January 28, 2020
January 13, 2021
TO: Prominent Members of the Community
FROM: Chief of Police Robert N. Carlson
RE: 2020 Police Department Structure
The Lester Prairie Police Department is a proactive police department involved in Community Oriented Policing Services. The department has three full-time police officers and three active part-time police officers. The police department is responsible to the citizens of Lester Prairie 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Part-time officers worked an average of seven shifts a month. Part-time officers are needed to fill in for vacation, training, special summer shifts and sick time. The part-time officers have also been used for special activities (i.e. Prairie Days and Festivals) and emergencies (i.e. missing persons and suicides). We have also worked with the City of Winsted on better coverage for weekend days shifts. We will now have an officer on duty covering both communities Saturday and Sundays during the day.
As the Chief of Police, I am responsible for the administration of the department. I work a regular patrol shift during the day, teach Drug Abuse Resistance Education (5th and 8th grade) during the school year, serve as the school liaison officer, and work with the City Council and City Department Heads to make the city work efficiently and effectively. I represent the City of Lester Prairie in the following organizations and associations: President of the McLeod County Chiefs of Police Association, Lester Prairie Community Youth Task Force and the Crisis, Health and Safety and Student Assessment Teams (Lester Prairie Public School).
If I am not at the school during the school year I attempt to have office hours from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and it continues to provide more visibility and availability to the public to meet with us face to face. The City of Lester Prairie has a city website available for your viewing at www.lesterprairiemn.us . You are now able to see, review and fill out information from the convenience of your home. We have our House Watch Form on the website and we will give your home special attention when you are on vacation if we are notified. We have also put our “Most Wanted” on the website and hope it can be a useful tool for you to help us apprehend those with warrants for their arrest. The permit to purchase a handgun application form can also be located on the website. We prefer to receive our complaints and concerns by phone however email is available when you feel it is necessary at email@example.com. We have also used Facebook to inform the public of safety issues and concerns.
Sergeant Mark Thiry is the senior police officer of the department and has been a valuable employee of the city for twenty years. Officer Thiry oversees the Safe and Sober Challenge Program, Field Training and is our Firearms Instructor. Under Thiry’s direction, the Lester Prairie Police Department received awards for the Minnesota Safe and Sober Challenge.
Officer Travis Wakefield is the third full time police officer and was hired in January 2021. He comes to us from the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office where he served as a Communications Officer for seven years. He oversees the Crime Prevention Detail, Bicycle Safety Program and the Fire Department Liaison. We look forward to the exciting plans he has in store for National Night Out this year. Officer Wakefield works a regular night patrol shift.
We continue to receive many phone calls and complaints in regards to Tax Scams, Fake Check Scams, Reloadable Card Scams, Craig’s List Scams, Computer Scams, Lottery Scams and Phishing Scams. Lester Prairie residents combined have had thousands worth of their hard-earned money taken by these scams. These types of crimes are very difficult for local law enforcement to investigate and if the money is sent out of the United States it is impossible for us to prosecute. If it is too good to be true than it is. You should never need to send money to get money from the lottery. Protect your social security number like you would your new baby and change your passwords on your computer or related devices frequently. First Community Bank President Dean Perry and I have made it a point to communicate suspicious financial activity with each other to protect our residents from these crimes. The Minnesota Attorney General also has some very useful information on its website:
We are very proud of our proactive policing efforts as we presented programs to the community that are designed to protect our citizens from crime and educate them in the activities of the police department. We have continued with our proactive police activities to include 5th grade and Junior High DARE, Crime Stoppers of Minnesota, Bicycle Safety, Use of 911 and Cub Scout presentations. This will also be our twentieth year of participating in the “cards for kids’ program”. The Minnesota Crime Prevention Association distributes Minnesota sports cards to member law enforcement agencies that have crime prevention tips on the back of the card. We use these cards as a positive contact with children in our community. We also gave out Dairy Queen “Free Ice Cream Cone” certificates to the children that were wearing their bicycle helmets and driving safely.
We are continuing our work with our partners in the community, Lester Prairie Public School, McLeod County Social Services, McLeod County Public Health and the established coalitions. The Lester Prairie Community Youth Task Force and the McLeod County Methamphetamine Education and Drug Awareness (MEADA) Coalition. MEADA was developed to educate youth, families, and citizens on the dangers of drugs with a focus on illegal drug use. The MEADA Coalition of McLeod County brings together families, neighbors, school personnel, law enforcement, county agencies, faith communities and municipalities to help develop a county mindset of zero tolerance for chemical use with a special focus on methamphetamine. As a member of the Lester Prairie Community Youth Task Force we have been working with community members to develop programs and initiatives to focus on underage drug and alcohol use and how to deal with the issues related to drug and alcohol use and abuse.
I am very proud of the work we have done and enjoy the community I work for.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments please contact me at the number listed above or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert N. Carlson, CEM
Chief of Police / Emergency Management Director
City of Lester Prairie