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Executive Director's Report, October 16, 2014


Social Media is a priority at ETI and for Kenyon’s Police Chief

The Executive Training Institute (ETI) is still six months away, but the ETI Committee has done a fantastic job over the past several months designing the curriculum.

Look for more details on the keynote speakers, breakout sessions and networking opportunities in the weeks and months ahead. For now, please mark down the dates April 20-22 (with a special session on April 19) in your calendars. ETI will be in St. Cloud in 2015.

One of the breakout sessions at ETI will address several aspects of social media, something a majority of you told us was an important issue during our member survey in May.

We plan to cover how agencies (large and small) are using it in investigations. We’ll discuss social media policies for officers. And we’ll even address why some agencies are doing away with traditional public forums and throwing their resources behind social media.

This should be a fantastic learning experience.

Kenyon Chief Lee Sjolander is certainly someone all chiefs could learn from when it comes to social media. IACP recently recognized his agency’s Facebook page for having the most “likes” (Facebook's term for people following the site) among departments with 1-5 officers.

We wanted to know how he’s accomplished this, why it’s important to him and what other chiefs could take away from his successful social media strategy.

So, we asked...

Q: Describe how your department uses social media?

A: We use our page to help people. We have found people places to live, household items, jobs, school supplies, coats, we were even able to find someone a free vehicle that they will use to get to work, take their children to appointments, etc. We also use our page to promote our city, share information regarding incidents where we ask for our public’s help in solving cases, and we try to keep them updated on the latest scams.

Continue reading MCPA's social media Q&A with Kenyon Chief Lee Sjolander...


Executive Director's Report, October 9, 2014



I told the Hennepin County Chiefs Association last week that I’ve never been shy about asking questions. In fact, I’ve even been accused once or twice of asking, well, unintelligent questions. Heck, I was a journalist for 15 years. That accusation was leveled against me almost daily! 

In all seriousness, as your Executive Director, I believe I need to be asking lots of questions. Without your input, ideas and opinions, I can’t effectively represent you or the profession. And, as an association, it will be difficult for us to achieve a couple of our new strategic goals: enhancing the MCPA brand and having a greater impact on legislation.

If you’re a regular C-Notes reader, you know that we’re conducting polls weekly. The current poll is on License Plate Reader (LPR) technology, which is an issue that we’re working on right now at the Legislature.

If you haven’t filled out the VERY BRIEF survey, please do. Even if your department doesn't use LPR units, PLEASE fill out the survey. It’s just as important for us to know why you don’t have or want LPR units. Your input will help us tell our story to policymakers.

In the weeks ahead, look for a survey on driving diversion programs. It’s also an issue that we will be working on when the Minnesota Legislature convenes in January 2015.

Our first extensive survey was on the 1033 Military surplus program. As you likely know, President Obama has called for a review of the program following the events in Ferguson, MO.

Close to 95 percent of members who responded to the survey support the program, with 75 percent being highly supportive.

The vast majority of you who filled out the survey also wanted the association to do a better job telling law enforcement’s side of the story. We hear you. We’ll be distributing a press release statewide in the near future as well as sending letters to Minnesota’s Congressional delegation that detail the survey results and explain our position. We’ll, of course, also share the survey results in C-Notes.

Please continue to share your opinions and ideas with us. MCPA’s vision is to be the recognized voice of law enforcement in Minnesota. My goal is to ensure that it’s a collective voice.


Executive Director's Report, October 23, 2014


From ALPRs to Mental Health: What to expect as 2015 legislative session approaches

I told several chiefs at the Region 5 meeting in Baxter, MN this week that our online “interrogations” (a.k.a. member surveys) will continue in C-Notes for the foreseeable future.

I’d apologize for inundating you with questions each week, BUT the information coming in is too valuable. We’re quickly gaining a global view of several key issues that we want to address during the 2015 legislative session.

Thank you for your input. I’m very pleased to report that nearly 150 CLEOs completed the survey over the last four weeks on Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR). We learned several things:

• 16 percent of agencies that responded to the survey have ALPR units
• 96 percent of agencies that have ALPR say the units are either very valuable or somewhat valuable
• Agencies that don’t have ALPR units cite issues with cost, IT integration and a lack of clear state data practices policy.

Clear policy on ALPR's use is just one issue on MCPA's Legislative agenda. We have several more that we believe will either directly or indirectly impact all of you.

First, we anticipate working closely with lawmakers on a model “technology” policy. This would be something modeled after the IACP’s policy, and we’re confident it will be of great benefit to agencies large and small across the state as new technology continues to evolve and change the profession.

We’ll also focus our legislative efforts on other issues that impact many of you, including driving diversion programs, body cameras, traveling data, DWI forfeiture and funding for the Financial Crimes Task Force and Crisis Intervention Training (CIT).

MCPA President Gordon Ramsay’s Mental Health working group has identified finding funding sources for CIT training as one of its top priorities. Here are the minutes from the MCPA group’s meeting in September.

President Ramsay and others on our working group are sharing their ideas and concerns with a much larger group of stakeholders convened by the Department of Human Services (DHS).

The DHS working group is addressing several issues related to offenders with mental illness, including the issue of 72-holds and the revolving door of bringing people to emergency rooms. In the end, we need your input.

Whether it’s at the legislature or with stakeholders, the more feedback we have from members the better we’ll be able to tell our story and shape public policy.


Executive Director's Report, October 30, 2014



IACP Conference: Energized and connected

Minnesota was very well represented at the International Chiefs of Police Association’s (IACP) annual conference this week. We had more than 75 law enforcement leaders from agencies large and small across the state make the trip to Orlando, FL.

I spent a lot of time holed up in a conference room with more than two-dozen Executive Directors from other statewide chiefs associations. Although it may not sound like the most exciting way to spend a weekend in the sunshine state, the experience was invaluable. We shared challenges and discussed solutions.

I flew home with some new ideas to address a few of our burning issues and with some added reassurances that our association is headed in the right direction on several fronts. I also made key connections with other Executive Directors who appear to be having success meeting the needs of their members.

My biggest takeaway from the conference is that we must explore and embrace technology. It’s coming. We can’t avoid it. The Expo Hall at the Orlando Convention Center looked a lot like a HUGE Best Buy showroom floor with one vendor after the next pushing everything from electronic ticket writing to text-a-tip to body-worn cameras.

To address technology's impact on law enforcement, the MCPA Legislative Committee is drafting an overarching technology policy framework that we will present to specific lawmakers for their review and input before the 2015 Legislature convenes in January. We’re also working with Minnesota policymakers to address Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR), body-worn cameras and drones as well as the privacy issues that surround all of these technologies.

Finally, we’re hoping to host a unique, free event where all of you can learn more about emerging technologies in the months ahead. That event is just one idea that came out of the IACP Conference.

Other ideas to take away from IACP relate to enhancing our own annual conference, the Executive Training Institute (ETI), which will be held next year from April 20-22 in St. Cloud. Look for more details on ETI in the weeks and months ahead. But it’s fitting in this day and age that the Committee has selected “Plug-in – The CLEO Connection” as the theme for the conference.

As I said, technology is coming. Actually, it’s here.

Andy Skoogman
Executive Director


Executive Director's Report, November 6, 2014



New faces at the legislature for 2015 session

This week’s elections have changed the political landscape quite a bit in Minnesota. The Republicans now control the House and the Democrats remain in power in both the Senate and the Governor’s office.

What does this mean for us? Frankly, it’s a little unclear and probably too early to say with certainty.

Here's what we know. The biggest turnover from Blue to Red came in rural areas, including the Brainerd Lakes region, west central Minnesota, the Albert Lea area and Pine County.

Between retirements and election turnover, there will be at least 26 newly elected members of the Minnesota house -- 21 Republicans and five Democrats. With the party switch, every committee will have a new chair person. 

If you have a new legislator, please reach out and introduce yourself.  They will likely welcome your input on a wide variety of public safety issues.  If you need their contact information, please let us know or click this directory to find your legislator.

I can tell you that we’re already trying to set up meetings with some of the key players and plan to convene our Legislative Committee later this month. 

In addition, today a handful of Chiefs from around the state are sharing input and ideas with members of a special DHS working group tasked with examining the issue of how the criminal justice system is dealing with the mentally ill. That working group will provide a report, including recommendations, to the 2015 Legislature.

The MCPA has been working with members of this group over the past few months and encouraging them to increase mental health education and training for law enforcement. We’re also hopeful that, at some point, we can meet with hospitals to perhaps develop recommendations around emergency room use and 72-hour holds.

If you haven’t seen our legislative agenda, please click here. You’ll see that our agenda is broad with many issues impacting agencies large and small. And funding for Crisis Intervention Training for officers around the state is a priority.

Finally, if you haven’t filled out our recent survey on the topic of dealing with the mentally ill, please do. (Click here for the survey.) We need your input to help shape both the present discussions and the future policies.  


Andy Skoogman
Executive Director

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