LESTER PRAIRIE POLICE DEPARTMENT

TO:  Prominent Members of the Community

FROM:  Chief of Police Robert N. Carlson

RE:  2018 Police Department Statistics and Report

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). 

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 chief@lesterprairiemn.us. 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 over eighteen 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 Larry Monskey is the third full time police officer and was hired in November of 2018.  He comes to us from the Mall of America where he served as a Security Patrol Lieutenant 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 Monskey works a regular night patrol shift.

HIGHLIGHTS AND INFORMATION FROM 2018

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 it’s website: https://www.ag.state.mn.us/Consumer/Scams/

There were two death investigations that took place that took and continue to take a considerable amount of investigation time.  Unfortunately, the deaths were attributed to the use of drugs.  The first dearth was on March 18, 2018 where a 45-year-old male was found deceased in the ten block of Hickory Street North.  The cause of death was 1, 1-Difluoroethane toxicity.  The death was not investigated as a suspicious death.  The second death occurred on November 20, 2018.  At approximately 5:08 a.m. Chief Carlson responded to a 911 call of an unresponsive male in the 100 block of Elm Street South.  The body was examined by the Medical Examiner and the cause of death was attributed to toxic effects of fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl.  This death investigation is considered a Murder in the 3rd Degree and is currently an ongoing investigation with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Southwest Metro Drug Task Force assisting.

On May 15, 2018 at approximately 10:21 a.m. Chief Carlson assisted the Carver County Sheriff’s Office with a vehicle pursuit through Lester Prairie and communities in McLeod and Carver County.  Speeds exceeded 100 mph as law enforcement were pursuing a stolen vehicle with a driver who reportedly had a felony parole warrant and a female passenger.  The driver was arrested in Hennepin County after “crashing” the vehicle.  The suspect was committed to the St. Cloud Prison to serve 24 months in prison.

On Sunday May 27, 2018 at 7:18 a.m. Chief Carlson responded to a domestic assault involving a knife.  The suspect admitted to “slashing” her boyfriend with a knife and was taken into custody.  The boyfriend refused treatment.  The suspect was charged with domestic assault and pled guilty to a lesser offense.

On June 4, 2018 at approximately 9:00 p.m. Officer Joshua Fahey responded to a physical domestic in the 500 block of 2nd Avenue South.  Officer Fahey had learned the suspect attempted to “strangle” his girlfriend by choking her.  A felony warrant was issued for the suspect’s arrest and was later apprehended.

On October 19, 2018 at approximately 9:30 a.m. Officer Anderson responded to First Community Bank for a report of felony offering of a forged check.  After an investigation an adult female was charged with the crime and the disposition is pending. 

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 seventeenth 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
chief@lesterprairiemn.us.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert N. Carlson, CEM
Chief of Police / Emergency Management Director
City of Lester Prairie