West Side story: 19 youths cited in March 8 drug/alcohol bust

busted The Northfield Police Report (released Friday) shows that 19 young people were busted for either underage drinking or possession of marijuana / drug paraphernalia on the West Side of downtown (South Water St. between 2nd and 3rd) on Sunday, March 8.

Is this good news or bad news?


  1. Peter Millin said:

    No need to worry. Pot is harmless and soon to be legalized.

    April 20, 2009
  2. norman butler said:

    Its a pity insofar as you and others bracket legal alcohol with illegal drugs notwithstanding the age issue (currently 21).

    April 20, 2009
  3. Anthony Pierre said:

    Name 1 good thing that has come out of the War on Drugs?

    I can’t think of any.

    April 20, 2009
  4. Bloggers 1 and 3, is this really about pot or the war on drugs, or maybe ‘How did 22 people including 7 adults and 15 juveniles come to be busted in the same 2-3 block downtown neighborhood on a cold windy Sunday in early March?’

    April 20, 2009
  5. John S. Thomas said:

    Inquiring minds want to know… with all this technology, why are the police reports taking nearly 40 days to get published?

    It used to be in the paper within a few days. Now, it is just a matter of record, and old news.

    BTW, the 200-300 block of South Water is between Ames Mill and Erberts correct?

    April 20, 2009
  6. Curt Benson said:

    John, I asked Chief Taylor about the late/incomplete reports last week. He said that the reports are compiled by police personnel and provided to the paper. The reports are time consuming because the information has to be screened, things like names of those under age 18 have to be redacted. Lately, the police have been shorthanded and had priorities greater than the report. It was my impression that situation is expected to improve.

    April 20, 2009
  7. kiffi summa said:

    Curt: In your conversation with the Chief, was there any indication of why this was not a news story, rather than just an item in the police report? It seems like a lot of people arrested at one time, in a fairly public space, for it to go unnoticed…

    April 21, 2009
  8. Curt Benson said:

    No, Kiffi, I didn’t ask the Chief about this event. I wasn’t aware of this particular event at the time of the conversation. I agree that this is newsworthy.

    April 21, 2009
  9. Anthony Pierre said:

    4 Dean Kjerland

    ‘How did 22 people including 7 adults and 15 juveniles come to be busted in the same 2-3 block downtown neighborhood on a cold windy Sunday in early March’

    I think a better question to ask is

    how effective has our 70 year war on drugs been if 7 adults and 15 juviniles come to be busted in the same 2-3 block downtown neighborhood on a cold windy sunday in early march.

    April 21, 2009
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    It seems as though ZAP has been discussed quite a bit recently. Item 1:

    January minutes of the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use (PDF)

    Follow-Up Discussion Regarding Officer Paul Haider’s visit in December

    Officer Haider provided very good information on the DARE program. It was interesting to hear his thoughts on why the ZAP program wasn’t used on a recent underage drinking party. It seems there is a perception that resources such as extra human power are not there. Becky Ford of the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition recently met with Chief Taylor to give an overview on the resources available. The Rice County Chemical Health Coalition has funds for police training and officer overtime for the ZAP program.

    Action Item: Invite Sheriff Cook and Chief Taylor to the March Task Force meeting to give a general review of the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use and discuss the ZAP program.

    Item 2:

    The March minutes of the Enforcement team of the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition (which now has a website that I didn’t know about)  has this:

    Law Enforcement –

    Sheriff’s Department – Bob reported that there were two underage drinking parties that were broken up using ZAP protocol in the last month. The first incident involved ten people being cited in Warsaw for underage consumption. Law enforcement was unable to identify an adult provider. Bob reported that when parents came to pick up their children, they did not seem upset by the fact that their children were consuming alcohol, but rather annoyed and inconvenienced because they had to pick up their kids.

    Northfield Police – Mark reported a second incident involving a party on March 3 where 13 people were ticketed with underage consumption and 2 adults were charged with providing the alcohol. Mark and Bob noted that both of these parties involved youth from a variety of schools and towns, not just the immediate community where the party occurred. It appears that youth have a wider circumference of social connections.

    Mark also brought up the fact that a newspaper editorial criticizing the ZAP effort was published in the Northfield News recently. Kathy suggested that Mark and Bob meet with the Northfield News to highlight the recent successes using ZAP protocol. Dave suggested that we get away from using language like “call out” and educate the public about how law enforcement agencies are utilizing ZAP in individual jurisdictions.

    April 22, 2009
  11. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    It was a relief to see the Police Dept. monitoring the juveniles loitering on Water Street on the West Side. Dozens of them sometimes, plugging the alleys and the handicap walkway.

    There was an unusual knife in the dirt behind our building some time ago. You guessed it. Switchblade. More recently, there was talk of a holdup back there on a Friday night about a month ago. Two young people held up a third at knifepoint and got $50. I called police dept. for information, but did not get a call back. I no longer feel safe in my shop after dark.

    April 23, 2009
  12. Griff Wigley said:

    I chatted by phone with Northfield Police Chief Mark Taylor today about this incident. He was out of town at the time of the incident but indicated that this was not a planned bust but rather a response to a complaint about a loud party in an upstairs apartment on the West side. It wasn’t a ZAP situation because officers had no information on the size of the party, and since it was an upstairs apartment, there wasn’t a need to call for extra officers to contain the location/prevent people from running out. Four Northfield officers handled it.

    In retrospect, he indicated that it would have been helpful for him to issue some kind of statement or press release given the large number of citations issued.

    April 27, 2009
  13. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Having received no call back on the holdup incident on Water Street, I called Chief Taylor today who is checking into it for me. I am not talking about a party, I am talking about a holdup at knife point behind Jerry’s Barber Shop.

    April 27, 2009
  14. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Griff and all,

    Chief Taylor just called back to confirm there was an incident that matches my description the night of Mar. 26. Two persons, ages 18 and 19, were charged with first degree assault and possession of a dangerous weapon.

    April 27, 2009
  15. kiffi summa said:

    Stephanie: I had heard about the at-knife-point robbery; a lot of people had heard about it, and were wondering if it could be accurate since there had been nothing about it in the newspaper.
    Seems like a rather extreme situation in our small town that might have been newsworthy…
    I hope the discussion at tonight’s council work session will deal with this, in their discussion of community expected behavior norms… Now that sounded really prim when I wrote “community expected behavior norms”, but you know I’m not ‘prim’. I think the general vandalism that occurs all around the riverwalk , on both sides, is a matter too long NOT given priority by the police department, and I don’t really understand why… because last summer when some property owners met with Chief Taylor he was very supportive of trying to correct the problems.
    I’m all for mounted police, seriously, canvas dusters and all! Great tourist attraction for the town that takes pride in having beat back Jesse James.

    April 27, 2009
  16. Curt Benson said:

    Thanks for checking this out Griff. Apparently no need for a ZAP callout with four local officers on duty. Well done, NFPD and Chief Taylor.

    April 27, 2009
  17. kiffi summa said:

    The newspaper has said they don’t print criminal ‘thing’s until charges have been filed…
    So where were they on this one?

    How can we have a ‘livable’ downtown?

    Dean: You’re always on this issue; what do your condo residents think about this?

    April 27, 2009
  18. Scott Oney said:

    Griff: I’m wondering if the kids that got busted might be victims of mixed messages. For example, a bill passed in the state Senate last week that would legalize the possession and use of medical marijuana. Sen. Kevin Dahle voted in favor of the measure (“Minn. Pols Say Yes to Pot,”), and Rep. David Bly is listed as a coauthor of the companion measure in the House. The enthusiastic support of these popular Northfield educators and role models for this dubious legislation may send a not-so-subtle nudge and wink to all but the most clueless.

    May 4, 2009
  19. Anthony Pierre said:

    What mixed messages? It would still be illegal at their age to smoke it.

    Prohibition doesn’t work.

    May 4, 2009
  20. Scott Oney said:

    Anthony: The House version of the bill explicitly mentions qualifying patients under the age of 18. Are you saying that the Senate version that passed excludes underage patients? I didn’t think it did, but I don’t seem to have a copy of that version on my hard drive.

    May 4, 2009
  21. Anthony Pierre said:

    Do minors get Oxycontin under prescription, I guess I don’t know that much about prescription drugs.

    May 4, 2009
  22. Anthony Pierre said:

    Oh I guess I should have qualified that statement in 18. It would still be illegal for them to smoke it -without a prescription-

    May 4, 2009
  23. Peter Millin said:

    Here I go again being confused as usual.

    For the past ten to fifteen years or so, certain segments of society have been on the crusade against cigarette smoking.
    To the point wer we even took tobacco companies to court and now considering regulating tobacco via the FDA.
    Why are we now pushing for legalization of pot? It is as harmful do your lungs and people around you then tobacco?

    May 5, 2009
  24. Anthony Pierre said:

    I don’t understand that either, Peter.

    I think the mindset is kind of similar to abortion/death penalty.

    May 6, 2009
  25. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    I have sent a message to Bly and Dahle as to conversation on this thread. Let’s see if they have time to reply.

    May 6, 2009
  26. Scott Oney said:

    Stephanie: I had a brief exchange with Sen. Dahle last week concerning his thoughts on the Senate pot legalization bill (“Area Man Sends E-mail”) that might be relevant.

    May 7, 2009
  27. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Thanks, Scott. for sharing Kevin’s thoughts on the marijuana bill. I saw Murphy defending his bill on Ch17 before the vote. I can see why law enforcement takes a dim view of it.

    May 7, 2009
  28. Peter Millin said:

    Senator Dahle just gave me another reason not to vote for him.
    Why I do appreciate his efforts to make it tough for people not to get pot,unless they have a prescription. I think we all know how this will end.

    The medical argument just doesn’t fly with me. I think their are plenty of other drugs with the same outcome. Or if we believe that THC (?) has medical validity, we could have easily extracted that part, and put it in to a different format.

    The lack of leadership in St.Paul is really depressing.

    Mr. Senator I would have expected more from a teacher.

    May 12, 2009
  29. Peter Millin said:

    So what’s your point?

    Long term pot use, makes you unsocial, meaning that you rather hangout with other pot users, then non users.
    It makes you lazy, unmotivated and gives you a warped look of the world around you. Plus it makes you paranoid in the long run.
    Nevermind that it serves as a gateway drug to harder drugs. Not so muchpot itself, but the fact the community of pot smakers is one step closer to hard drugs.

    All of the above is based on my own experience as a heavy pot smoker.

    May 13, 2009
  30. Anthony Pierre said:

    my point is there are very valid medical reasons for THC. Without the really bad toxicity side effects.

    May 13, 2009
  31. Peter Millin said:

    I agree that there is some benefit to THC, but I think that the negatives outweigh the positives.

    Plus by legitimizing pot and make it legally available it will become more available.
    I don’t buy the assurances of strict control,they will be circumvented.

    We have a hard time enforcing drinking laws, what makes us think we can effectively enforce pot laws?
    This was a bad move from St. Paul and I am disappointed that a high school teacher can’t see the danger in it.

    May 14, 2009
  32. Peter Millin said:

    I should have added “former heavy pot smoker”.

    May 14, 2009
  33. Stephanie Henriksen said:


    Have you contacted Kevin Dahle with your objection? He usually answers right back.


    May 14, 2009
  34. Scott Oney said:

    Stephanie and Kiffi: The Northfield News has a story online about the March 26 mugging by the river (“Man Gets a Year for Robbery at Knifepoint”). Northfield police picked up both perpetrators on the night of the attack, and they’ve been in jail ever since, so they’ve posed no threat to the community during that time.

    July 9, 2009

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