, training priorities, setting expectations, and a communications plan to facilitate a more cohesive chief-administration relationship.

While the content will be geared toward city leaders, police chiefs are welcome and encouraged to attend this training to assist in building a common community law enforcement vision using a global view of where a police department fits into the overall city structure.

They are offering the course on two dates at two different locations:

March 7, 2017: National Joint Powers Alliance Training Facility in Staples

May 24, 2017: MCPA Training Facility in New Brighton

For more information and to register, go to:

Up next: The National Fire Protection Association Bulletin on Firefighter’s Protective Hoods

Stay safe,

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The "Tabletop"

The Apple Valley Police Department (AVPD) asked if I wanted to observe their tabletop exercise for a “Check the Welfare” call. At a tabletop exercise, participants talk and think through how they would handle a problem while sitting around a table. It’s a safe and often synergistic process for planning a response.

It was part of their staff meeting, and all supervisors, sergeants, and up were at the table, including the chief. The process used a PowerPoint presentation that started with the initial information given to the officers and, over the course of the exercise, more information and complexity were presented. Captain Nick Francis facilitated the exercise and discussion. Here is the information from the first slide:

  • Officers are dispatched to a suicidal person call, information in the card reads: 
  • RP states she received a text from her husband who indicated he was suicidal. The male lives at 12345 Cedar Avenue. The text stated ‘It’s just not worth it anymore, goodbye.’ He also sent a picture with himself holding a knife. RP advises the male has numerous weapons in the residence and has a history of violence.”
  • Two AVPD squads are dispatched to the residence to check the welfare.

Some of the initial thoughts were: get a supervisor on the way, obtain more accurate information, and determine if anyone else is with the man. One supervisor said he would assign an officer to track down the original caller and not rely on the limited information that comes through the dispatcher. Another said he would bring in additional officers depending on who was working, such as officers who have had additional training in crisis intervention or negotiations. As the call got more complex, they discussed not wanting to push the call into a situation where they would have to use force. They also reviewed applicable state statutes.

The scenario continued:

  • The first officer arrives on scene and reports the male’s vehicle is in the driveway. There is fresh snowfall, and tracks indicate the vehicle arrived within the last couple of hours. 
  • One of the officers speaks to the complainant on the phone and learns she is on her way home and will be there in 5 minutes.
  • What immediate options do the officers have? Where should they be standing by?

As they concluded the exercise, they talked about ways they could improve their response and were looking to additional programs and training they could evaluate. They planned to replicate the exercise with all of their officers at upcoming training sessions. I thank Chief Jon Rechtzigel and Captain Nick Francis for allowing me to attend.

Up next: Minnesota Chiefs of Police Training for City Officials

Stay safe,

Monday, January 23, 2017

Carbon Monoxide and First Responders (a guest post by LMCIT Senior Loss Control Consultant Joe Ingebrand, CSP)

Guest blogger/LMCIT Senior
Loss Control Consultant
Joe Ingebrand, CSP
When you’re saving others, don’t forget to protect yourself!

In a small, rural Minnesota community, a woman returns home to find her husband unresponsive. She calls 911. Ambulance, law enforcement, and fire department personnel respond to the scene inside the garage. When it’s over, the husband is deceased, and the woman—along with seven EMS staff—have been exposed and are being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

This serves as a reminder to emergency personnel that while you can never know what you may be confronted with at the scene, being prepared with effective and functioning safety equipment can help to ensure the safety of the citizens you serve and yourself.
Most fire departments own (or have access to) a 4-gas meter needed to respond to confined space entry accidents and potential exposure to carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, oxygen deficiency, and flammable environments. While these meters are effective, they are relatively expensive (about $2,000) and need frequent calibration and service to remain effective. Some fire departments have partnered with the city’s public works department in the purchasing of a 4-gas meter, since both departments’ use of the meter is infrequent.

There are also single-gas CO-monitors available for around $300. Some fire departments will carry them on their EMS truck to use during EMS calls, especially in the winter months when these types of calls are more frequent.

MNOSHA Safety Grants

To defray the cost of employee safety equipment—including these aforementioned gas detection meters—Minnesota OSHA has matching safety grants available to cities and all Minnesota employers.

For additional information on preparing and responding to calls associated with carbon monoxide, see the links listed below from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the National Fuel Gas Code Handbook. After all, preparation is the key to safe and effective emergency response.

Up next: Police Use a Table-Top Exercise to Discuss Responding to a Check-the-Welfare Call

Stay safe,