Hennepin County sheriff to begin using drone

Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

In the Star Tribune Rochelle Olson reports, “The Hennepin County sheriff’s department will start using a drone this summer provided federal approval comes through. Department spokesman Jon Collins said the drone will be used for ‘search and rescue’ operations and run by volunteer special deputies. … Drone use already has proliferated among U.S. law enforcement agencies, bringing numerous privacy concerns along with it.”

At MPR, Dan Kraker has a long story on the economy of the Iron Range, and the age-old question: If not mining, what? “While Iron Rangers are used to the volatile swings of mining, many say this downturn feels different. Some sense a greater urgency this time to grow a more sustainable economy, one that fosters local entrepreneurs, nurtures small businesses and targets industries that can build on the region’s mineral and timber resources. They hope that diversifying the economy and promoting the region’s quality of life can deliver stability when the mining industry takes its inevitable dips.”

Also at MPR, Brian Bakst says, “Just as Minnesota lawmakers dive into their debate over a $900 million projected budget surplus, state finance officials warned Monday that revenues had slipped a bit and signs of economic weakness were lowering growth expectations. A quarterly economic update from the Department of Minnesota Management and Budget detected an $11 million slide in tax collections for February and March versus earlier estimates. That amounted to a 0.5 percent drop in the context of $2.4 billion in revenue.”

Flaming chickens? In the Pioneer Press, Tad Vezner reports, “A flock of flaming chickens, a torched 4-H rabbit project and a burnt-up barn. Those past incidents and more have been used to argue against the ‘Fireworks Freedom Act,’ a bill that would attempt — once again — to make some aerial and explosive fireworks available in Minnesota. The bill, which passed the Minnesota House on Monday, would remove the long-standing prohibition against selling such products in Minnesota — an idea Gov. Mark Dayton has already said he would be unlikely to support.”

Says an AP story: “Authorities in northern Minnesota say the body of a Twin Cities CEO has been recovered from the Rainy River. The Lake of the Woods County sheriff’s office responded to a 911 call late Monday morning about a body floating in the river a mile east of Baudette. Authorities recovered 52-year-old John Martin Stiglich of Shoreview. He was taken to LakeWood Health Center in Baudette, where he was pronounced dead. A company official says Stiglich was CEO of St. Paul-based Cirdan Health Systems and Consulting, a health care consulting and information systems firm.”  

Nancy Ngo of the PiPress says, “After 20 years of serving spanakopita, moussaka and gyro dinners, the fate of Christos restaurant in downtown St. Paul’s Union Depot is uncertain. The lease for the Greek restaurant expires at the end of May. Regardless of whether Christos continues in the spot or a new restaurant comes in, the building owner wants the new lease to include a restaurant that also runs a catering operation on site.”

In a Strib commentary, Emily Piper, commissioner of the Department of Human Services says, “ … we need the Legislature to fully support additional funding for DHS’ 200 facilities that provide treatment and services for people with mental illness, chemical dependency and developmental disabilities. About 12,000 people are served by DHS direct-care programs each year. Most of them have nowhere else to turn.”

MPR’s Riham Feshir reports, “A bill that would require all police officers in Minnesota to receive crisis intervention training is showing some life in the state Legislature. The Senate Judiciary Budget committee heard the bill Monday before deciding to lay it over for possible inclusion in the Judiciary Finance omnibus bill. The law would require all estimated 10,000 police officers in Minnesota to get four hours of training on how to respond to mental health calls. Police say the number of mental health calls is increasing, while only some departments have implemented a week-long, 40-hour training model.”

In the Strib, Jeremy Olson writes, “Data analysis by Bloomington-based HealthPartners has helped federal health authorities address a vexing question: Who should take daily aspirin to reduce heart disease risks, and who should not? … The new advice recommends daily aspirin for adults aged 50 to 59 who have a life expectancy of at least a decade but also a 10 percent chance of a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack.”

The AP says, “Minnesota’s first confirmed infestation of starry stonewort has generated a coordinated response to stopping the invasive grass-like algae in Lake Koronis. … tens of thousands of dollars and hours of research have been funneled into efforts to stop the spread of starry stonewort. The state DNR is ramping up boat inspections, the Koronis Lake Association is preparing to launch a $828,600 pilot project and University of Minnesota researchers are planning lab experiments. The DNR will provide a watercraft inspector and to survey boat access within 10 to 30 miles of Lake Koronis.”

Mara Gottfried in the PiPress says, “Someone was scaling Twin Cities businesses, stealing metal and causing thousands of dollars in damage, and St. Paul police said they were closing in on a suspect. … About 3:30 a.m. Friday, an officer saw a U-Haul truck backed up to the wall of the O’Reilly Auto Parts on Lexington Parkway near University Avenue and then watched the suspect, Eddie Lee Harper, drive away, according to criminal charges filed Monday. [Sgt. Jim Gray, the St. Paul police lead investigator] said he climbed up to the business’s roof and found two air-conditioning units had been damaged with the copper/aluminum radiators cut from them. Later that morning, police arrested Harper.”

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/12/2016 - 08:14 am.


    I hope the Sheriff’s Department drone will be smaller and more economical than the model in the photo, which is equipped with Hellfire missiles that seem… um… unnecessary for a “search and rescue” operation in Hennepin County. Maybe that depends upon what you’re searching for, and who or what is being rescuedd…

    • Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 04/12/2016 - 01:00 pm.

      Police use of drones

      Ray, I sort of disagree with your assessment of Hellfire missiles. I think the Sheriff’s department could put them to good use, especially in car chases. After taking out a few cars on 94 and 35W & 35E, I would suspect many people would think twice about endangering the public safety and flee the police after a few were gunned down by a Hellfire. It could also help the state’s jobless by creating more road repair jobs.

  2. Submitted by Robert Owen on 04/12/2016 - 08:25 am.

    The picture you chose to illustrate the story about the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office using a drone shows an MQ-1 Predator armed with Hellfire missiles.

    That makes as much sense as a story reporting HCSO got a new boat to patrol Lake Minnetonka and using a picture of a nuclear submarine.

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/12/2016 - 09:29 am.

    How much money is the drone going to cost ?

    ALL expenses have to be considered here, including purchase/lease, maintenance, training, insurance, etc.

    One wonders why the sheriff couldn’t simply hire a private contractor to assist in cases on an ad hoc basis ? Is he just excited about getting a new toy ?

    Will the sheriff hide the details of its deployment? I would like to know how this thing is going to be used – exactly.

  4. Submitted by T J Simplot on 04/12/2016 - 09:53 am.

    KARE 11 had a story about the drone usage last night. Apparently there will be parameters in place to protect privacy. They will only be able to flown during the day. All video must be destroyed within 30 days. They are working with the ACLU to create their protocols.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/12/2016 - 10:18 am.

    Although I Am VERY Impressed with Area Law Enforcement

    who, according the records published in the local paper,…

    seem to deal very well with substantial numbers of crisis and mental health situations,…

    (which may partly result from the presence of a Community Behavioral Health Hospital, here in Alexandria),…

    I can’t help but think that crisis intervention training for ALL law enforcement needs to happen as soon as possible,…

    especially considering how reluctant the Republicans in the Minnesota House are to adequately fund Mental Health services,…

    especially out here in rural Minnesota,…

    whose needs they promised to REALLY, REALLY, REALLY pay attention to during this session.

    (A person might almost get the impression, by their behavior, that they never had any intention of KEEPING that promise and just assumed that us “rubes” out here in the country would be too stupid to notice).

  6. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 04/12/2016 - 12:33 pm.

    Bring on the bottle rockets…

    …as long as the launcher picks up after themselves. That’s the one thing proponents of aerial fireworks never talk about. They make a huge mess. My dad lives down stream from a lake in Northeast Wisconsin. For most of the month of July we pluck spent rocket casings out of the river. I’ve found bright red plastic nose cones miles into the woods months later during deer season. Why do we care about litter and then let people shoot crap into the night with no intention of ever picking it up?

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