Tag Archives: Northfield Police Department

Understanding the new method of policing in Northfield

In today’s Northfield News: Burglaries in Northfield down by 40 percent in 2011

Northfield crime stats 2009 to 2011While calls for service are up through the end of last week, crime overall is down, most notably in the burglary category, which saw a 40 percent drop over 2010.

Deputy Police Chief Chuck Walerius believes that the reduction, along with a drop in reported crimes, is linked to a new method of policing the department instituted this year that takes into account the types of crimes being committed and the most likely trouble spots when allocating resources. Walerius said it’s not only helped to reduce crime, but help officers catch things as they unfold.

Northfield police incident mapping 4th qtr 2011Here’s a map of property crimes in Northfield in the past 90 days, as generated by Northfield’s Police Incident Mapping Application. The pushpin icons represent burglaries, thefts, vehicle thefts, and damage to property. No robberies or arsons were reported. (The crime map only displays property crimes, whereas the table above shows all types of crimes. Also, see this site on the difference between theft and burglary.)

Where are the "most likely trouble spots" that would be new?

And what might Deputy Police Chief Chuck Walerius mean when he says that the new policing method "takes into account the types of crimes being committed"?

I may be able to get him to comment here but it might be helpful to first have some discussion. Maybe I’m the only one who’s puzzled.

Do we need a downtown parking hall of shame?

Sheena Basness, Community Service Officer, Northfield Police DepartmentSheena Basness, Community Service Officer with the Northfield Police Department, was chalking tires downtown in front of Hogan Bros on Tuesday morning.  I’ve been waiting a long time to get this photo, as I commented here last year in the discussion on the blog post Downtown parking: what’s really needed? in which I’d asked:

Do downtown business owners and their employees too often park in these spots or is that a myth?

How rigorously do the police enforce downtown parking ordinances?

The City Council has rejected for now the Streetscape Task Force’s recommendation to:

… spend an estimated $760,000 to purchase a parcel on Washington Street near the library, raze a home on the site and add parking.

So what can be done to improve parking availability downtown? Officer Basness said she chalks tires several times a week in the two-hour parking zone downtown. She indicated that there are several (many?) downtown store/building owners and office workers who are chronic offenders, that citations are $10 if paid promptly, and that an accumulation of 5 tickets results in a stiffer fine.

I couldn’t find anything (can anyone else find it?) specific about downtown parking in the Municipal Code section ARTICLE IV. – STOPPING, STANDING AND PARKING but Sec. 78-104. – Violation and penalties says:

Any person who violates sections 78-93(a), 78-94, 78-96, 78-97, 78-99, 78-101, 78-102, 78-103, 78-105, and 78-106 shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor punishable by a fine in the amount established by resolution. Each two-hour period in a two-hour parking zone that a violation of this section exists shall be a separate offense. After the first tagged violation, each 15-minute period in a no parking yellow zone, bus stop or taxi zone or a double parking zone shall be a separate offense. All vehicles in violation are subject to being towed away at the owner’s expense.

I like the idea of parking hall of shame website/blog like the Jersey City Parking Hall of Shame Inductees.

More belt-tightening: Northfield Police Dept. announces ‘Police yourself Thursdays’

Police Officer While the Northfield City Council struggles with budget cut issues, the Northfield Police Department decided to be proactive this week.  It announced a program to reduce department payroll called Police yourself Thursdays.

“The success of the Community Expectations policy is what gave me the idea,” said Police Chief Marcus H. Traylor, citing the ordinance that addresses cleanliness, respect, safety, and pedestrian friendliness in the downtown area. (See the April 27, 2009 blog post for more details on that program.)  “We asked citizens to behave better downtown over the past year and they’ve done it.  We’re confident now that if we ask citizens to consciously avoid breaking laws just one day a week, it’ll save a significant amount of payroll dollars that will help to avoid layoffs.”

Why Thursdays?  Traylor consulted with area pastors who suggested Thursdays because Wednesday nights are ‘church nights’ in the area.  The ministers pointed to the impact of the ‘prayer ladies’ (see the Aug. 2007 blog post Prayer group meets at City Hall) on the improved climate at Northfield City Hall and felt that with a more comprehensive prayer effort, Northfield area crime that’s likely to happen on Thursdays could be bumped into Fridays or even the weekend.

Northfield Riverside Baptist Church pastor Cory Ellingston cautioned, however, that the impact of Northfield’s Police yourself Thursdays would have geographic limitations, not unlike the prayer ladies who attend City Council meetings. “Prayers for the City Council are just not as effective if those doing the praying are across the street or down the block,” said Ellingston. “The Dundas Police Department should not expect crime reductions in their city on Thursdays.”

It was the State Patrol’s FLIR helicopter you heard last night

We got a few emails asking us if we knew why a helicopter was circling over Northfield for quite a while at 1 am this morning.

I spoke with Northfield Deputy Police Chief Chuck Walerius this morning. He said it was a helicopter equipped with a FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) unit from the Minnesota State Patrol Flight Section. They had requested it to help look for a suicidal individual.  The individual was eventually found using cell phone triangulation at around 4:30 am.  and was rushed to Northfield Hospital in time.

See the March Strib story titled Thermal imaging: An eye in Minnesota’s sky.

Police Association golf tournament has career impact

Sheena Basness, Community Service Officer with the Northfield Police Department, alerted me about this year’s Police Association Golf Tournament (4-person best-ball scramble), held on Monday at the Northfield Golf Club.

I arrived just in time to watch Northfield Police Chief Mark Taylor (blue shirt) compete in the putting contest.  He pretty much sucked and is reportedly considering keeping his day job.

Northfield Police Chief Mark Taylor, about to miss again Sheena Basness, Northfield Community Service Officer Sheena Basness, Northfield Community Service Officer Northfield Police Association golf tournament Roster, Northfield Police Association golf tournament

Podcast: Deputy Police Chief Chuck Walerius on the April 15 CodeRed test (sign up now)

Chuck Walerius, Tracy Davis, Griff Wigleycodered-brochure-sshot Our guest this week was Northfield Deputy Police Chief Chuck Walerius, talking about the new CodeRed emergency notification system for Rice and Steele counties (brochure/FAQ PDF) and the test of the system coming up on April 15.

You can sign up now so that the system alerts you via landline phone, cell phone, text message and email. Just visit either the City of Northfield Police Dept. page or the Emergency info page and click on the CodeRed logo/link. You’ll be sent to a special Rice/Steele page on the CodeRed.com website. (I’m deliberately not linking to it from here in case the URL changes.)

Continue reading Podcast: Deputy Police Chief Chuck Walerius on the April 15 CodeRed test (sign up now)

Verbal abuse of Northfield’s police officers; where’s the line?

A faux ticketDespite what you see in this photo, I’m not the type who would verbally abuse a cop. But this article in yesterday’s NY Times about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., As Officers Face Heated Words, Their Tactics Vary, made me wonder what the line of tolerance is for our local men and women in blue. Should they ignore the verbal abuse as long as no threats are being made? Does the setting matter (public vs private)? How about if the comments are coming from a youth? (continued)

Continue reading Verbal abuse of Northfield’s police officers; where’s the line?

Early morning ‘revenue enhancement’ citations continue

Parking violation Last month it was a bogus speeding citation while going through Cannon City at 6:30 on Saturday morning. Today’s 6:30 am citation was for my motorcycle trailer’s encroachment in the yellow no-parking zone on Division. When I protested with, “C’mon, Mark, it’s only four fucking feet!” I was cited again for violating the no-swearing-in-public clause in the city’s new ‘community expectations’ policy governing behavior downtown. I had been leaning towards supporting the effort to build a new Safety Center. Now, however…