Meet the Newest Retail Crime Officers

Officer Linda Graetz

This week Eden Prairie Center will have two new officers patrolling its floors and the surrounding retail areas.

Officers Linda Graetz and Phil Johnson join Officer Tony Behl, who has been working in the Retail Crime Unit since 2016.

Officer Graetz began working for the EPPD in June 2003. During her tenure with Eden Prairie, she has worked as a patrol officer, field training officer, DART (Domestic Abuse Response Team) member, child car seat technician and member of the Crime Tech Unit.

Officer Phil Johnson

Officer Johnson began working for the EPPD in 2014 after serving as an EPPD community service officer for three years. Officer Johnson also serves as a member of the SWAT team and is a Training Unit instructor.

If you see Officers Graetz or Johnson at the mall, please stop by and say hi!

Happy 45th Birthday to the EPPD!

Five of the original six members of the department: Curt Oberlander, Les Bridger, Bill Blake, Jack Hacking and Keith Wall. Not pictured: Bruce Wojack.

On this date 45 years ago, then-Mayor Paul Redpath christened the first Eden Prairie squad car in front of his home. He poured champagne over the squad’s front bumper and Officer Bruce Wojack called it into service. That event marked the beginning of the Eden Prairie Police Department. Prior to 1973 the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office provided police service to Eden Prairie.

The department started with six officers: Bill Blake, Les Bridger, Jack Hacking, Curt Oberlander, Keith Wall and Bruce Wojack. In the beginning, the Police Department had an annual budget of only $124,000 and each of the six officers worked an average of 40 hours unpaid overtime every month to keep the City safe. The department offices consisted of two small rooms above the Central Fire Station and no holding facilities.

Today the EPPD employs 68 sworn officers and 30 civilian staff in addition to 50 volunteer Police Reserves, Explorers and Chaplains, and the current annual budget is $14-million. The Police Department is located at the City Center (8080 Mitchell Road) and features the 9-1-1 dispatch center, four holding cells, evidence storage area, training/classroom area, workout room and office space.

We’d like to wish everyone who has served the EPPD during the past 45 years a very happy birthday. Here’s to the next 45 years of providing service and protection to the community!

Year-End Message from the Chief

As 2017 comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to thank the Eden Prairie community for their support this past year. We can’t do our jobs effectively without the assistance and backing of our residents. We were fortunate to be able to work with a number of community organizations throughout the year.

We worked with PROP (People Reaching Out to other People) to collect more than 8,600 pounds of donated food and $1,100 in monetary donations from generous residents as part of our Night to Unite celebration.

Members of the Eden Prairie Senior Center woodworkers group built and painted brand new training equipment for our K9 program using money from the Eden Prairie Crime Prevention Fund which was donated by the family of Dr. John Wright.

The Eden Prairie Crime Prevention Fund and several area businesses came together with our officers to help provide an opportunity for 11 kids to purchase presents for their family members through our Shop with a Cop program.

And finally, there are the little things that community members do every day to help keep our city safe. From calling in a suspicious vehicle to identifying a theft suspect via Facebook, our residents are true partners in protecting and serving Eden Prairie.

For all of these things, and many others, I’d like to thank our residents for a great 2017. It is our honor and privilege to protect and serve the citizens of Eden Prairie and we look forward to continuing to work together in the coming year.

Chief Jim DeMann

Driving in the Cold and Snow

With cold and snow on the way later this week, the EPPD would like to remind motorists of a few tips to help keep everyone on the roads safe.

  • Consider equipping your vehicle with winter tires. Not only do they have a tread design that is optimal for snow, the rubber compound is designed to perform better in cold temperatures on all road surfaces.
  • Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and you have a phone charger that plugs into your car.
  • Keep the following items in your car: ice and snow scraper, shovel, blanket, extra hats, mittens and boots, flashlight, food/candy bars, road flares, and sand or kitty litter for traction.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half-full.
  • Increase your following distance and make turns slowly and gradually.
  • If the rear of your car starts to slide, turn into the direction of the skid and steer the car in the direction you want to go. Expect a second skid as the car straightens out and be prepared to counter this sliding action.
  • Be patient when encountering snowplows on the road. Stay 5-10 car lengths behind them, far from the snow cloud.
  • Stay in your vehicle if you get stuck and call 911. Walking in a storm is very dangerous. Your vehicle provides good shelter.

Toys for Tots Delivery

Yesterday EPPD officers and reserve officers filled squad cars with toys and games for Toys for Tots.

The officers drove to the KARE11 studios in Golden Valley, along with law enforcement agencies from throughout the Twin Cities, where they delivered the gifts to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves for distribution to kids who would not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season.

This year the City collected toys from residents and staff at the City Center, Community Center and Senior Center. The EPPD also held a special collection event at Eden Prairie Center mall last Saturday where they received donated toys from shoppers.

The EPPD would like to thank everyone who donated to Toys for Tots this year.