Stop for the Stop Arm

Next Tuesday kids in Eden Prairie will be headed back to school and the EPPD would like to remind motorists of the importance of stopping for school bus stop arms.

The law requires that drivers in both directions stop at least 20 feet away when they see a school bus with its red lights flashing and its stop arm extended. The fine for failing to stop increased this summer from $300 to $500.

It is important to note that school bus drivers can report these violations directly to the Police Department. The registered owner of the violator vehicle can receive a ticket in the mail – even if they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the offense.

The only time it is OK to pass a bus with flashing lights is if you’re going the opposite direction on a divided roadway (a roadway with an unpaved space or raised median/physical barrier – see diagram above).

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports that 1,318 drivers violated school bus stop arm laws in 2016. To date in 2017, the EPPD has received 35 reports of stop arm violations. That is a significant number considering school has been out of session for three of those months.

Please help keep our students safe by stopping for the stop arm.

Retail Crime Unit Blitz

Earlier this week the EPPD’s Retail Crime Unit conducted a mall “blitz” where the entire unit, consisting of one sergeant and three officers, worked as a team to look for suspicious activity at Eden Prairie Center for a concentrated six-hour period. They also enlisted help from the department’s detectives and crime analyst, as well as mall security.

At one point during the blitz officers observed two women exhibiting suspicious behavior. They followed the individuals outside the mall to their car, stopped them and found more than $2,000 worth of stolen merchandise in their car, including some from another mall.

The Retail Crime Unit has a substation in the lower level of Eden Prairie Center and works closely with mall security to make sure the mall is a safe place to visit.

Round Lake Road Winners

Last night residents in the Round Lake Road neighborhood enjoyed a night of ice cream along with police officers and firefighters. Kinderberry Hill in Eden Prairie also donated a bounce house for the party.

The neighborhood earned the celebration by contributing the most food to PROP (People Reaching Out to People) during Eden Prairie Night to Unite earlier this month—a total of 552 pounds. This is the sixth time the Round Lake Road neighborhood has earned recognition with an ice cream social in the past nine years.

Overall, Eden Prairie Night to Unite parties donated 8,622 pounds of food this year, along with $1,174 in cash donations. Thanks to everyone who so generously contributed to helping our community!

Responding to a Mass Casualty

photo credit: Adam Bettcher

While we hope that we will never have to respond to a mass casualty/active shooter event in the metro area, it is our responsibility to prepare as if we will.

To that end, in November 2013, EPPD Lt. Jim Morrow began working with police and fire personnel from Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Edina, Hopkins and St. Louis Park, along with Hennepin County EMS to create a new approach to managing public safety personnel during a mass casualty incident. The approach is documented in a 69-page Regional Response Plan.

The plan was developed in order to create consistency in tactics, training and teamwork between PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points), police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel. The new approach has police, fire and EMS personnel entering the scene together, with the simultaneous goal of neutralizing any threats and quickly providing trauma care and transport for victims. This approach allows victims to get treatment quicker, increasing their likelihood of survival.

Since the plan was implemented in 2014, more than 1,800 public safety personnel have received the regional response training. In late July and early August this summer, the training was conducted at Wayzata East Middle School where 220 people from several police and fire departments in Hennepin County learned how to respond to a mass casualty active shooter incident and hope they never have the opportunity to use it.

Police, Popcorn and a Movie

Last Friday night EPPD officers handed out popcorn at the Staring Lake Amphitheatre prior to a Movies in the Park presentation of “Beauty and the Beast.” Funds for the popcorn were donated by a resident who contacted the Eden Prairie Crime Prevention Fund and requested the money be used to promote positive engagement between the EPPD and residents.

We would like to thank the Crime Prevention Fund, Parks and Recreation Department and the anonymous resident who made the donation for giving us the opportunity to be part of such a fun community event.