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!