Thank You Mechanics!

Some of the City’s talented and hardworking mechanics

It takes a lot of people working behind the scenes to make the EPPD the high-functioning department it is. One of those groups is the City’s Fleet Services Division. This group of talented and hardworking mechanics maintains all City vehicles including those in the Police Department’s fleet. In 2016, EPPD vehicles traveled a total of 714,180 miles. The City’s mechanics make sure we’re driving the safest possible cars while we’re logging those miles.

The mechanics order our vehicles from the manufacturers, do routine maintenance on our squad cars, fix the occasional dings and add specialized equipment when we need it. They are incredibly easy to work with and come up with creative and cost-effective solutions when we’re stumped with a vehicle problem.

As a way to show our appreciation, last Friday several officers cooked and served a chili dog lunch for the mechanics at their shop. We are fortunate to have them on our team and are grateful for all they do to keep us safe while we work.

Officer Streiff is an All-Star

EPPD Officer Chad Streiff

Last night EPPD Officer Chad Streiff was honored for his commitment to keeping drunk drivers off our streets.

In May, Officer Streiff was named to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s DWI Enforcer All-Star Team based on the high number of DWI arrests he made in 2016. Officer Streiff was honored along with the rest of the DWI All-Star officers from other jurisdictions during pregame festivities at last night’s Minnesota Twins game.

Officer Streiff, who joined the EPPD in July 2014, made 76 DWI arrests in 2016. He was also named to last year’s team in recognition of his 49 DWI arrests in 2015.

Thank you to Officer Streiff and the other DWI All-Stars for helping to keep our streets safe from drunk drivers!

Animal Rescues

In the past week EPPD Community Service Officers (CSOs) experienced two unique animal rescues.

First, on Wednesday night CSO Spencer Barrie was dispatched to an area of Purgatory Creek where a 911-caller reported a blue heron caught in a net intended to keep carp out of the creek. The water was knee-high so CSO Barrie took off his boots and socks, rolled up his pants and waded into the creek. The heron was not initially cooperative and struggled with CSO Barrie who was eventually able to free it.

The second rescue occurred Sunday night when a woman who had just driven from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie called to say that she thought there was a cat stuck in her car’s engine compartment. CSO Lars Anderson responded to the call and spent the next hour working with the driver and her boyfriend to free the cat from the car. It took them an hour to pull apart the bumper and wheel well and eventually a kitten emerged. It did not belong to the owner of the car so CSO Anderson brought it to an animal shelter.

More Scams

Our dispatch center receives several calls each week from residents who tell us they were scammed, or nearly scammed, by criminals who prey on people’s fears and attempt to exploit them. This week one of our officers received a call on his home phone from someone claiming to be the IRS and demanding money. He declined.

Also this week, an Eden Prairie business received a call from someone claiming to be from Xcel Energy and threatening to cut off the power if they did not provide a credit card number to the caller. Before providing the number, the business contacted Xcel and learned they did not make the call. However, another Eden Prairie business received a similar call last month from someone claiming to be from Xcel and they paid the scammer more than $1,600 in Money Pack Cards.

At the end of June a resident contacted us to say she had been receiving phone calls with the caller ID “911” from a caller stating that the resident needed to send money. Instead she called us and confirmed it was a scam. Earlier last month, an Eden Prairie man received a call from someone stating they were from the IRS and that the resident owed taxes and had to pay a fine, or a warrant would be issued for his arrest. As per the caller’s instructions, the man purchased a $2,000 Target gift card and gave the card’s number to the caller. The man then called Target and learned that the $2,000 had already been redeemed.

A week before that, a woman in outstate Minnesota received a call from someone claiming to be from the Eden Prairie Police Department who stated that the woman’s grandson was in jail and she would need to wire bail money for him. The woman did not comply.

These are just a few examples of the types of scams currently in circulation. Scammers can be tricky and persuasive. They use fear tactics to get people to send money quickly, before there’s a chance to think or do research on the caller’s claim. Often scammers will prey on people who may not be familiar with how our government works. For example, the IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. The IRS has an entire section of their website devoted to educating the public on how to avoid IRS scams.

If you receive a call like those described above, the best thing to do is hang up immediately – do not engage the caller. If you believe you are the victim of a scam, please contact the EPPD at 952-949-6200.

Update on the Opioid Epidemic

Yesterday, a Hennepin County judge found drug dealer Beverly Burrell guilty of third-degree murder in the death of 21-year-old Max Tillitt who died of a heroin overdose on Sept. 25, 2015 in Eden Prairie. Two months ago Burrell was found guilty of third-degree murder in the 2016 death of Luke Ronnei of Chanhassen. She has also been charged in the overdose deaths of three other men, including a man who died in a car in the Eden Prairie Costco parking lot.

Investigators with the EPPD and the Southwest Hennepin County Drug Task Force (SWHDTF) have been aggressively pursuing criminal charges against drug dealers who provide fatal doses of heroin to their customers. Since 2011, 19 people in Eden Prairie have overdosed and 10 of them have died. More than half of these cases occurred in 2016 and 2017.

Home medication disposal bags

The EPPD has been working hard to combat the heroin epidemic, including providing education in 5th-grade CounterAct classes and EPHS health classes. We also provide free home medication disposal bags to residents so they can remove and safely discard unused medications from their homes. We have distributed approximately 3,000 bags since the program started in 2014.

In 2015 we began training all officers how to administer naloxone, a medication given through the nose that reverses the effects of a heroin overdose. In five of the Eden Prairie overdoses mentioned above, naloxone was used to save the victims.

Investigators in Eden Prairie and around the country are beginning to notice traces of fentanyl and carfentanil in heroin, both of which are extremely deadly. Fentanyl is 100-times more potent than heroin and carfentanil is 100-times more deadly than fentanyl. Both are added to heroin because users want a stronger high. One of the Eden Prairie overdose deaths earlier this year has been linked to carfentanil.

Because fentanyl and carfentanil can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled, first responders need to exercise extreme caution when coming in contact with potential opioids. As a result, the EPPD has updated our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) policy to require stronger, multi-layer gloves and breathing masks for officers.

While it may seem an uphill battle at times, the EPPD is committed to fighting the opioid epidemic with all of the resources we have at our disposal.