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Number of Unbelted Motorists Killed in Crashes Goes Up for 2nd Year57175/19/2022 4:00:00 PM<p>​ST. PAUL — Buckling up. It’s a two-second step that helps parents come home to their kids, teenagers graduate and pursue their dreams, and families avoid the heartache of losing a loved one in a crash. Too many Minnesotans skipped that step the last two years, and the consequences are permanent and tragic. The number of people killed by not wearing a seat belt rose in 2021 for the second year in a row.</p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">The Click It or Ticket statewide seat belt campaign May 23- June 5 strives to stop the preventable loss to families across Minnesota. Troopers, deputies and officers participate in the campaign, which includes extra p</span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">atrols, to keep Minnesotans alive or avoid life-changing injuries. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety coordinates the enforcement, education and awareness campaign with funding provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It includes <a href="https&#58;//www.dropbox.com/sh/lg9urf3cwys4hq4/AAD1wCaf3-mmRdkhotzCQaLYa?dl=0" title="link to seat belt advertising">advertising across Minnesota​</a> in support of the Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety initiative.</span><br></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">“When a life is lost because of no seat belt, it’s very discouraging because it so easily could’ve been prevented,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “That’s it. It’s over for that person and for loved ones and friends left behind. When you’re heading out, please make the wise, caring choice to wear your seat belt and refuse to put the vehicle in drive until passengers buckle up as well. Drive smart and live.”</span><br></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>Two Years of Growing Tragedy<br></strong></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Preliminary counts from the Office of Traffic Safety show 108 unbelted motorists died on Minnesota roads in 2021, up three from 2020 when 105 died. This is 48 percent higher than the 73 unbelted deaths in 2019 and the highest number since 2014.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Last year saw the highest number of unbelted fatalities (38) of 25-39-year-olds since 2012 (36). 2020 was not far behind, with 31 unbelted deaths in that age category. Seventy-seven percent of unbelted fatalities in 2021 occurred in greater Minnesota, outside the seven-county metro area.</span><br></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Through May 15, unbelted fatalities (27) are&#58;</span><br></p><ul><li>27 percent lower than at this time last year (37).</li><li>One more than in 2020 (26).</li><li>35 percent higher than in 2019 (20).<br></li></ul><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>Car Seat Decisions Affect Young Lives<br></strong></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Children rely</span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"> on adults for proper car seat use.</span></p><ul><li>In Minnesota crashes from 2017 – 2021, of the 14,692 children ages 0-7 who were properly restrained, 88 percent were not injured, while another 9 percent sustained only minor injuries.<br></li><li>Twenty-one children ages 0-7 were killed in motor vehicles from 2017-2021, and of those, only 38 percent were known to be properly secured.</li><li>Of the 88 children (ages 0-7) seriously injured in motor vehicles, only 49 percent were known to be properly secured.</li></ul><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>Minnesota Car Seat Law and Steps<br></strong></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">In </span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Minnesota, all children must be in a child safety seat until they are 4' 9&quot; tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first.</span></p><ul><li>Rear-facing seats - All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they have reached the height and weight limits allowed by the car seat manufacturer. It is safest to keep children rear-facing up to the maximum weight limit of the car seat.</li><li>Forward-facing seats with harness – Toddlers and preschool-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the rear-facing car seat should use a forward-facing seat with harness until they reach the weight limit of the harness allowed by the car seat manufacturer.</li><li>Booster seats - School-age children who have reached the height and weight limits of the forward-facing seat can sit on a booster seat. The booster must be used with a lap and shoulder belt.</li><li>Seat belts - Buckling up with a seat belt is for children 8 years old or who have reached 4 feet 9 inches. Your children are ready for adult seat belts when they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat, knees bent comfortably and completely over the vehicle seat edge without slouching, and feet touching the floor.</li></ul><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>The Law is for Safety<br></strong></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Minnesota law states that drivers and passengers in all seating positions must wear seat belts or be in the correct child restraint. Belts should be tight across the hips or thighs and should never be tucked under the arm or behind the back.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>Resources&#58;</strong><br></span></p><ul><li><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><a href="/divisions/ots/drive-smart/Pages/default.aspx" title="link to drive smart web site">DriveSmartMN.org</a></span></li><li><a href="/divisions/ots/child-passenger-safety/Pages/default.aspx" title="link to child passenger safety information" style="font-size&#58;1em;">BuckleUpKids.dps.mn.gov</a></li></ul><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"></span></p><p></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>About the Minnesota Department Public Safety</strong>​​<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">DPS </span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles&#58; education, enforcement and prevention.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">​​​<strong>About the Office of Traffic Safety<br></strong></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">The Minne</span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">sota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. These efforts form a strong foundation for the statewide Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">###​<br></p><p><br></p>5/20/2022 2:52:00 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety CONTACT: Dave Boxum  651-201-7569 dave.boxum@state.mn.us Nicole Roddy 83https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
High Intensity Patrols to Focus on Deadliest Driving Behaviors Taking Minnesotans' Lives55465/12/2022 3:00:00 PM<p>​ST. PAUL — As the&#160;weather gets warmer, more people will be traveling Minnesota roads for vacation fun, family road trips and outdoor activities. To help keep motorists safe, the Minnesota State Patrol is launching Project 20(22). Over five weekends in Ma​y through September, troopers will conduct high intensity patrols focusing on the deadliest traffic violations&#58; speed, lack of seat belt use, distraction and impairment.<span style="font-size&#58;1em;">​</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Through</span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"> May 8 of this year, there have been 95 traffic-related deaths on Minnesota roadways&#58;</span></p><p></p><ul><li><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">26 were speed-related fatalities</span></li><li>14 were impairment-related​<br></li><li>8 were distraction-related</li><li>24 were unbelted deaths</li></ul><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"></span><p></p><p>“We care about traffic safety all across Minnesota and want to stop the horrific increase in traffic deaths that struck Minnesota families the past two years,” said Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “This project allows our troopers to have a visible presence and protect motorists during busy times on our roads. Our message remains simple&#58; buckle up, drive the speed limit, plan a sober ride and never drive impaired, and always pay attention.”<br></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>Saving Lives with Project 20(22)</strong>&#160;<br></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Project 20(22) was designed to help stop dangerous driving behaviors. Troopers will use a team approach to traffic safety rooted in the history of the agency. It was first created as Project 20 in October 1979 and operated through October 1982. The State Patrol and Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety worked together to bring it back as a statewide Toward Zero Deaths initiative.​​</span></p><p><strong>Weekend-Long Focus by Region</strong><br><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">State Patrol districts across Minnesota will dedicate specific weekends to high intensity patrols starting Friday, May 13. Troopers will work in the same teams of 16 Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The regional focus areas for each weekend are&#58;</span></p><table cellspacing="0" class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;50%;"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;22%;">May 13, 14, 15​<br></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;50%;">Hwy 371/Hwy 169, Little Falls to Walker <br>*fishing opener weekend</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;22%;">June 24, 25, 26<br></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Twin Cities Metro Freeways</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;22%;">July 15, 16, 17</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Twin Cities Metro Freeways</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;22%;">August 5, 6,&#160;7</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">I-35, Pine City to Duluth</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;22%;">September 16, 17, 18</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">I-94, Moorhead to Rogers​<br></td></tr></tbody></table><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><br></span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>Fewer Lives Lost but More Work Needed</strong><br></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Minnesota reached 488 traffic fatalities (preliminary) across the state in 2021, the highest number since 2007 when there were 510 traffic deaths. While fewer motorists have lost their lives so far in 2022 compared with recent years at this time, any traffic deaths are too many. Bad driving choices are still leading to tragic results for Minnesota families.</span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">​</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>Traffic Deaths (Jan. 1 – May 8)</strong></span></p><table cellspacing="0" class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;81%;"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;155px;"><strong>Contributing Factors</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;"><strong>2022</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;"><strong>2021</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;"><strong>2020</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;"><strong>2019</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;"><strong>2018</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;"><strong>2017</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;"><strong>2016</strong></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;155px;">Speed-Related Fatalities</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">26​<br></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">57<br></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">25<br></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">19<br></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">38<br></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">32<br></td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">27<br></td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;155px;">Alcohol-Related Fatalities</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">14</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">33</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">37</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">25</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">37</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">27</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">33</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;155px;">Distraction-Related Fatalities</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">8</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">3</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">6</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">11</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">8</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">3</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">16</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;155px;">Seat Belt-Related Fatalities</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">24</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">34</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">24</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">18</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">31</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">22</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width&#58;72px;">28<br></td></tr></tbody></table><p><br></p><p>Resources&#58; <a href="/divisions/ots/drive-smart/Pages/default.aspx">DriveSmartMN.org​</a><br></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>About the Minnesota Department Public Safety</strong><br></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles&#58; education, enforcement and prevention.</span></p><p><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>About the Minnesota State Patrol</strong><br></span><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Nearly 600 Minnesota State Patrol troopers are the foundation of the agency that works to provide a safe environment on Minnesota’s roads by assisting motorists, taking enforcement action and educating drivers about traffic safety issues. In addition to road safety activities, troopers conduct flight patrols, search and rescue missions and assist other law enforcement agencies.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">###</span></p>5/12/2022 4:19:50 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety CONTACT: Lt. Gordon Shank  651-201-7146 gordon.shank@state.mn.us Nicole Roddy 1062https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Minnesota State Patrol Completes Rollout of Body Cameras44185/10/2022 4:45:00 PM<div>ST. PAUL – The Minnesota State Patrol is fully equipped with body-worn cameras as of May 5, 2022. The state-wide rollout of the Body Camera Project began Dec. 1, 2021, and was completed on-time and within the projected budget.</div><div><br></div><div>&quot;Although we’d like to think every state trooper is perfect, we are human beings just like everyone else. Capturing interactions on body-worn cameras will help hold everyone accountable because they provide a record of what actually occurred between the trooper and the member of the public,&quot; said Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol​.<br></div><div><br></div><div>During the project, the Minnesota State Patrol installed 644 in-car camera systems and issued body-worn cameras to 613 sworn members of the patrol and 92 non-sworn members. Body-worn cameras have also been issued to commercial vehicle inspectors and capitol security officers. In total, it issued 705 body cameras and 1,349 camera systems over the last five months.</div><div><br></div><div>Since the start of the project, the agency has captured more than 281,680 pieces of video evidence, which equates to 116,007.22 GB of data or 60,631.44 hours of video. In the last month, troopers captured 96,380 pieces of video evidence for a total of 19,840.93 hours of video and 37,936.32 GB of data.</div><div><br></div><div>Troopers are projected to record an average of 3,212.66 pieces of video evidence – 616.36 hours -- per day across the state now that the project is complete.<br></div><div><br></div><div><div><strong>About the Minnesota Department of Public Safety</strong></div><div>The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles&#58; education, enforcement and prevention.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>About the Minnesota State Patrol</strong><br></div><div>Nearly 600 Minnesota State Patrol troopers are the foundation of the agency that works to provide a safe environment on Minnesota’s roads by assisting motorists, taking enforcement action and educating drivers about traffic safety issues. In addition to road safety activities, troopers conduct flight patrols, search and rescue missions and assist other law enforcement agencies.<br></div><div><br></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;">###<br></div><div><br><br></div><br></div><div><br></div><div><br></div><p><br></p>5/10/2022 4:40:05 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety CONTACT: Lt. Gordon Shank  651-201-7146 gordon.shank@state.mn.us Nicole Roddy 162https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Red Wing Woman Arrested for 2003 Death of Baby Found in Lake Pepin54335/9/2022 6:00:00 PM<p></p><p>ST. PAUL — The Goodhue County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) today announced an arrest in the 2003 death of a newborn baby boy discovered deceased in Lake Pepin in 2003.</p><p>The woman, Jennifer Lynn Matter, 50, of Belvidere Township, was recently identified through DNA as the child's mother.</p><p>Goodhue County deputies and BCA agents took Matter into custody at 6&#58;38 a.m. Monday at her Belvidere Township home without incident. She has been charged via complaint with Second Degree Murder – With Intent – Not Premeditated and Second Degree Murder – Without Intent. Matter is currently in the Goodhue County Jail. Matter is scheduled to appear in Goodhue County District Court on Tuesday. Additional information about the charges is available in the <a href="https&#58;//lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDEsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMjA1MDkuNTc2Mjc5MzEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL2NvbnRlbnQuZ292ZGVsaXZlcnkuY29tL2F0dGFjaG1lbnRzL01ORFBTLzIwMjIvMDUvMDkvZmlsZV9hdHRhY2htZW50cy8yMTUzNDI2L21hdHRlciUyMHdhcnJhdG4ucGRmIn0.GxJZo_353xn0WXyCJETjheCk2cIfrNVlinRRRlua95M/s/2116632925/br/131026069953-l">criminal complaint</a>. Her booking photo is <a href="https&#58;//lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDIsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMjA1MDkuNTc2Mjc5MzEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL2NvbnRlbnQuZ292ZGVsaXZlcnkuY29tL2F0dGFjaG1lbnRzL01ORFBTLzIwMjIvMDUvMDkvZmlsZV9hdHRhY2htZW50cy8yMTUzNjgyL21haWxpbWcuanBnIn0.-qlVp5-JWQHzCtjybecPHwZpH_e1xmNaz1KmyXQwe4A/s/2116632925/br/131026069953-l">provided here</a> on behalf of the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office.</p><p>The baby boy was discovered deceased on December 7, 2003, in Lake Pepin at the Methodist Campus Beach in Frontenac. A second child, a newborn baby girl found deceased on November 4, 1999, in the Lower Boat Harbor of the Mississippi River near Red Wing, was also determined through DNA to be Matter's child.</p><p>While exhaustive investigative efforts over the years did not lead to a suspect, a recent effort to learn about the babies' parentage through genetic genealogy resulted in a lead that ultimately led investigators to Matter. Investigators obtained a court order to obtain a DNA sample from Matter and BCA forensic scientists confirmed the match to both children using Rapid DNA technology.</p><p>&quot;The tenacity of several investigators in our office to obtain justice for these babies and the perseverance by our community who assisted us in finding answers have led us here today,&quot; Goodhue County Sheriff Marty Kelly said. “We pray today's arrest and charges provide some closure to all of those effected.&quot;</p><p>“Genetic genealogy and Rapid DNA testing were both employed to develop a break in the case and then ​quickly confirm the identity of the babies' mother,&quot; BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. “These kinds of scientific advances that can aid investigations are happening all the time. That is why it is so important to never give up on any unsolved case.&quot;</p><p>“I want to recognize the persistence, hard work, and dedication of our law enforcement professionals who have put so much of themselves into solving this case,&quot; Goodhue County Attorney Stephen O'Keefe said.</p><p>The genetic genealogy work was completed by Parabon NanoLabs. <a href="https&#58;//lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDMsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMjA1MDkuNTc2Mjc5MzEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL2NvbnRlbnQuZ292ZGVsaXZlcnkuY29tL2F0dGFjaG1lbnRzL01ORFBTLzIwMjIvMDUvMDkvZmlsZV9hdHRhY2htZW50cy8yMTUzNDI4L0dHJTIwRmFjdCUyMFNoZWV0JTIwZm9yJTIwTWVkaWEucGRmIn0.ejuyWZ6s7WtteYPHFWdVYmafjjDeYqOZ5893BBqLiqU/s/2116632925/br/131026069953-l">Learn more about genetic genealogy testing</a>. This testing was funded by donations from the people of Goodhue County. All agencies involved in this investigation and prosecution are appreciative of the community for their contribution that ultimately led to a break in this case.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">###​</p><p><br></p><p>​</p>5/9/2022 5:06:42 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety CONTACT: Jill Oliveira  651-793-2726 jill.oliveira@state.mn.us Kris Weiss 2190https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Minnesota Department of Public Safety steps up to assist Minneapolis address crime52395/4/2022 5:00:00 PM<p>​ST. PAUL — Two Minnesota Department of Public Safety divisions have launched efforts to help combat violent crime in Minneapolis and surrounding communities. These efforts by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the Minnesota State Patrol are in response to a significant rise in gun-related crimes, carjackings and other violent crimes plaguing these communities.</p><p>“Minneapolis Mayor Frey and Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman have asked the state for assistance,” said Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington. “In these dire and urgent times, we all need to work together to keep our communities safe.”<br></p><div><ul><li><p>​The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) in early April created and deployed a violent crime response team to pursue known suspects in homicides, shootings and other gun-related crimes; locate persons with felony warrants related to violent criminal activity; and disrupt the surge in carjackings, aggravated assaults, and robberies in Minneapolis and surrounding communities. By focusing on the most violent offenders, this effort will help make communities safer.&#160;<br></p></li></ul></div><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><p>This work is underway. The BCA team is made up of specialized personnel who are temporarily diverted from other casework to lend the full weight of its analytical and investigative toolset to data-driven investigations through the summer months, absent additional funding from the state Legislature, they will return to their prior assignments in September.</p><p>The BCA has also dedicated additional and expanded forensic science services to violent crime investigations for the city of Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Those services are in the areas of DNA analysis, firearms analysis and crime scene response services. The DNA Section has logged more than 800 hours of overtime (from existing BCA funds) in the first quarter of this year to address the backlog of violent crime cases requiring DNA analysis. This effort along with some staff reassignments has helped decrease that backlog by more than 1,200 cases.</p><p>“Communities across Minnesota have indicated that addressing violent crime is a top concern,” BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. “Right now, Minneapolis is seeing a significant rise in violent crime while at the same time its police department is experiencing an unprecedented shortage of officers and investigators. The BCA is bringing state resources and expertise to help these communities to meet this urgent need.”</p></blockquote><ul><li>The Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) announced that it will begin a visible patrol operation in Minneapolis to assist the Minneapolis Police Department in covering high crime areas in the city.</li></ul><blockquote style="margin&#58;0px 0px 0px 40px;border&#58;none;padding&#58;0px;"><p>“The Minneapolis Police Department has requested that we help by providing high visibility patrols in designated areas in Minneapolis,” said State Patrol Chief Colonel Matt Langer. “We will provide additional patrols three days a week in areas specified by the City of Minneapolis.”</p><p>Beginning May 5, the State Patrol will assign four troopers in two squad cars to conduct high visibility patrols in designated areas of the city. State troopers will not be responding to 911 calls, but will coordinate with MPD officers on work that originates out of these patrols. The city is reimbursing the State Patrol for all expenses related to the patrols, and the effort will likely last through the summer.</p><p>The State Patrol will also continue its Highway Enforcement for Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) speed reduction program across the state. The State Patrol will also increase its emphasis in various metro communities on stopping street racing, a dangerous activity that threatens the lives of racers and any bystanders.</p></blockquote><p>The work by these two DPS divisions will be in addition to their primary missions, according to Langer and Evans. However the efforts will help other law enforcement agencies slow or reduce the spread of crime in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. (<a href="https&#58;//bit.ly/3kD6oNq">Joint Powers Agreement attached​</a>.)</p><p>“It is with great appreciation that we welcome the work by the women and men of the State Patrol and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as we partner to increase safety for our residents, our businesses, and in the city’s streets,” said Minneapolis Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman. “It is through partnerships like this and with the help of our community members that we can most effectively help bring peace to our city. We achieve better results for our community when we share resources and information and coordinate our efforts.”​<br></p><h3>Governor Walz allocates $4 million in federal funds to combat violent crime</h3><p>In addition to today’s announcement, last week, Governor Tim Walz allocated $4 million federal American Rescue Plan funds towards the state’s public safety efforts. These funds will be used by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to combat violent crime, provide air support, and support victims of crime across the state.</p><p>The BCA <a href="https&#58;//mn.gov/mmb-stat/operating-budget/gov-rec/BCA-Enforcement-Analytics-Forensics-Request.pdf">will receive $1 million to comb​​at violent crime</a>. These funds will expand the BCA’s ability to deliver investigative, analytical, and forensic support to the state’s criminal justice community. These funds will also increase current capacity for forensic firearms analysis to address an increase in evidence being submitted to the BCA from violent crimes committed across Minnesota.<br></p><p>Another <a href="https&#58;//mn.gov/mmb-stat/operating-budget/gov-rec/MSP-Aviation-Support-Request.pdf">$1 million will go towards supporting the Minnesota State Patrol’s Aviati​on Section​</a> as part of DPS Violent Crime Intervention initiative. This $1 million will provide additional aviation support to assist local agencies. The State Patrol Aviation Section supports ground units with searches, follows fleeing vehicles from the air, and provides real-time, specific information for suspect apprehension.<br></p><p>Governor Walz also allocated<a href="https&#58;//mn.gov/mmb-stat/operating-budget/gov-rec/OJP-Survivor-Support-Grants.pdf"> $2 million to help meet the unmet needs from the 2021 Survivor Support Grant program</a>. In 2021, DPS Office of Justice Programs received $5.7 million to support victims of crime in Minnesota. These additional funds will provide direct client assistance to victims of crime, funding for transformational abuse programs, and other direct services.<br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">###<br></p><div><br><br></div><p><br></p>5/4/2022 4:54:37 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety ST. PAUL — Two Minnesota Department of Public Safety divisions have launched efforts to help combat violent crime in 267https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
BCA Investigates Officer Involved Shooting Near Bowlus51804/29/2022 4:00:00 AM<p><strong>UPDATE - 5/2/2022 -&#160;</strong><span style="font-size&#58;1em;"><strong>Subject, Officers Identified&#160;</strong></span></p><p>ST. PAUL, MN-- The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man who died during an officer involved shooting incident that occurred on April 28 in Bowlus, Minnesota. The medical examiner determined that Charles Francis Bangs, 59, of Fergus Falls died of multiple gunshot wounds. Michael Gene Johnson, 51, also of Fergus Falls, was injured by gunfire during the incident.</p><p>The BCA has identified two officers who discharged their weapons during the incident. Both are on standard administrative leave.</p><ul><li><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Trooper Megan Boser fired her department handgun. She has been with the Minnesota State Patrol for four years.</span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Deputy Dale Haberer fired his department handgun. He has been with the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years. He is a member of the West Central Drug Task Force.</span></li></ul><p>The West Central Drug Task Force was attempting to locate Mr. Bangs as part of a narcotics investigation. At about 3 p.m. on April 28 in Mille Lacs County, a Minnesota State Trooper stopped a car Mr. Bangs was driving, along with three passengers&#58; Mr. Johnson, Bryant Allen Guida, 32, of Moorhead, and another man. A Mille Lacs County Deputy also responded to the traffic stop. At one point, the trooper asked Mr. Johnson to exit the vehicle. He refused, pushed the trooper by reaching out of an open car door, and a scuffle ensued. Mr. Bangs drove away, starting a pursuit with the deputy. During the pursuit, a substance suspected to be methamphetamine was thrown from the vehicle. It was recovered by a Mille Lacs County Deputy and has been submitted for testing. The pursuit ended with Mr. Bangs’ vehicle leaving the area.</p><p>At about 6 p.m. on April 28, law enforcement again located Mr. Bangs near Bowlus in Morrison County. When officers tried to make contact, he again fled in his vehicle with two passengers, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Guida. Officers were able to stop the vehicle. At one point, two officers discharged their firearms, striking Mr. Bangs and Mr. Johnson. Mr. Bangs died at the scene. Mr. Johnson was transported for treatment. He has since been released. The Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office arrested him. He is in custody at the county jail, pending charges related to the traffic stop earlier in the day. Mr. Guida also faces a charge related to an earlier incident.</p><p>BCA crime scene personnel recovered a handgun at the scene. Trooper Boser was wearing a body camera and had a working squad camera, both of which captured portions of the incident.</p><p>The Morrison County Sheriff’s Office requested that the BCA investigate the incident. Once the investigation is complete, the BCA will present its findings without recommendation to the Morrison County Attorney’s Office for review.</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">###</p><p>--------&#160;&#160;​<br></p><p>ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating an officer involved shooting that happened just before 6 p.m. Thursday evening near Bowlus in Morrison County. At one point after the West Central Drug Task Force attempted to stop a vehicle, a Minnesota State Patrol Trooper and an Otter Tail County Deputy discharged their handguns, fatally striking a white male in the vehicle. Another person in the vehicle was injured by gunfire. A handgun was recovered at the scene. This investigation is still in the very early stages. The trooper involved was wearing a body camera that captured portions of the incident. More information will be released pending further investigation.​<br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">###</p><p><br></p>5/2/2022 7:56:07 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety ST. PAUL, MN-- The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man who died during an officer involved shooting 4831https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Subject, Officers Identified in Officer Involved Shooting in Chisholm51674/22/2022 10:00:00 PM<p>​ST. PAUL -- The&#160;Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man who died during an officer involved shooting incident that occurred on April 20 in Chisholm. The medical examiner determined that Michael David Johnson, 38, of Chisholm, died of multiple gunshot wounds.</p><p>In addition, the BCA has identified three officers who discharged their weapons during the incident. All are on standard administrative leave.&#160;</p><ul><li><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Deputy Cody Dillinger fired his department handgun. Deputy Dillinger has been with the sheriff’s office for five years.</span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Officer Nick Grivna fired his department handgun. Officer Grivna has been with the Virginia Police Department for eight years.</span></li><li><span style="font-size&#58;1em;">Deputy Gavin Nichols fired non-lethal foam impact rounds. Deputy Nichols has been wit​h the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office for six years.</span></li></ul><p>Mr. Johnson was being sought by law enforcement personnel on multiple felony charges out of Morrison County. At about 7&#58;15 a.m., a St. Louis County sheriff’s deputy located Johnson’s car outside his home at 201 Central Avenue South in Chisholm. About half an hour later, law enforcement from several departments responded and attempted to take him into custody. At one point, Johnson came out of the house with knives in his hands. Officers fired less lethal rounds first, then lethal rounds, striking Johnson. He died at the scene. No law enforcement officers were hurt​.</p><p>BCA crime scene personnel recovered two knives near Johnson’s body. The incident was captured on body-worn cameras and squad video recorders.</p><p>The BCA investigation of the incident is ongoing. Once the investigation is complete, the BCA will present its findings without recommendation to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office for review.<br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">###<br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><div><br>​<br></div><p><br></p>4/22/2022 9:29:38 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety ST. PAUL -- The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man who died during an officer involved shooting 723https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Spring Flood Run Kicks Off Motorcycle Season43574/15/2022 3:00:00 PM<div>ST. PAUL — Riders and motorists should exercise extreme caution this weekend along the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers as thousands of motorcyclists take to the road for the <a href="https&#58;//www.flood-run.com/" title="link to spring flood run information">Spring Flood​​ Run​</a>, Saturday, April 16. The ride typically attracts thousands of riders and takes them on route between the Twin Cities and Winona.</div><div><br></div><div>Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials ask riders and motorists to share the roads. Riders should take safety into their own hands and motorists should look twice for motorcyclists.</div><div><br></div><div>“We want riders to ride sm​art, enjoy the spring ride and make it home safely. That takes motorcyclists and othe​​r motorists working together to share the road,” said Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol. “Motorcyclists should ride sober, ride at their own pace in groups, be prepared for potential road hazards, and know how to safely navigate curves in the road. Other motorists should give riders space and diligently check blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections.”</div><div><br></div><div>Riders should be aware of spring riding conditions and make safe riding a priority due to potential hazards such as&#58;</div><div><ul><li>Snow run-off freezing at night</li><li>Uneven pavement</li><li>Potholes</li><li>Loose sand and gravel, especially in the curves</li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><div>Law enforcement agencies in southeast Minnesota, along with Minnesota State Troopers, will be out patrolling the area during the event to ensure a safe riding environment.<br></div><div><br></div><div>DPS offers these safety tips&#58;</div><div><br></div><div><strong>Riders</strong></div><div><ul><li>Be prepared for inattentive drivers by staying focused on riding, keeping your speed in check and maintaining a three-second following distance.</li><li>Wear the gear. Motorcyclists should wear a DOT-approved helmet and brightly colored protective gear for visibility and protection.</li><li>Don’t drink and ride. One-third of all motorcycle fatalities involve impaired riders.</li><li>Know how to navigate a curve. Here are tips to ride through curves safely&#58;</li><ul><li>Slow down for the curve.<br></li><li>Look through the curve.</li><li><a href="/divisions/ots/mmsc/riding-tips/Pages/riding-strategies.aspx">Countersteer​</a>.</li><li>Gently roll on through the curve.</li></ul><li>As the riding season begins, <a href="/divisions/ots/mmsc/Pages/default.aspx">take a training course​</a>. Training season is underway, and courses are available for basic to expert riders. Taking a training course every couple of years will polish skills to stay safe on the road.</li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><strong>Motorists</strong></div><div><ul><li>Watch for motorcyclists. Due to the smaller size of motorcycles, their speed and distance is more difficult to judge.</li><li>Always look twice before entering a roadway, turning left or changing lanes.</li><li>Give riders room by maintaining a three-second following distance and check blind spots.</li><li>Pay attention and drive at safe speeds.<br></li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><strong>Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center Statistics and Resources</strong><br></div><div><ul><li>There are more than 259,000 registered motorcycles and more than 397,000 licensed operators in Minnesota (2021).</li><li>During the 2021 training season, MMSC trained more than 4,500 students statewide.<br></li><li>Visit <a href="/divisions/ots/drive-smart/Pages/default.aspx">DriveSmartMN.org</a>.</li><li>Follow MMSC on Twitter <a href="https&#58;//twitter.com/mndps_mcsafety">@MnDPS_MCSafety​</a> and “like” <a href="https&#58;//www.facebook.com/MnMotorcycleSafety/">MMSC on Facebook​</a>.<br></li></ul></div><div><br></div><div><strong>About the Minnesota Department of Public Safety</strong></div><div>The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,200 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles&#58; education, enforcement and prevention.</div><div><br></div><div><strong>About the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center</strong><br></div><div>The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) provides high-quality rider education, training and licensing to prevent motorcycle crashes and the resulting fatalities and injuries. It was created in the early 1980s to address record high motorcyclist fatalities.</div><div><br></div><div>The MMSC provides on-cycle and classroom rider training courses, develops awareness campaigns and informational materials, and coordinates third-party skills testing for motorcycle license endorsement through the Basic Rider Course and evening testing at select DVS Exam Stations.</div><div>Motorcycle safety is a component of Toward Zero Deaths (TZD), the state’s primary road safety initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.</div><div>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;">###<br></div><br><br></div><p><br></p>4/18/2022 7:55:08 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety . PAUL — Riders and motorists should exercise extreme caution this weekend along the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers as 78https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Thomas Smith Joins DPS as Assistant Commissioner for Law Enforcement15804/14/2022 3:00:00 PM<div>ST. PAUL — Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced today that Thomas Smith is the new DPS Assistant Commissioner for Law Enforcement. Mr. Smith, began his new duties on April 13, succeeds Booker Hodges who was recently named chief of the Bloomington Minn. Police Department.<br></div><div><br></div><div>Mr. Smith has 39 years of experience in law enforcement, including 27 years with the Saint Paul Police Department, serving his last six years with the agency as chief of police. Since 2016, he has worked for the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, delivering police training on community relationship building, bias in policing and leadership and 21st Century policing principles throughout the country. Mr. Smith currently serves as the Statewide Director of Training for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.</div><div><br></div><div>“Tom brings decades of law enforcement and criminal justice experience to this important leadership role at the Department of Public Safety,” Commissioner Harrington said. “He has a history of building relationships between the community and police, which is critically important, now more than ever.”<br></div><div><br></div><div>Mr. Smith is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the FBI National Executive Institute. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Metropolitan State University and master’s degree in Leadership and Education from the University of St. Thomas. Mr. Smith has served on numerous community boards and is an active member of the African American Leadership Council in Saint Paul.<br></div><div><br></div><div>As Assistant Commissioner for Law Enforcement, Mr. Smith oversees&#58;<br></div><div><ul><li><a href="/divisions/age/Pages/default.aspx">Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement</a></li><li><a href="/divisions/bca/Pages/default.aspx">Bureau of Criminal Appr​ehension</a></li><li><a href="/divisions/msp/Pages/default.aspx">Minnesota St​ate Patrol​</a></li></ul></div><div><br></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;">###<br></div><div><br><br></div><p><br></p>4/14/2022 2:50:53 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety . PAUL — Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced today that Thomas Smith is the new DPS 277https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Former Alexandria Police Chief Arrested48844/8/2022 9:15:00 PM<p>​​​ST. PAUL — Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents arrested former Alexandria, Minn., police chief Richard Wyffels following a year-long investigation for alleged financial crimes.<br></p><p>Wyffels, 57, was taken into custody without incident today at his Alexandria home. He has been charged by complaint with felony Theft by Swindle and was booked into the Douglas County Jail. Wyffels is expected to appe​ar in Douglas County District Court in the coming days.</p><p>The Stearns County Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case for the Douglas County Attorney’s Office. Further information about the investigation is <a href="https&#58;//content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MNDPS/2022/04/08/file_attachments/2127440/Complaint.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">contained in the criminal complaint</a>.</p><p>The BCA initiated the investigation at the request of the City of Alexandria. It remains an active and ongoing investigation.<br></p><p>###<br></p><p><br></p>4/8/2022 9:18:51 PMA Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety ST. PAUL — Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents arrested former Alexandria, Minn., police chief Richard 159https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ooc/news-releases/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx