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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Update from the 2018 Spring Workshops

This year’s police track focuses on critical incidents and background
investigations. Like the rain, these workshops are a sure sign of spring.
A League staffer spotted the article in a local newspaper. The story was about the city’s police department adapting and adopting the League of Minnesota Cities’ newly released model policy for handling critical incidents. The policy is the focus of two sessions at this year’s Safety and Loss Control Workshops, and adapting it to fit your department is one of the themes. Rounding out the police track sessions is a class on the best practices for conducting background checks on new applicants.

I remembered seeing the city’s police chief participating in the tabletop portion of the critical incident training at a recent workshop. During the tabletop exercise the class works through a simulated critical incident using the checklist that is part of the policy. The exercise makes the words of the policy come to life, but city officials taking the next step like this chief did is what brings these practices into the real world.

We are seeing many of the police track attendees staying for the afternoon track of classes that are focused on first amendment issues of protected speech, and handling protests on city property. Both the morning and afternoon sessions are approved for POST credits.

The remaining dates and locations are:

April 17 - St. Paul
April 19 – Brooklyn Park
April 24 – Rochester
April 26 – St. Cloud

Register today at  www.lmc.org/lcw18blog2.

Free Critical Incidents Model Policy Webinar
If you or your staff are unable to attend one of the workshops, there is an upcoming opportunity to view a portion of the April 19 workshop live as it is being presented in Brooklyn Park. The one-hour webinar will focus on both the Critical Incident Model Policy and the accompanying Planning for Critical Incident Responses Information Memo. For details and registration information go to
www.lmc.org/criticalincidentOTL.

Up Next: Q&A with Troy Walsh on a successful OSHA Safety Grant for one of our fire departments.

Stay safe,
Rob

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Officer Wellness Conference

The Blue Watch organization has announced the dates and topics for their upcoming 2018 Officer Wellness Conference. Some of the topic areas are: police culture, peer support, enhancing emotional resilience, and understanding psychological trauma. The two-day conference will be on May 3-4 at the Woodbury Public Safety Building.

The public safety community’s concerns about the mental toll the job takes on all responders has finally moved out of the shadows. Our responders are exposed to horrific scenes of bedlam as they render aid and bring control back to the chaos, but it can take a toll on them. Fortunately, the business is recognizing that suppressing these memories and toughing it out is not a good idea. The conference is a wealth of resources and information, and they have an impressive group of presenters lined up.

Other topics on the agenda are: officer suicide prevention, the science of addiction, confidentiality and therapeutic help, and there will be a panel discussion on addiction and recovery. I am intrigued by the session with the title “The Wellness Advantages of Being a Police Officer.” Hmmm, now that sounds really interesting.

For more information and to register, visit: www.bluewatchrollcall.com

Up next: A Report from the Safety & Loss Control Workshops

Stay safe,
Rob

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Property and Evidence Room Management

West St. Paul Police Chief
Bud Shaver presents at the conference.
A guest blog by Tracy Stille, Loss Control and Law Enforcement Field Consultant

The importance of property and evidence room management has certainly gained visibility in the state of Minnesota. One result of the increased visibility was legislation enacted in 2010, requiring the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association to develop a model policy that articulates best practices for forfeitures.

Along with West St. Paul City Attorney Kori Land and West St. Paul Police Chief Bud Shaver, I recently presented at the 2018 City Attorney’s Educational Conference on the importance of police property room management.

In addition to taking custody of property subject to forfeiture, law enforcement officers take custody of lost and stolen property, contraband, and physical evidence that can directly or indirectly solve a crime. The integrity of these items depends upon the proper handling of the items from the moment law enforcement takes possession of them until they are legally returned to their owners, sold, destroyed, or retained for agency use.

The mishandling of these items by law enforcement agencies can lead to criminal charges against officers, financial liability for the law enforcement agency, the loss or theft of property, or the damage, contamination, or destruction of evidence.

In 2011, the State Auditor’s Office published a Best Practices Review of Police Property and Evidence Rooms to provide timely, important resources to law enforcement agencies around the state of Minnesota and to help mitigate the mishandling of police property. It not only provided a guide to developing a Property and Evidence Room Policies and Procedures Manual, but it is also unique in that it incorporates an overlay of Minnesota laws.

Loss Control Field Consultant
Tracy Stille
Police Property Room Self-Inspections Checklist

The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) has also developed a self-inspection checklist for Minnesota cities. This checklist can be used to evaluate your own police property room and to ensure that it has sufficient security, storage, and equipment, as well as ensure that the personnel assigned to the property room have sufficient oversight and training.

If you are interested in receiving free information about the self-inspection of your police property room, please contact me. I will either email you a copy of the self-inspection checklist or, if you prefer, arrange for a free on-site visit of your police property room. 

You may contact me at tstille@lmc.org or give me a call at (651) 215-4051.

Up next: The Impact of Fitness and Weight on Officer Injuries

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.

Tracy