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June 1, 2020

3/19/2020 2:38:00 PM
Lakes Area Police crimes, services on a gradual rise

The four members on the Lakes Area Police Commission heard last week that part one and part two crime incidents are up slightly from 2018.  Lindstrom City Council member AnnMarie Brink’s successor, Laurie Burington, attended her first session.  Brink resigned due to a change in residence.

The chief’s 2019 annual report stated crimes alleged against persons (homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, arson, vehicle theft) went up one percent. Crimes against property or were a violation of a law;  which includes fraud, vandalism, weapons, possessing, buying, selling storlen property, DUI, family offenses--went up three percent.

The department took 6,443 calls in 2019 for service. This can be everything from reporting a bad driver, or a barking dog to a crime in progress, coming across a break-in or fire.

Calls continue to be shared pretty evenly (46 Lindstrom to Chisago City 49 percent) between the two cities in the LAPD service area.  (Calls to schools aren’t counted as generated by the population of one city or the other and there were calls outside the service area.) The department’s budget is split 50-50 so where officers are sent and locations of incidents are tracked closely.

Chief of Police Bill Schlumbohm said the hire of a part time officer approved last year hasn’t been completed yet, as scheduling issues and best use of the officer is being worked out.  

Meanwhile, Officer Larson, hired a year ago, was approved to come off interim status and is now a fulltime, regular officer.

The patrol division has a fulltime strength at eight. There is one fulltime detective in the felonies investigation division.  When two School Resource Officers rotate back into the department in summer, with school not in session, the investigations get a manpower boost.

Chief Schlumbohm said the police departments in Chisago County schedule times when all the school resource officers can get together with social workers and those in juvenile courts  programming  to  learn from each other and  network.

Progress on new headquarters?
As for the new lakes Area Police offices,  proposed to go on a parcel next to the Chisago City Fire Hall on Karmel Avenue, the design phase is on hold right now.  Schlumbohm said he will attend a chiefs’ conference annually held in April,  and he expects to meet informally with architects who attend this event.  He said this way potential firms are all in one place and he can speak with designers and get proposals and ideas from those who have experience doing law enforcement projects.

The Police Commission okayed moving forward on getting an early layout and estimating square footage needs for a new LAPD  main office in January (story Press Jan.18).  

The current  Lindstrom City Hall space is insufficient for department operations.  When Lakes Area Police Department was established in 2003,  bringing Chisago City Police and Lindstrom Police together, the office space was meant to suffice for the short term.  

After recent review of a few potential new sites, the commission felt the publicly-owned property by the fire hall was most centrally located and presented the best potential.

The 2019 audit was presented by Abdo Eick and Meyers LLP representative Justin Nelson.  The department “...overall had a pretty good year,” he said.  Revenues outpaced expenses, even considering a couple of insurance payments for deer-damaged squads.
Aside from recommending the commission note in its meeting minutes when electronic fund transfers are approved (with claims) Nelson said the audit found no glaring issues.

The LAPD spent (General Fund) about $1.58 million last year and revenues were about $1.64 million.

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