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Shakopee police earn international leadership award in victim services

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has awarded the Shakopee Police Department its 2018 Leadership in Victim Services Award for small agencies (50 officers or fewer). This prestigious award honors departments that best exemplify an organizational philosophy of placing victims at the center of their problem-solving efforts, utilizing effective partnerships and employing training methods and performance monitoring tools to enhance law enforcement’s response to victims of crime.

“We are honored to be recognized once again by the International Association of Chiefs of Police,” said Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate. The Shakopee Police Department received IACP’s Excellence in Community Policing Award in 2015. “This award is a testament to the excellent work of our victim and community services coordinator and our exceptional department staff.”

Improving victim services has been an ongoing effort of the department. In 2015, the department added a full-time position – victim and community services coordinator – dedicated to assisting victims of crime, not just for domestic violence and sexual assault, but also theft, identity theft, fraud, scams and homicides. At the time, the position was unique for departments Shakopee’s size, especially as it is fully funded by the City of Shakopee and not reliant on any grant dollars.

“Our Victim and Community Services Coordinator Barb Hedstrom has done a phenomenal job serving as a resource for crime victims and acting as a liaison between victims, the police and criminal justice system,” Tate said. “Her work extends beyond our department as she is active in the community and has built numerous partnerships with residents, businesses and community organizations.”

Shakopee’s victim services program is an essential part of the department's everyday practices, Tate said. All police officers receive education on victim rights, services and resources, so they are better trained in helping victims.

“Ensuring our department is victim-centered is the responsibility of all our staff,” Tate said. “This award is truly an honor and evidence of our department’s commitment to serving this community with integrity and professionalism.”

The Shakopee Police Department has 48 sworn officers and 13 support staff serving a growing population of 41,000 residents. The department will be recognized at the IACP annual conference Oct. 9 in Orlando, Fla.


Thousand pay respect to officer Joseph Gomm

Thousands of people, from fellow corrections officers and law enforcement to complete strangers, took time Thursday to pay their respects and offer tributes to Officer Joseph Gomm.  His family had wondered whether he really would have wanted a large funeral service and police procession. But Shawn Yurich, a friend and colleague, told mourners Joe would approve of 'whatever' family and friends needed to heal.

Gomm was killed after an inmate attack at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater. He was the first corrections officer to be killed while on duty, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

“Joe was a man of incredible authenticity, profound integrity and immense compassion,” said Stillwater prison chaplain Martin Shanahan who presided over the service.  

The Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association worked with the Gomm family and Minnesota Department of Corrections to coordinate the  service.  That included an honor guard, bagpipe band, firing line, bugler, flag folding and a horse-drawn caisson.

Watch a video tribute to Officer Gomm
Obituary: Joseph Gomm
Gomm Family GoFundMe Page

Marie Ridgeway


Marie Ridgeway currently leads MCPA's new series Conflict Management, Mediation and Crisis Intervention.  She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is currently an independently licensed Clinical Social Worker and psychotherapist in private practice. Ridgeway is also a Health Officer for Hennepin County where she responds to mental health crisis calls and provides mobile mental health crisis assessments. Please see attached license and badge.

In a recent interview for Minnesota Police Chief magazine, she talks about her interest in teaching the series and how it will benefit law enforcement officers:


Why are you passionate about helping law enforcement learn these skills?

My passion for this work comes from seeing officers, colleagues, and clients struggle in crisis situations. I have worked alongside police for years as a social worker in Child Protection and as a Mobile Mental Health Crisis Responder. I know I wouldn’t be able to do my job as a social worker without the help of police because some situations are too risky to approach or remain in without the assistance of law enforcement. As someone who has spent my career studying and treating mental health, I know my own limitations when working with those who are in crisis and when I reach those limits, I call for help from police. At the same time, law enforcement often ends up being the default response for individuals at the height of a mental health crisis when they could really benefit from a clinician’s expertise. As social workers, we often have the advantage of scheduling meetings with clients, the assistance of additional information from collaterals, and often even their histories related to treatment and criminal convictions. For police, the deck is stacked against them having to respond in the moment with only a snippet of information from dispatch and many (potentially dangerous) unknowns. Until now, very little crisis intervention training has been provided to officers, and, from the outside, the public doesn’t hesitate to criticize quickly, question integrity, and make harsh judgments in hindsight.
Personally, my passion stems from having a family member who was able to accept help and turn their life around in part due to compassionate and knowledgeable intervention from a couple of police officers at a pivotal moment of crisis. I also have loved ones who are police officers, and better understanding of what it’s like for them has given me even more respect and consideration of the challenges we hand to our police.  I’ve never met a police officer who wasn’t motivated by just wanting to help people, and even beyond that, they are willing to risk their own safety to do so.

I truly believe that the combination of the many differing skills between social work and law enforcement is the future of both careers because of how we mutually benefit each other and those we serve.

How will law enforcement officers and the citizens they serve benefit from this training?
Law enforcement officers will benefit from this training because it is meant to give them additional knowledge and skills that make their jobs a little easier. Information that helps officers assess the situation and intervene can help with safety and efficiency. If it’s easier to tell what kind of crisis the person is having, it’s easier to know what to do to help. And if people are directed to the best options with the right information, they are less likely to be a repeat call. If they do continue to need help, a helpful experience with police will likely bring a greater sense of ease during the next police interaction. Citizens can benefit from more informed assessment and direction from officers, and the likelihood goes up that a person is going to get the kind of help they need.

As it is, the strains of having to act as the default mental health crisis care takes a toll on officers because they are being asked to do something that is outside their realm of expertise. It can be very time consuming to sort out all the issues when calls are stacking up. But as I teach in my classes, the first 3 minutes of the interaction with the person in crisis can save time and headaches in the long run if you can slow things down and use some of the skills we learn.

 Why is it critical for law enforcement to have a better understanding of mental health?

It is critical for law enforcement to have a better understanding of mental health because we have really good people in LE doing an incredibly difficult job well, but the pressure is high and training and resources are limited. The job can cause a significant physical and mental strain on any person over time, especially in the current climate, and one of the worst outcomes is that officers will leave if we don’t give them the right tools to do their jobs. The reality is that a high percentage of calls that officers respond to involve people who are having a mental health crisis, the jails are full of people with mental illness, and individuals in crisis will continue to call the police for help no matter how many gaps we try to fill in our system. When we know more we can do more and I’m happy to be helping out in any way that I can. 



Officer Joseph Gomm


Joseph Brian Gomm, age 45 of Blaine, gave his life in the ultimate line of service on July 18, 2018.   Survived by his mother, Gloria Gomm; brothers, Ken (Mary) Shuey, Norman Gomm Jr., and Anthony Gomme; sisters, Angela (George) Wood and Audrey (Chris) Cone; several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins; his loving friend, Denise Vician; special friends, Tom and Vicki Chronakos, Rich Rauschen Dorfer and his many correctional officers and colleagues.  Joe enjoyed cooking, playing online video games, and had a love of animals.  His quick witty demeanor will be missed by all. 

Visitation Wednesday, July 25th from 3-8 PM.  Funeral Service 11 AM Thursday, July 26th (visitation 10-11AM) at NORTH HEIGHTS LUTHERAN CHURCH 1700 W. Hwy 96 Arden Hills.   Interment following at Roselawn Cemetery. 

Special thanks to all of our corrections family members who have spent countless hours standing vigil.  Memorials preferred to the Joseph Gomm Memorial Fund C/O BMO Harris Bank 1520 – 190th Ave., NE., Blaine, MN 55449




ETI 2019 will be held in St. Cloud


APRIL 14 - 17, 2019


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