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Monday, May 16, 2016

New LMCIT Public Safety Resources Online

The League of Minnesota Cites now has two new informative documents online—one a model policy for police departments with in-car camera systems, and the other a memo packed with tips on keeping your city’s computers safe:

LMCIT Model In-Car Cameras Policy

For police departments with in-car camera systems, we have a new model policy available. It is similar to the officer-worn camera policy in its format and allows police departments to customize the document to fit their needs and equipment. The model policy is marked with comments on the different approaches set forth:

http://lmc.org/media/document/1/lmcitmodelincarcameraspolicy.docx


LMC Computer and Network Loss Control Memo

There is also a new information memo on computer safety. Learn some of the risks in storing and sharing city data on computers—including portable devices. Find out how to protect your city from common risks such as data breaches, virus contamination, hacker attacks, and computer misuse by employees. Understand issues presented by social media such as Facebook, blogs, and Twitter, and get links to a model employee computer use policy:

http://lmc.org/media/document/1/computerandnetworklosscontrol.pdf?inline=true

Up Next: A Fire Truck with a History

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Rob

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hearing Protection


“Final check for ears and eyes!” The firearms instructor shouts those directions as she verifies that all of the officers on the shooting range have their hearing and eye protection in place. A nod from the safety officer confirms that everyone has their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on. Only after that confirmation does the instructor move on to the day’s firearms training or qualification. That ritual is so routine that most officers do not even think about it—it’s automatic.

But what about the safety check for PPE before an officer shoots an injured animal such as a deer that has been hit by car? Often those same officers forget or don’t think about using their safety equipment when they are not at the range. Why? Are they in a hurry, or do they not have the equipment with them in the squad car?

The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) officer injury statistics don’t tell us why, but they do tell us that many officers report hearing injures on these calls when hearing protection was not used. In addition to the officer shooting, it is sometimes an officer standing nearby that reports being injured.

The solution:

  • Make sure every officer has quick access to hearing and eye protection. Whether it is part of the squad car’s standard equipment or individually issued to the officer, this safety equipment has uses beyond the firearms range.
  • Follow the same procedures and use the exact same words used at the shooting range when shooting an animal. “Final check for ears and eyes” should be loudly announced so all officers can get their safety equipment on and prepare for the shot.
  • Designate an officer to be the safety officer to verify everyone has their PPE in place and to watch over the entire scene. It is very easy to be focusing on the animal with no one watching the big picture, including the perimeter or traffic.
Repeating the same words used at the range and having access to the proper PPE can reduce these unnecessary injuries. Eye and hearing protection is not limited only to one location.

Up Next: New Online LMCIT Public Safety Resources

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Rob

Monday, April 18, 2016

Medical Cannabis and Minnesota Police Officers

The Office of Medical Cannabis is a division
of the Minnesota Department of Public Health.
The Minnesota Medical Cannabis Act creates some issues for cities as employers—including police departments. The law contains some broad and important legal protections for employees who are approved by the state to use medical cannabis. Medical cannabis may be used to treat a variety of health conditions under certain controlled conditions, including Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, intractable pain, and more.

While state law allows the use of medical cannabis, police officers are still regulated by a few special provisions under federal law. Public safety employees who carry a firearm cannot lawfully use medical cannabis under federal law. In addition, federal law prohibits cities from providing firearms or ammunition to employees it knows or has reason to know are using cannabis.

This new area of the law can be difficult for police department managers to navigate. LMCIT has put together a memo entitled “City Employment Issues and Medical Cannabis in Minnesota” that covers all employees broadly—and police employees specifically. The memo can be found at this link:

http://www.lmc.org/media/document/1/medicalcannabisinminnesota.pdf?inline=true

It is important for employers to note that Minnesota’s medical cannabis law is unique from other state laws in the depth and breadth of its protections. As a result, non-Minnesota specific guidance on the issue can be misleading.

Up Next: Hearing Protection and Injured Animals

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Rob