EPPD Analyst Ryan Kapaun talks to STRIVE students

This morning students from Eden Prairie High School’s STRIVE program visited the Police Department and other city departments to learn more about careers in local government. STRIVE is a Rotary-sponsored mentoring program for high potential students who face obstacles with college and career planning. There are 40 students in the program in 11th and 12th grades. Each student is matched with an adult mentor who helps guide them during their junior and senior years in high school. These students are often first generation college students who need additional guidance and support to successfully navigate high school and planning for life after graduation.

While at City Center today, the students rotated through seven different career stations: Park Maintenance, Fire/Building Inspector, Engineering Technician, Assessor, Water Treatment Operator, Crime Analyst and Dispatcher. At each station, city staff members gave a brief presentation on their positions and then took questions from the students.

We enjoyed having the students visit us and hope to do it again in the future!

Mail Theft on the Prairie

The EPPD has received a number of mail theft reports in the past couple of months that in some cases have led to financial fraud. In one case, a new credit card had been mailed to a home, stolen from a mailbox, then activated and used.

In other cases, homeowners had placed bills with checks in their mailboxes and put the flag up on their mailboxes, only to find that the mail had been stolen, and the checks had been cashed and cleared by their banks.

The good news is that one suspect has been arrested for mail theft and counterfeit checks for 20 cases in the metro area, including four in Eden Prairie that occurred in late February. The bad news is there are more thieves out there waiting to take his place.

The best way to prevent mail theft is to NEVER put checks in an unsecured mailbox. Instead, bring checks that need mailing to the post office or a secured blue postal box.

Other tips from the postal service include:

  • Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you’re expecting checks, credit cards or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
  • If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
  • Sign up for the United States Postal Service’s newly launched Informed Delivery program where you can get images of the mail that will be placed in your mailbox each day.
  • If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
  • Don’t send cash in the mail.
  • Tell your post office when you’ll be out of town so they can hold your mail until you return.

And finally, if you see suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood that you suspect may be casing mailboxes, call 911 and give dispatchers as much information as possible about the suspects and vehicles, including license plate numbers.

Congratulations Officer Streiff!

This morning Officer Chad Streiff received a Top Enforcer Award from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) at its Statewide Recognition Award Ceremony. Officer Streiff received the award for the high number of DWI arrests, 76 people, he made in 2016. In total, 255 people were arrested in Eden Prairie for DWI in 2016.

Although DWI arrest numbers in Eden Prairie have slowly declined over time, drunk driving continues to be an issue in our community and others. According to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety, in 2015 there were 107 impaired-related traffic deaths statewide, which accounted for 25% of all traffic deaths. More than 600,000 licensed drivers in Minnesota have been arrested for DWI, which translates to one in nine persons.

In Eden Prairie we remain committed to preventing drunk driving in our community and appreciate the efforts of Officer Streiff, and all of our officers, in getting drunk drivers off of our streets.

Celebrating a Friend to EPPD K-9s

Douglas Wright and Lucy Mattson in front of a plaque honoring their father, Dr. John Wright

A veterinarian who was instrumental in starting the Eden Prairie Police Department K-9 program passed away last fall, and today, members of his family generously donated part of his estate to continuing the work of the EPPD K-9 Unit.

Dr. John Wright opened the Wright Animal Hospital in Eden Prairie in 1954. While he initially worked with large farm animals, his practice evolved into serving smaller animals including dogs.

In 1981 Dr. Wright helped establish the EPPD’s K-9 Unit and provided free veterinary services to the department’s K-9s for 10 years, until his retirement in 1991. During that time, one of his patients was current Chief Jim DeMann’s K-9, Champ. Chief DeMann remembers Dr. Wright as a steadfast supporter of the K-9 program who was kind, compassionate and professional. Upon his retirement in 1991, the EPPD recognized Dr. Wright’s work by giving him the department’s Award of Merit.

When Dr. Wright passed away in September 2016 at age 90, his family wanted to honor his commitment to the EPPD K-9 program. They reached out to Chief DeMann and arranged to donate $15,000 to the Eden Prairie Crime Prevention Fund for the purpose of funding non-budgeted items needed for the K-9 Unit.

Crime Prevention Fund Chair Lisa Toomey, Lucy Mattson, Officer Jenny Ficcadenti, K-9 Jace, Douglas Wright, Chief Jim DeMann

At this morning’s Crime Prevention Fund meeting, two of Dr. Wright’s children, Lucy and Douglas, presented a check for $15,000. A plaque with Dr. Wright’s photo was hung in the EPPD lobby commemorating his legacy. Officer Jenny Ficcadenti and her K-9 partner Jace were on hand to thank Dr. Wright’s family.

A portion of the donation will be used to repair and replace K-9 training equipment, while the rest has yet to be earmarked.

Thank You Dispatchers!

Every day our Eden Prairie dispatchers serve as the first point of contact for people who need emergency services. They counsel frantic callers, coordinate resources to large incident scenes and provide immediate and comprehensive information to officers in the field. Their ability to multitask, effectively communicate and remain calm, sometimes under extreme pressure, is imperative to keeping both officers and residents safe.

During National Telecommunicators Week, we’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the 14 hard-working dispatchers who staff Eden Prairie’s 911 Dispatch Center 24/7/365. In Eden Prairie we have our own 911 Dispatch Center that handles all police, fire and ambulance calls in the city. In addition, our dispatchers manage non-emergency calls after regular business hours such as broken water mains, urgent road repairs and malfunctioning signal lights. In 2016, Dispatchers answered 50,744 non-emergency and 911 calls.

Dispatchers play a vital role in public safety. They work around the clock, oftentimes missing holidays, birthdays, family functions and school activities to ensure that emergency assistance is provided. We are fortunate to have a dedicated, professional group of dispatchers who help keep our community safe and we are happy to honor them this week.