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Monday, April 8, 2019

“OD MAP” Is Up and Running

In the second hour of our ongoing Safety and Loss Control Workshops, we have a session on Minnesota’s opioid epidemic. We began by asking the police officers what they are experiencing in their cities. Their responses reflect the wide range of impact. One city is handling and investigating numerous opioid overdoses and deaths, while a city 33 miles away had just one in the last year. All report that meth is still prevalent, and many mention the crimes—particularly theft and burglary—that accompany the drug problem.

Another common concern is the lack of information as to what is trending, and the ability to track overdoses that are occurring in other jurisdictions and in other regions of the state. The Minnesota Department of Health’s “Opioid Action Plan” called out the need for law enforcement and the rest of the public safety communities to be able to get real-time information on overdoses occurring around the state.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has rolled out “ODMAP.” This is a free tool that provides real-time overdose information data across jurisdictions. It is user-friendly and allows entries to be made from the scene, the car, or later when officers are at the station. On the backend it tracks the day of the week, date, time, location, Naloxone use, and—most importantly—it tracks “spikes” when multiple overdoses begin to occur in a short amount of time. Each department has the ability to set the number of incidents they would consider a spike.

Project Coordinator Lindsey Bartholdi will be at some of the workshops, available to answer questions and even schedule appointments to help implement the program in your department. If you are unable to attend the remaining workshops, I encourage your department to contact the BCA for more information at (651) 793-7000 or

Visit our website for more information on the remaining workshops and to register.

Up next: What We Learned (A Review of What We Heard While On the Road)

Stay safe,

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Flooding Precautions

It is unusual for us to make two posts live in such close succession, but our current and rapidly changing spring flooding is unusual and dangerous—especially for our public safety responders. Responding to these incidents involving flooding are “High Risk-Low Frequency Events.” Below are links to information you can share with your EMS, fire, and police responders.

Be sure your department is in contact with your city and/or your county emergency manager.

Here are some good tips from Police One. I really like their 3-step approach to responding to incidents involving flooding:

  1. Am I seeing the whole picture? (situational awareness)
  2. Where are the most likely threats?
  3. What are my action plans? (pre-planning)

- Here are two short video clips from the weather service stressing and showing the dangers of driving on flooded roadways. The first one uses a catchy tune that can get stuck in your head (a good thing in this case!), and the second one illustrates what can happen if you try to drive on a flooded road.

The CDC has information on the health risk posed by floodwaters. In 1993, our farm in the Minnesota River Valley flooded, and the smell of what was left behind made putting on personal protective equipment (PPE) automatic.

Up next: Report from the State Fire School in North Mankato

Stay safe,

The Chiefs' Meeting

I was recently invited to attend a county’s police chiefs’ meeting. In my career I have attended quite a few of these in a number of counties, but it had been a few years since I was at one. And basically not much has changed, which is good.

It was obvious as soon as I walked into the room that the chiefs and their staffs know each other well. The departments represented at the meeting were a mixture of small, medium, and large, representing very different communities.

The meeting had a formal call-to-order, and the group’s president began working his way through the agenda with a review of the minutes of the last meeting. I did a short presentation on the risk management issues we are seeing in our statistics and about some upcoming projects.

I had forgotten how impressive it is to see a room full of law enforcement professionals actively and openly engaged in a discussion of current and future issues facing their departments and their cities. It’s a chance for them to check in with each other and to increase their awareness of what is happening around them. And the conversations continued after the agenda had been completed, through the lunch, and even in the parking lot as they headed to their cars.

I thank New Brighton’s Public Safety Director Tony Paetznick for the invitation to attend the meeting and for giving me a chance to “check in” with the chiefs.

Up next: Flooding Precautions

Stay safe,