Recognizing Outstanding Work

Yesterday the City of Eden Prairie held its Spring Employee Recognition Event where employee award recipients, new employees and employees celebrating milestone employment anniversaries were recognized. Eight EPPD employees were recognized for their years of service, including Sgt. Brent DuPont and Lt. Bill Wyffels, who have each served the City for 30 years.

In addition, three EPPD employees received “EPy” Awards for their work in the past year. Investigative Aide Pauline Sager and Officer Chad Streiff were each awarded the City Manager’s Quality Award, which is given to employees who have performed at a high level of productivity and quality that regularly exceed normal expectations. Detective Travis Serafin received the Mayor Jean L. Harris Award for Community Service.

Investigative Aide Sager received the award for her work creating two uniform financial fraud information packets, one for victims and a corresponding set of guidelines for law enforcement. The packet for victims provides specific steps on how to report a financial crime, close compromised accounts and manage credit reports. The packet for law enforcement includes specific checklists for officers taking the calls and investigators who are assigned to the cases. These guidelines were adopted by the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, and have resulted in the streamlining of the process for both law enforcement and victims.

Officer Streiff received the City Manager’s Quality Award for his commitment to getting impaired drivers off the road. In the three years he has worked for the EPPD, Officer Streiff has arrested 207 people for DWI. Officer Streiff was not appointed to be a DWI high performer – it is a role he chose for himself and works hard at. He chooses a shift schedule that allows him to have the greatest opportunity to arrest drunk drivers. His passion, experience and keen observation skills help him detect a high number of potentially impaired drivers.

Detective Serafin received his award for the community service he provides to his home community of Waconia. There, Detective Serafin has been involved in the Waconia youth athletic community for five years. In particular, he has volunteered extensively with the girls hockey program, helping to promote and build it. In addition to coaching, he has served as an assistant coach for Waconia’s Rookie Hockey Camp for girls and boys for five years. Detective Serafin has also coached girls softball for four years and soccer for two years.

We would like to congratulate Investigative Aide Sager, Officer Streiff, Detective Serafin and the other EPPD staff who were recognized for their accomplishments.

Awarding Good Deeds

Lt. Matt Sackett, Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens, Dr. Rosa Seim, Shane Caughey, Chief Jim DeMann, Jodi Lannom, Khloe Lannom, Lucia Duggan, Emma Mayer

Last night Chief Jim DeMann awarded six civilians with Police Department awards for their roles in helping the victims of a serious car crash Jan. 22, 2018. Dr. Rosa Seim and Shane Caughey received the EPPD’s Commendation Award, and Jodi Lannom, Khloe Lannom, Lucia Duggan and Emma Mayer received Letters of Recognition.

Here is an excerpt from the award letter:

On the morning of January 22, 2018, an SUV traveling eastbound on Hwy. 5 in heavy snow and limited visibility was struck by a westbound car that had crossed the median. The eastbound vehicle held a mother and her three children ages eight, five and three. There was only one person in the westbound vehicle.

Before emergency personnel arrived on the scene, several vehicles stopped to help the victims. Retired emergency medicine Dr. Rosa Seim made contact with all of the people involved in the crash in order to triage them and then directed other citizens in administering emergency care to the victims. She also provided critical information to the responding emergency personnel on the status of the victims.

Shane Caughey, a firefighter with the Maple Lake Fire Department, stopped to help and was directed by Dr. Seim to stabilize the neck and airway of the unconscious driver of the westbound vehicle. Doing so allowed the driver to start breathing again. Mr. Caughey stayed on the scene assisting with the injured driver for an hour.

Jodi Lannom was driving with her daughter Khloe and friends Lucia Duggan and Emma Mayer when they came upon the accident. Ms. Lannom offered to take the uninjured 8-year-old from the eastbound vehicle into her own car to keep him safe and warm. She and the three girls stayed at the scene for nearly an hour, distracting the boy by talking and playing games with him inside the car.

The mother in the eastbound vehicle sustained multiple injuries including two broken hands. The 5-year-old had significant facial lacerations requiring stitches and the 3-year-old suffered a concussion. All three were transported by ambulance to the hospital.

This was a horrific crash that had a dramatic impact on many people. Thanks to the Good Samaritans who stopped to help, the victims were cared for immediately.

500th Juvenile Diversion Conference

In 2017, two 14-year-old girls were stopped for shoplifting at Eden Prairie Center. The officer investigating the case and the store’s security officer agreed that the girls should be referred to the EPPD’s juvenile diversion program where, in lieu of going to court, first-time young offenders who have committed minor crimes meet with people impacted by their crime.

At the meeting, the incident is discussed and all parties are asked for their thoughts on what happened. At the end of each conference a contract is agreed upon by all in attendance which the offender must complete prior to an agreed upon deadline. Dispositions from juvenile diversion conferences typically include both restitution and community service.

At this particular conference, the girls and their parents met with a representative from the store, along with one of the EPPD’s juvenile diversion officers. As the incident was discussed, one of the girls shared that she was struggling with depression. As a result, her diversion contract included a commitment to attend therapy sessions arranged by her parents.

The second girl divulged that although she had initially told her parents that the shoplifting incident was isolated, in reality she had committed previous thefts in other malls. Consequently, her contract included restitution to various stores and written letters of apology. Through the diversion process, the girl’s family became aware of a much larger theft problem which may not have been revealed had she gone through the court system instead.

The EPPD’s juvenile diversion program was started in 2006. At the end of February 2018, the program conducted its 500th family conference.  During that time, the conferences covered 677 cases involving 958 offenders. The recidivism rate for offenders who have gone through the program is approximately 12%, which is below the national average of 20% for teenagers. Diversion is designed as a one-time offering and juveniles are warned that if they re-offend, they will need to appear in Hennepin County juvenile court.


Enough is Enough

Enough is enough. That is the theme for this year’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving is a factor in 1 of 4 crashes each year in Minnesota. From 2012 – 2016, distracted driving contributed to an average of 59 deaths and 233 serious injuries per year on Minnesota roads.

Last September, Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews was struck and killed by a distracted driver while he was patrolling on Hwy. 12. In honor of Officer Mathews, and in order to bring attention to the serious problem of distracted driving, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Towards Zero Deaths campaign has organized officers from law enforcement agencies across the state, including Eden Prairie, to look for distracted drivers on Hwy. 12 from Minneapolis west all the way to South Dakota on Tuesday, April 17.

Under Minnesota’s “No Texting” law, it is illegal for drivers to read, send texts and emails and access the internet while the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. This includes when you are sitting at a stoplight, stopsign or in traffic. A first offense costs $50 plus court fees. Second and subsequent offenses are $275 plus court fees. If you injure or kill someone because of texting and driving, you can face a felony charge of criminal vehicular operation or homicide.

Thank You Eden Prairie Dispatchers!

If you are having an emergency and call 911, what you want on the other end of the line is someone who can keep you calm while you explain your emergency, who asks you appropriate, clarifying questions about the situation, and who reassures you that help is on the way. That is exactly what you’ll get when you call 911 in Eden Prairie.

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and in honor of that, we’d like to publicly thank the 13 EPPD dispatchers who help keep our residents, officers and firefighters safe. In any given year, Eden Prairie averages approximately 50,000 calls for service, ranging from loose dogs and noise complaints to house fires and homicides.

Dispatchers must be able to multitask at a high level while remaining calm. 911 callers are often distraught and may have trouble articulating exactly what they need. Our dispatchers are trained to quickly assess each situation and make sure sufficient resources arrive at the scene, including paramedics, the state patrol, helicopters, police K-9s, the medical examiner’s office and other police departments.

Because Eden Prairie has its own Dispatch Center, our dispatchers know the City inside and out — the parks, roads, people, shopping areas, schools, etc. As a result, they can provide customized service for each call they receive. In addition to 911 calls, Eden Prairie dispatchers also manage non-emergency calls after regular business hours, such as broken water mains, urgent road repairs and malfunctioning signal lights.

Here in Eden Prairie, 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.