We’re Proud of Our Explorers!

fall-conference-duluth-croppedLast weekend the Edina/Eden Prairie Explorer Post competed in the 21st Annual Duluth Law Enforcement Explorer Conference. The team took home first place honors in both Domestic Crisis and Hostage Negotiations and placed third in the First Aid exercise. In addition, Katie Kline, who is also an EPPD Community Service Officer, took first place in the Police Exam.

Explorers are young people aged 14-21 who are interested in law enforcement. They gain working knowledge of the field through hands-on experience including training sessions and volunteering in the community.

Congrats to the entire Explorer Post! We’re proud to have you as part of our team.

Tip a Cop for Special Olympics

Officers Carter Staaf and Andrew Naumann with Special Olympic athletes

Officers Carter Staaf and Andrew Naumann with Special Olympics athletes

Last Saturday EPPD Officers Carter Staaf and Andrew Naumann participated in a fundraiser called Tip-a-Cop that raised money for Special Olympics Minnesota. Officers Staaf and Naumann worked at the Red Robin restaurant in Bloomington along with officers from around the metro area.

During the eight hours officers were at the restaurant, they raised $2,139. Tip-a-Cop was also held at four other Red Robin restaurants in Minnesota. The total amount raised for the five locations in one day was more than $15,000, which goes to support Special Olympics programs in Minnesota.

Law enforcement agencies have a close relationship with Special Olympics. The EPPD helps out with a number of annual Special Olympics fundraising events including the Polar Plunge and Law Enforcement Torch Run. Law enforcement officers are considered to be the guardians of the “Flame of Hope” which is lit during the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics games each summer.

Halloween at the Mall Oct. 31

Captain Greg Weber, Spiderman, Police Chief Jim DeMann

Captain Greg Weber, Spiderman, Police Chief Jim DeMann at the 2015 Halloween at the Mall event

Once again this year, City of Eden Prairie police officers and firefighters will be at Eden Prairie Center on Halloween night to greet trick-or-treaters as part of the “Halloween on the Mall” event, a free and safe way to trick or treat. From 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM, kids can trick or treat at participating mall merchants, enjoy free entertainment in Center Court and meet police officers and firefighters including new Police Chief Jim DeMann.

Kids are welcome to come in costume but please no masks on teens and adults. Eden Prairie Center is located at 8251 Flying Cloud Drive. We hope to see you there!

Prolific Swindler Arrested

handcuffsIn late September 2016, after nearly two years of investigation, a contractor accused of swindling more than $1-million from 14 homeowners was arrested and charged with 28 felony counts – one count of Theft by Swindle and one count of Nonpayment for Improvement for each of the 14 victims.

Four of the victims live in Eden Prairie; the others are from nearby cities. The first case came to light when one of the Eden Prairie homeowners talked to the City’s building inspectors about the trouble they were having getting their contractor, Daniel Baker, to finish home improvements they had already paid for. The building inspectors directed them to Detective Andy Rohde, who has worked on contractor fraud throughout his 27-year career in Eden Prairie.

As Detective Rohde investigated the first case, which originated in 2014, he learned that the homeowners had paid Mr. Baker more than $76,000 for materials and labor for improvements to their basement, but Mr. Baker had only done a fraction of the work promised. He eventually told the homeowners that he didn’t have any more money and wouldn’t be able to finish the job.

The homeowners then began receiving lien notices from subcontractors who had completed work on their home but had not been paid by Mr. Baker. The homeowners had to pay back the subcontractors and find new contractors to finish the basement, essentially doubling the cost of the project.

Through investigation, Detective Rohde found 13 additional homeowners who had nearly identical stories about working with Mr. Baker. After reviewing receipts and bank documents, Detective Rohde concluded that Mr. Baker had swindled $1,065,326 from the 14 homeowners. Court proceedings have begun and if found guilty, Mr. Baker could spend a significant amount of time in jail. Each Theft by Swindle charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine. Each Nonpayment for Improvement charge has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

Congrats Citizens Academy Graduates

?Last night the 22 students of the 2016 EPPD Citizens Academy completed their last session. Citizens Academy is a free six-week class that covers traffic enforcement, use of force, DWI enforcement, 911 Dispatching, the SWAT team and investigations. Citizens Academy is sponsored by the Eden Prairie Crime Prevention Fund.

During this year’s Academy, students had the opportunity to follow a “suspect’s” car using a GPS tracker, learn how to make traffic stops and use a Use of Force simulator to evaluate what type of force to use in video scenarios.

In addition, they met the department’s K-9 teams, went behind the scenes with the department’s 911 dispatchers and tried out the SWAT team’s equipment. The students also learned crisis intervention techniques that officers use when encountering people in mental crisis. A professional actress who has received specialized training in mental health issues served as a role player for the students in crisis situations.

If you’re interested in participating in a future Citizens Academy, watch the department’s blog and Facebook page for registration information.