TH Police hold community conversation
Prevent and be proactive—those were the themes of the Community and Police Awareness Meeting last Tuesday at the Law Enforcement Center in Two Harbors. The city police force was on hand to talk about efforts to curb crime and answer the community’s questions.
Chief Kevin Ruberg and Assistant Chief Rick Hogenson led the meeting, telling the crowd about how police activity has changed in the last year.
“Proactive is really something we’re trying to push for this community,” Hogenson said.
To that end, they’ve installed some surveillance cameras in high-offense areas, such as the Two Harbors Breakwall, reinstated DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) in area schools and urged the public to call police when they see something suspicious.
“I think we’re doing a pretty good job of moving the city forward in a positive direction,” Ruberg said.
Of the calls to which the police department responds, animal disturbances, medical issues and suspicious activities are most common. They also noted that scams targeting the elderly increased this year.
The officers made 1,791 traffic stops, 25 of which were DWIs. The average blood alcohol content for a DWI was .17—more than two times the legal limit.
Hogenson and Ruberg said they’ve been focusing on connecting with kids, which has included purchasing a “Safety Pup” mascot costume. Safety Pup attends big events like Heritage Days.
Finally, the officers said they’ve been focusing on drug and alcohol abuse in the city—including prescription pills and heroin, which they said are significant problems.
Above all, Ruberg said, if you have concerns, always report them to police. If it’s not an emergency, you can call the police department at 834-5566.
“So many times we get a phone call (and people say) ‘Gee I hate to bother you,’...but, we’re here for you. Your tax dollars pay for us. You really need to call. Even if it’s nothing, let us make that determination,” Ruberg urged.
Police prepare for annual May seatbelt enforcement effort
In the last three years on Minnesota roads, there have been 864 traffic deaths. A total of 352 of these deaths were among drivers and passengers who were not wearing seatbelts, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety.
There were 30 teen motor vehicle occupant deaths in April, May and June during the past three years and 63 percent of those killed were not buckled up. In an effort to reduce these numbers, Minnesota officers, deputies and troopers will be working together during the annual Click It or Ticket seat belt and child passenger seat enforcement project May 20-June 2.
“We would rather have everyone buckled up correctly than to have to stop and cite you or deal with you as a crash victim later,” says State Patrol Lt. Jason Hanson of Duluth.
Officers will be stopping and citing drivers and passengers who are not buckled up correctly. Back seat passengers and children are expected to be properly buckled, also.
“Even though we have an over-all seat belt use rate of 94 percent, more than half of the vehicle occupants killed in crashes in Minnesota each year are not buckled up. These are preventable deaths and injuries which cost our communities greatly in medical assistance, emergency response costs and increased insurance premiums,” said Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston.
Forest Service contractor killed by falling tree
A 59-year-old Wayzata, Minn., man died from injuries suffered Thursday afternoon when a tree he was felling landed on him.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office identified him Friday afternoon as Douglas Raymond Harris. The accident occurred on the Birch Lake Road just north of the Birch Lake Campground and was reported at 12:42 p.m. last Thursday.
The Lake and St. Louis county sheriff’s offices, local first responders and Ely Ambulance were called to the scene. Harris, who was working as a contract employee for the Superior National Forest, was transported to Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.