Tri-County Investigators of the Year

EPPD detectives Travis Serafin and Mark Gustad

Yesterday EPPD detectives Travis Serafin and Mark Gustad were awarded the Tri-County Investigator of the Year Award by the Tri-County Law Enforcement Association for their work in establishing a precedent for investigating heroin overdose deaths.

Detectives Serafin and Gustad were nominated by their EPPD colleagues for their investigation into five heroin overdose deaths in the metro area that were all linked to the same dealer, Beverly Burrell. The EPPD got involved in April 2016 when a man died of a heroin overdose in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie Costco.

Through investigation and surveillance, Burrell was identified as a suspect and linked to four additional deaths. During a search of her home, investigators located 27 grams of heroin and $120,000 in cash. In May 2016 Burrell was arrested and charged with five counts of 3rd-degree homicide.

In September 2017 Burrell was sentenced to 14 years in prison for two of the five overdose deaths. The remaining three cases will go to trial in 2018.

Because of the thorough and successful investigative methods used by detectives Serafin and Gustad, they have been asked to assist other agencies across the state in investigating heroin overdoses. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has recommended that agencies investigating heroin overdose deaths contact detectives Serafin and Gustad for guidance and templates, as they have set a high standard for the investigation process.

The EPPD believes that holding drug dealers criminally responsible for the deaths of overdose victims will help disrupt the flow of drugs into our community and will send a message to dealers that the consequences of drug dealing are severe. We are proud of the work done by detectives Serafin and Gustad to that end and are pleased that they were recognized by the Tri-County Law Enforcement Association.

Welcome Officer Moua!

Yesterday EPPD Chief Jim DeMann swore in the department’s newest officer, Linda Moua.

Officer Moua earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement from Metropolitan State University. Prior to coming to Eden Prairie she worked as a training instructor for Mall of America security. Officer Moua also currently serves in the Army National Guard as an information technology specialist.

Officer Moua will spend the next 3-4 months in the department’s Field Training program before patrolling by herself.

Welcome Officer Moua!

Recruiting for Reserves

Do you like helping others? Are you looking for a meaningful way to give back to your community? Would you like to be part of a vibrant organization focused on enhancing the quality of life in Eden Prairie? If so, we have the volunteer opportunity for you — the EPPD Reserve Unit.

We are actively recruiting volunteer Reserve officers to assist our sworn officers by performing community service tasks and non-criminal police functions. Reserve officers also assist in natural disasters and other emergencies that require additional personnel.

Some of these duties include working at EPHS home football games, walking the beat at Eden Prairie Center, helping officers during the booking process, directing traffic at emergencies or events, serving as part of the Reserve Unit Color Guard and helping with car lockouts.

Reserve officers must be at least 18 years old and should ideally live in Eden Prairie, although it is not mandatory. Reserve officers are required to attend specialized training and become CPR/First Aid-certified. Additional responsibilities include working one weekend evening per month, attending monthly training meetings and responding to emergency calls when available.

If you’d like to apply, click here for application materials and more information. You can learn more by watching the EPPD Reserve Unit video below.

If you have any questions regarding the Reserve Unit please contact Volunteer Coordinator Mark Krueger at 952-949-6201.

We’d love to have you join our team!

Don’t Leave Your Car Running!

Although it is tempting on these cold days to warm up your car by leaving it running while you are inside, doing so leaves you at risk for car theft. To date in 2018, three cars in Eden Prairie have been stolen while running with the keys inside.

The first incident occurred outside an Eden Prairie business when an employee left his car running, went inside for a few minutes and returned to find the car missing. The car was eventually found at a car dealer in Crystal where the thief used it as collateral to test drive another car. The test-drive car was not returned and reported stolen by the dealer. After it was processed for evidence, the victim was able to retrieve his car. Three days later the test-drive car was involved in a pursuit in Champlin, and the driver was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle and narcotics. Theft charges are pending for the car stolen in Eden Prairie.

The second case happened in the Eden Prairie Center parking lot when a driver started his car and went into a friend’s car nearby to stay warm. They watched as a man entered the idling vehicle and drove off. The victim and his friend called 911 and followed the vehicle, letting Dispatch know their route. The suspect crashed the vehicle into a snowbank and fled on foot. The victim showed arriving officers where the suspect was running and officers arrested him. The man was charged with felony theft of a motor vehicle, 4th degree DWI, careless driving and giving a false name to police.

The most recent theft occurred in early February at an apartment complex parking lot. A resident started his car and briefly went inside. When he returned, the car was missing and suspicious footprints were found in the snow next to the driver’s door. To date the car has not been recovered.

We’re Hiring Community Service Officers!

Would you like a job where you can make a difference and gain hands-on law enforcement experience at the same time? Are you looking for a professional organization with high standards that values its employees? If so, we may have a job for you!

The Eden Prairie Police Department is currently hiring for the part-time position of Community Service Officer (CSO).

Among other duties, CSOs respond to animal control calls, assist officers with booking procedures, provide customer service at the department’s front desk and assist the Patrol Division with parking and traffic enforcement, and motorist assistance.

Many of our CSOs are eventually hired as officers in Eden Prairie. In fact, eight of the 11 newest EPPD officers were once Eden Prairie CSOs!

Applications are due March 5 and may be accessed here on the City’s employment site.

To learn more about what it’s like to work for the EPPD, check out our video: