Pokémon Go Safety

Pokemon GoAs most people are aware, the Pokémon Go craze has struck and people across the world and here in Eden Prairie are getting caught up in this virtual game.

In Eden Prairie we have received several calls regarding suspicious people and vehicles in City parks and other locations that turned out to be Pokémon Go hunters. As a reminder, City parks are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is a violation of city code to be in a City park after hours.

Worldwide, there have been reports of injuries and accidents while playing Pokémon Go, so please use common sense when hunting. Last Thursday two young Pokémon Go hunters in Canada accidentally crossed the U.S. border into Montana where they were detained by the Border Patrol. They were quickly reunited with their mother at the Border Patrol Station.

Here are a few additional Pokémon Go safety tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Be respectful of others around you.
  • Play in pairs or as a group to ensure your safety.
  • Stay alert at night and play in well-lit areas.
  • Do not drive or ride your bike or skateboard while interacting with the app — you can’t do both safely.
  • Do not trespass onto private property or go to areas you normally would not if you weren’t playing Pokémon Go.
  • Tell your kids to be mindful of strangers. The app may draw strangers together in real life at “Pokéstops.”
  • Be aware of third-party software apps claiming to enhance the gaming experience. These apps only give access to sensitive data — i.e. name, email, calendar, etc.

Have fun and stay safe!

De-escalation Training

squad carOver the past two weeks we have received a number of questions from our residents on whether we require our officers to take de-escalation training. The answer is yes. EPPD officers have been attending a 40-hour, scenario-based crisis intervention training for many years.

As of December 2015, all EPPD officers have received the training which uses actors to portray people in mental crisis including those experiencing Alzheimer’s, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, phobias and other mental illnesses. Officers are then taught how to react in order to de-escalate the situation and get the person the help they need. In a March 24, 2015 article, the Star Tribune highlighted the EPPD’s program, along with others in the metro area.

In addition, in 2011 the EPPD created the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) after recognizing that the number of psychiatric medical calls and suicide/suicide attempt calls were increasing. The five members of the CIT follow up with people involved in mental crisis calls and/or their family members to see how they’re doing and if there are other ways the EPPD can assist them. The CIT also helps train EPPD officers on crisis intervention techniques during in-house training sessions.

Additionally, all Eden Prairie 911 Dispatchers receive active listening training which can assist in de-escalating crisis situations prior to officers’ arrival on the scene.

Congratulations to our Explorers

team photoLast week 12 members of the Edina/Eden Prairie Police Explorer Post participated in the National Police Explorer Conference in Flagstaff, Arizona along with 2,300 other Explorers from across the country. The Explorer program is for young people ages 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.

Explorer Alex Geiger

Explorer Alex Geiger

At the National Conference the Edina/Eden Prairie Explorers competed against other Explorers in a variety of law enforcement skills and scenarios. As a team, our Explorer Post took home a fifth-place award in Traffic Accident Investigation. In the individual competition, Alex Geiger finished first in the Female Individual Fitness Challenge and third in the Individual Police Written Exam.

The Explorers worked hard all week at the team building, individual skills and educational sessions. They received numerous compliments from representatives of national agencies who hosted the events including the FBI and DEA. In particular our Explorers were recognized for their professionalism and compassion when dealing with scenarios, while at the same time getting the job done properly.

The Explorers represented the Eden Prairie and Edina Police Departments well throughout the week and we are proud of them.

The EPPD and Flying Cloud Airport

Air ExpoIn addition to protecting and serving residents and visitors on our highways, shopping areas, parks and homes, EPPD officers also provide law enforcement support to Flying Cloud Airport. EPPD Sgt. Pete Vosbeek serves as a liaison between the department and the airport to work together on issues of airport security and public safety.

Sgt. Vosbeek also attends community airport events including this weekend’s “Wings of the North Air Expo 2016.” The non-profit organization Wings of the North hosts the expo at Flying Cloud Airport to help raise money for their organization whose mission is to preserve and present aviation history.

The Air Expo will take place this Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17 from 9 – 4. Tickets are available at the gate and on-line. The cost is $15 for adults, $5 for kids 8 to 12 and free for kids age 7 and under. Be sure to stop by the EPPD display and squad car, located directly across from the kids playland.

Citizens Academy Applications Sought

The Eden Prairie Police Department is accepting applications for its 2016 Citizens Academy.

Citizens Academy is a unique opportunity to see and learn about what goes into making Eden Prairie a safer community. By submitting the application you are entering a lottery to be chosen as a participant in Eden Prairie’s 2016 Citizens Academy. There is no guarantee that by completing this form you will be called to participate, as space is limited. The application deadline is Aug. 19, 2016. You will be notified via phone by Aug. 26 if you have been chosen to participate.

Citizens Academy will run for six sessions on Tuesday evenings Sept. 13–Oct. 18 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Dinner is provided. There is no cost for this program as it is funded by the Eden Prairie Crime Prevention Fund. We request that if you sign up for the program you are willing to commit, to the best of your ability, to attend each of the six sessions. Click here for the 2016 Citizen’s Academy Application Form [PDF].