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Blog Archive: December 2017

Photo of DPS logo12 important things DPS did in 2017

Dec. 28

It has been a busy year here at the Department of Public Safety, but with 15 divisions and about 2,200 employees, it’s hardly a surprise. As the year comes to an end, we thought we’d give you a quick list of twelve of the most important things DPS did in 2017. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension began using microcrystal drug testing, a procedure that dramatically speeds turnaround time without sacrificing quality. This in turn helps the BCA help criminal justice agencies to get criminals off the streets...

Photo of a home damaged in a fire caused by careless smoking.Fire deaths: Even one is too many

Dec. 21

You’ve no doubt heard us say it before: Even one death is too many, no matter what the cause. And fire deaths are, more often than not, heartbreakingly preventable. Which is why we’re asking for your help. According to preliminary numbers, there have been 56 fire deaths here in Minnesota so far this year. If two more people die, we will have the highest number of fire deaths since 2002. Of course, we’d like that number to be zero, but even 35 – the state’s all-time low for fire deaths, in 2009 – would be better. Unfortunately, there’s no common theme in these fire deaths...


Photo of candles.Fire prevention: The gift that keeps on giving

Dec. 18

No really, it’ll be great: The whole family will gather at your house for a holiday dinner and you’ll all have a great time. But before everyone comes over, there’s a lot to be done, including buying fresh candles, cooking the roast, and laying a fire in the fireplace. Oh, and testing your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Because those three to-dos mentioned above? They also happen to be three of the leading causes of fires in Minnesota, especially around the holidays. Think about it: You spend a lot more time indoors in the winter, which means you have to heat your house...

Composite photo of four BCA headquarters buildings.A BCA birthday by the numbers

Dec. 14

On April 16, 1927, the Minnesota legislature created the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Attorney General. It fell under “an act relating to the prevention and control of crime, creating a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and providing measures for dealing with crime and criminal laws.” The BCA was housed in the State Capitol Building with Walter F. Rhinow as its first superintendent. Aside from Rhinow, the entire BCA consisted of five people: one assistant superintendent, two investigators and two clerical personnel...


Photo of a mannequin that was used as a passenger for the MnPASS lane.Answers to your questions about MnPASS

Dec. 13

MnPASS is a program of our colleagues at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), but it’s often State Patrol that enforces MnPASS laws. Recently, when we posted something about MnPASS on our Facebook page, a lot of you had questions, so we’re addressing them here with help from Lieutenants Tiffani Nielson and Paul Stricker. Large commercial vehicles that have more than two axles and weigh more than 26,000 pounds are discouraged from using the MnPASS lanes during peak-travel times and will not be assigned a MnPASS tag...


Photo of a portable CO alarm.‘Tis the season for carbon monoxide safety

Dec. 11

Ah, the great Minnesota deep freeze. There’s nothing like it, is there? It’s the time of year when you can keep perishable food items in the garage or screened-in porch, and they won’t spoil. (Handy!) But all that extra chilly weather also means you’re using heating and cooking appliances more and getting less fresh air in the house. And all of that adds up to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas found in the fumes that are produced anytime you burn fuel in things like engines, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, furnaces, or gas ranges...


Photo of a dispatcher showing the technology that allows people to text 911 in an emergency.911: Call if you can, text if you can’t

Dec. 7

In an emergency, your first instinct is probably to dial 911. It’s a trusted way to call for help when it’s needed the most. But there are a lot of reasons why calling 911 in an emergency would be unsafe or impossible. What if you’re deaf or hard of hearing? What if you’re speech impaired? Or what if there’s a crime in progress – a home invasion or domestic violence situation, for example – and talking on the phone would compromise your safety? And if you encounter a person who is suicidal or particularly agitated, texting 911 could be a better idea than calling...


Photo of HSEM staff sharing their expertise in disaster recovery and emergency services with future health-care workers.HSEM helps future health-care professionals prepare for disasters and emergencies

Dec. 4

When some people imagine a career in health care, they think of calm office visits, regular hours, a routine. And health care careers can certainly involve those things. But health care can also involve much more extreme, less predictable aspects like disaster recovery and emergency services. And how would one learn the skills to deal with such disasters and emergencies? Training and education, of course. That’s why the Minnesota branch of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) welcomed...