Estherville Police Chief Eric Milburn called 2012 a relatively "normal" year with a few major events in his annual report to the city council on Monday.
"The first, and I believe the most, relevant change was the fact that we have suspended our police reserve program," he stated in his report. "The changes brought about by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy made the last of our older reserves decide to bow out, and our younger reserved served the 18-month limit imposed by the academy without taking their six training modules."
Milburn said his police department currently has no reserves and office discussion is concerned with what to do about the program.
""In that discussion is the time and commitment that in involved and whether there are individuals in our area who are willing to put in that time and commitment," he stated.
Another significant event was the coordination, planning and participation in the "Every 15 Minutes" program.
Michelle Howing of the Emmet County Attorney's Office, Estherville Police Captain Brent Shatto and dozens of other volunteers spend hours on this undertaking.
"I am sure you all remember the media coverage of this event," Milburn stated. "While this program was labor intensive, the feedback that we have received has been nothing short of tremendous, not only from the public and the participants, but most importantly, the students themselves."
The police department remains active in several regional organizations and is members of the Iowa Great Lakes Drug Task Force, the Law Enforcement Intelligence Network, the Mid States Organized Crime Information Center, the Lakes Area Law Enforcement Cooperative and the High Risk Entry and Arrest Team (H.E.A.T.).
"The response team had four call-outs in 2013, which brings about mixed feelings," stated Milburn. "We are glad that H.E.A.T. hasn't been needed because nothing bad has happened. But at the same time, no call-outs do not keep the team members in tip-top response shape. The top two positions in this organization are held by members of the Estherville Police Department.
Milburn also stated the police officers spends time interacting with the public including at the Family Resource Faire, The D.A.R.E. program, attending all levels in the school district, teaching Halloween safety, stranger danger, eighth-grade career day and other visits to schools.
The police visit with Cub Scouts and annually assist in the orientation process at Iowa Lakes Community College.
"Last year, we participated in the Drug Enforcement Agency's "National Drug Take Back Initiative," Milburn stated. "During those two days, the public was invited to bring their old prescription drugs to a collection site to be forwarded for proper disposition. In the two events, 99 pounds of old prescription drugs from Estherville were mailed to St. Louis for incineration."
Milburn noted individual officers also volunteer in the community.
"We have three officers who assist with Little Guy wrestling, one of whom also volunteers for little league baseball," stated Milburn. "Two officers work with the Iowa High School Rodeo and Kiwanis. We have officers who have donated time for Foster Care Review programs and one just began a term on the Echo Plus board."
During 2012, Estherville officers participated in 704 hours of continuing education.
Officer Corey Danner reports he issued 44 motor vehicle abatement letters of which 40 abated the nuisances. Four failed to comply and those four vehicles were removed.
Officer Matt Reineke reports that K-9 Max had three calls for tracking during 2012, one of which located tools that were stolen by the perpetrator. Max was used 24 times for drug sniffs. He located .5 grams of cocaine, 3 grams of heroine and 192 grams of marijuana.
The annual comparison follows.
"The majority of the incidents appear to all be going in the right direction, either up or down, except for business burglaries," stated Milburn. "There was an upswing in burglaries at the mini-storage facilities. The good news was that not a lot of property was taken in those burglaries, but they are still a concern and it is hoped that we can hold someone accountable."
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