|3/17/2023 11:22:00 AM|
Police Commission honors longtime volunteer
The every-other-month Lakes Area Police Commission meeting last week was a festive gathering celebrating the end of an era, literally, of service from citizen Mark Anderson, Chisago City. He has announced he’s stepping away from the reservist program, but he will still volunteer with city parks and community events.
Chief Schlumbohm said Anderson has been indispensable.
Anderson began volunteering before Lindstrom and Chisago City forces merged, he’s been a Community Service Officer, general volunteer and part of the reserves program.
The Chief said Anderson went beyond providing hours; he brought supplies for volunteers at events and incidents, he stood by at all hours and in bad weather, at scenes needing extra manpower, he monitored evidence, and provided leadership to other volunteers “and never took a dime,” the chief added.
Captain Katie Larson jokingly said she was asked to say a few words as someone providing oversight of the police volunteers program, but where there really was never any need to direct Anderson and she wanted to thank him and Michelle, and his family well.
The other main piece of business was acceptance of the 2022 fiscal audit and report, from Abdo.
The four-member commission (two represent Lindstrom, two represent Chisago City) heard the department had an end of year balance of $483,000. But nine percent of this is “restricted,” with another 86 percent dedicated to capital outlay, and about two percent earmarked for benefits costs. The two cities contributed equally to the approximately $2 million budget.
There are plans for three new patrol cars in 2023. And the capital account is put away for the eventual replacement of the emergency radio equipment. The Chief noted the Emergency Services Board that designates components for the radio system has set a deadline for change-outs and delayed this twice now. Each radio and associated accessories is $5,000.
On the legislative front, Chief Schlumbohm was hearing that the request for a $3 million grant from the state for a new public safety facility is not advancing. The facility would be built near the Chisago City Fire Hall and Public Works campus and is estimated at $9 million. The Chief said there is always a possibility the funding packages may be extended or revised but at this time Lakes Area P.D. is not on the short list.
The police commission hosted visits from state lawmakers on committees that review funding requests, took them to the future facility site and walked members through the substandard spaces the police have now. The commission budgeted $20,000 for annual lobbying services last year and this year, and a lesser amount of city funds covered a mid-year lobbying expense a couple years ago. But, last session— the state bonding bill—which provides the financial support for grants like this went nowhere. This year the bonding items include just one public safety structure, in Hibbing, it was reported.
Lakes Area Police Department is budgeted for eight in the patrol division, two officers also serve during nine months of school as School Resource Officers (district pays these months) and there is one designated detective. There are two police administrative assistants and the Chief. The main office is in Lindstrom City Hall with a branch site for storage and doing reports at Chisago City’s Municipal Building.