by Joni Astrup
Property crimes and traffic safety issues are ongoing concerns in Elk River, but the number of serious crimes against people remains fairly low.
That’s according to Elk River Police Chief Brad Rolfe, who outlined his department’s performance measures and goals in an Aug. 5 budget work session with the City Council. He was accompanied by Bob Kluntz and Ron Nierenhausen, the department’s two captains.
Elk River police saw 20,451 calls for service in 2012, down slightly from 20,707 a year earlier.
Rolfe has three goals for his department in 2014. They are:
•Enhance response to and resolution of community crime and traffic safety concerns.
•Reduce illegal drug and associated criminal activity in the city.
•Identify, mentor and train future police department leaders.
To address the first goal, he is proposing a new special services sergeant position assigned to the patrol division. No additional employees would be added; rather an existing sergeant would be assigned to the position on a rotating basis with the assignment likely lasting 2 to 4 years.“There’s no pay kick for this sergeant. It’s just a sergeant doing a different task,” Rolfe said.
Creation of the position would require promotion of an officer to patrol sergeant, costing the city an additional $13,800 a year. The money is in the city’s proposed 2014 budget at this time.
The special services sergeant would take over some of the tasks now being handled by the captains, including supervising the community service officers, fleet scheduling, crime analysis and public speaking engagements. The sergeant “would really become the face of the department in many of our crime prevention programs,” Rolfe said.
Regarding the goal to train future department leaders, Rolfe said the department will continue to experience the loss of key leaders over the next 10 years due to retirement. He said it is essential that current department members be mentored, developed and prepared to assume those future leadership roles.
“We have excellent staff internally, and my goal as a chief is to have seamless transition as retirements occur within the department,” he said.
Elk River police calls
Total calls for service
Traffic warnings issued
Adult and juvenile criminal arrests
Source: Elk River Police Department