Community policing helps curb crime in Rush City

Sgt. Jason Foster presents year-end statistics, introduces deputy Grant Kinnamon to City Council

Community policing, a proactive approach in keeping the peace, appears to be putting a dent in crime in Rush City.

Sgt. Jason Foster, the city’s supervisor contact from the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office, presented statistics of the calls and incidents that he and deputies responded to over 2013 during the Jan. 13 City Council meeting.

“Our plan was to reduce burglaries and thefts, so we did more checks on businesses (and other locations) in the community,” he said of a community policing effort that went from 262 checks to 608 this year.

As a result, the number of thefts decreased from 52 in 2012 to 30 last year, and there were fewer burglaries. Most of the thefts were solved, Foster added.

In keeping the roads safe, officers kept busy with traffic stops and wrote 461 citations — 100 more than 2012. Another increase was the number of arrests, 84, which is 20 more than the year before, he presented.

“We’re pleased with the numbers,” Foster said. “We believe we’re having a positive impact on the community.”

In addition, deputies made anywhere from 15 to 25 stops a week at Rush City schools. The visits ranged from responding to a concern to doing a proactive check, though attempts are being made to make fewer school checks for better balance in the community.

Foster said the Sheriff’s Office has drafted a letter to the school, indicating the protocol between school and officer when a concern arises. The goal is letting the school handle more of the discipline, while the Sheriff’s Office will handle more of the criminal matters, he explained.

Still, “the visibility is good,” Mayor Dan Dahlberg said.

Near the end of Foster’s presentation, Bob Oscarson and fellow members of the council were pleased to hear that snowmobile complaints in town are down.

“The trails are working,” Councilor Michael Louzek said.

Foster said he and officers also have been enforcing city ordinances, particularly those related to junked vehicles on property.

“I’m seeing a difference,” he noted.

At the start of his presentation, Foster introduced Deputy Grant Kinnamon, who started serving Rush City last month and will continue to do so throughout 2014. Meanwhile, Deputy Rick Lonetti will no longer be assigned to the city effective Feb. 1, as he will be moving to a general patrol position. Another deputy will be taking his post starting Feb. 1.

Foster also announced that Sheriff Rick Duncan is planning to run for another four years in this year’s election. If he succeeds, it would be his second term as county sheriff.

Breaking down the 

numbers

On the 2013 year-end statistics, Foster said the number of calls totaled 8,682, while officers responded to 3,540 incidents in 2012.

Breaking it down, he noted there were 859 traffic stops, 84 arrests, 461 citations, 608 incidents of community-oriented policing and 5,272 area checks.

In light of crime, Foster said none were homicide, though there were six rapes, two robberies, eight assaults and eight domestic assaults. Total violent crimes in Rush City numbered 24.

In addition, deputies responded to six burglaries, 30 thefts or instances of forgery, seven reports of damage to property or vandalism and three auto thefts. There were a total of 46 property crimes and 70 other crimes (robbery, assault, etc.).

In a section labeled “other incidents,” which totaled 569, Foster noted there were 85 alarms, 35 accidents, three “simple” assaults, 35 disorderly or disturbance calls, 32 animal complaints, 129 parking complaints, 244 medical calls and six incidents of narcotics.

Communications

The City Council will receive a quarterly newsletter from the Sheriff’s Office. It will provide a brief message from the sheriff and Foster, along with updated data and statistics with quarterly and year-to-date comparisons.

“One of the goals of the Sheriff’s Office this year is to implement Intelligence/Target policing, and the statistical comparison is just one aspect of this approach,” Duncan said in the latest newsletter to the city.

“We take great pride in working the Rush City contract and strive to provide the highest quality law enforcement service anywhere,” Foster noted. “It is a pleasure to work with and get to know the entire city staff. I look forward to many more years working in Rush City.”

In other news, 

the council:

• Learned the IEP company that was interested in purchasing 75 acres of industrial park land for a propane transfer station is no longer interested in the land sale. Previously, the council decided to enter into negotiations with the company. As part of the sale, the council asked if IEP would be willing to construct a road connecting Highway 61 to the industrial park to handle the truck traffic. In an emailed reply, the CEO of the company said, “We are just a bit overwhelmed with the push back on this sale, especially the most recent requests, e.g. building a new road, wanting new restrictions on our use and paying for water and sewer installments.”

• Approved the 2014 official designations and appointments.

• Approved the city of Rush City fee schedule.

• Approved the 2013 Pay Equity Implementation Report.

Announcements

The Rush City Chamber of Commerce 2013 Community Service Award banquet, which is honoring Jim and Ginny Thorn, begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Chucker’s Bowl and Lounge.

The Rush City Economic Development Authority and City Council are scheduled to tour Plastech Corporation Jan. 27.

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