Rochester top cop: Yes, we have military-grade equipment but we rarely use it

Rochester’s police chief has brought some Minnesota sensibility to the issue of police militarization. Sure, when the Pentagon was giving away 600 armored vehicles last year, Rochester and Olmsted County teamed up to get one. But there’s a difference between Rochester and the scenes on TV from Ferguson, Missouri – Rochester’s MRAP has never been used and likely won’t be used in similar situations, reports Kay Fate of the Rochester Post Bulletin. Police Chief Roger Peterson and Sheriff Dave Mueller have no illusions about when to use their MRAP, or mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle armored vehicle. “When we’re responding to a barricaded, armed suspect, that’s when an armored vehicle comes into play directly. That would be an instance when it’s appropriate” to use. Peterson continues: “When you need (an armored vehicle), it’s really indispensable. It may be hard for people to understand: You have this huge armored vehicle, but you might only use it twice a year. Well, yes, but if you can not have someone shot twice a year, then that’s a really good investment.” He says the key is to use the vehicle judiciously. Law enforcement’s job is to keep the peace, and “you don’t do that by simply intimidating people or with that overwhelming show of force. That might keep the peace, but then we’ve defeated our purpose. We’re no longer policing, we’re actually subduing, and that’s a far different thing.”

The LaCrosse Tribune is reporting a spike in methamphetamine use in response to a price hike in heroin. “Local law enforcement saw meth use rise again in mid-2013 when heroin prices ballooned. Heroin can fetch up to $280 per gram; meth sells for as little as $50 to $100 for the same quantity, said La Crosse police Sgt. Andrew Dittman, who heads the department’s narcotics unit. La Crosse police in the first half of this year arrested 113 people for possessing, selling or making meth, up from just 41 arrests during the same period in 2013,” the newspaper reported.

It was move-in weekend at St. Cloud State University, and police, deputies and campus cops made a show of force in the city’s campus area over the weekend, reports David Unze of the St. Cloud Daily Times. The result? Thirty people were booked at Stearns County Jail last weekend on a variety of charges, and 223 were issued citations – an increase from the 59 citations last year. “The bulk of the citations were for underage alcohol consumption, having open alcohol containers in the street and for noise violations and loud parties,” Unze wrote. He printed an exhaustive list of the citations, and here are a few highlights: Under 21 consumption: 100; open container street/sidewalk: 64; possession of alcohol (under 21): 3; possession of drug paraphernalia: 3; noise violation – loud party: 32; failure to leave a loud party: 2; fleeing on foot: 5; urinating in public: 6; obstructing legal process: 9; false information to police: 3.

State archaeologist Scott Anfinson says a site to be excavated in September near Odessa could prove to be one of the earliest occupied sites since the big flood that created the Minnesota River Valley, writes Tom Cherveny of the West Central Tribune. Most archaeological work in the Minnesota River Valley has involved sites atop the river bluffs because the lowland sites are more difficult to find and work, Anfinson said. But using money from the Legacy Amendment, the state can bring in a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists, geomorphologists and paleoecologists to examine the Odessa site. The site was originally discovered in the 1970s as part of survey work involved with the development of the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, Cherveny writes, and a fluted projectile point was discovered there in the 1970s. This suggests the site could have been inhabited 12,000 years ago or earlier, when mastodons and other megafauna would have been hunted.

A lightning strike blasted the back of a brick building on Superior Street in Duluth Sunday night, causing the chimney to collapse and allow copious amounts of rain into the building, writes Brady Slater of the Duluth News Tribune. The building houses Architecture Advantage. Its’ owner, Melissa Graftaas, said rainwater “filtered through apartments on the second and third floors,” and described it as “raining” over the company’s work stations on the main floor. The water never reached more than half-inch to an inch deep, but dozens of carpet tiles were ruined. A half-dozen computers probably were ruined, but two others survived. The company’s main computer server was OK, and backup systems keep updated data saved nightly. 

White-nose syndrome is killing a lot of bats, and it soon may chill Minnesota’s logging industry as well. Crystal Dey of the Bemidji Pioneer writes that experts may place the Northern Long Eared Bat on the federal endangered species list. Richard Moore, Beltrami County Director of Resource Management, said white-nose syndrome has spread to 25 states. Bats produce one pup a year with a span of two weeks to a month where they can’t fly. If the Northern Long Eared Bat is added to the endangered species list, killing one of the bats would be illegal. Loggers will need to inspect any tree 3 inches in diameter or larger for a maternal bat colony before harvesting the timber between April and September, adversely affecting the industry’s already short season. The Northern Long Eared Bat nests in at least 35 species of trees. “It would affect everyone in the forest product business,” Moore said. A decision from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be made in April. Public comments are being accepted through Aug. 29 online at www.regulations.gov.

Here’s an entry from the Brainerd Dispatch. Let’s just quote it verbatim: “INTOXICATED – A report at 2:47 p.m. Sunday of an intoxicated man sitting on a barstool in the middle of Centre Street in Royalton holding a sign and impeding traffic. Deputies responded and the man eventually admitted that he was sitting on a barstool in the middle of the road holding a picture of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. He said he was protesting because he believed Stewart retired from NASCAR after he recently hit and killed another race car driver. The man was advised to not do it again.”

Emily Welker of the Fargo Forum has the story of a Moorhead woman who is “accused of breaking into the home of her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s girlfriend and, with the help of several other people, beating up all the people who were there, including her husband’s girlfriend. … One of the women told police the three came back to the apartment for breakfast after an evening out, and that a woman, Nicole Denise Longoria, 28, and several of her friends were there. … The woman dating Longoria’s estranged husband said Longoria came into the apartment, breaking in the front door, grabbed her and started punching her in the head with her closed fists. Other people were stomping on her head with their feet, she told officers.” Court documents say one of the victims shot a cellphone video that “allegedly shows Longoria grabbing one of the women, throwing her down on the kitchen floor, then kicking her in the left side of the head three times before turning on the other woman and punching her several times in the head. Moorhead officers interviewed Longoria, who allegedly at first told them she was intoxicated at the time of the incident and didn’t remember anything. She then told officers she ‘just snapped’ that night, admitting to officers it was her in the video assaulting the two women, according to court documents.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by David Frenkel on 08/26/2014 - 03:56 pm.

    MRAP’s are not toys and to seldom use them sounds like a waste of training and maintenance money. MRAP’s are not easy to drive and are expensive to maintain. Why do you think the DOD wants to get rid of them?

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/26/2014 - 05:40 pm.

    They’re rarely using their combat equip. Super. Send it back.

  3. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 08/26/2014 - 07:48 pm.

    Rarely Use Them

    They rarely use all the military equipment, so basically they just sit in the garage to be admired. There’s your tax dollars at work, folks: armored cars that serve no useful purpose on a daily basis, but are there just in case you get uppity.

    Someone save us from ourselves.

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