Cloquet City Council approves study of police department, facilitiesCloquet City Councilors hired a company to analyze the Cloquet Police Department by unanimous vote Tuesday.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Cloquet City Councilors hired a company to analyze the Cloquet Police Department by unanimous vote Tuesday.
Although the bid from Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute was slightly over the $30,000 budget, staff and council committee members recommended approval of the Minnesota-based firm for the study.
The study is a priority identified by the Council at its 2012 retreat. Although the initial goal was to explore the possibility of further opportunities for shared services — the department already shares a 911 service and jail with the Carlton County Sheriff’s Department — it will now also cover current departmental organization and staffing, workloads and personnel allocation as well as a review of departmental rules and regulations.
“The police department hasn’t expanded in 17 years,” Police Chief Wade Lamirande told the council, reminding them that he had asked to add two additional officer positions in the recent past. “Yet we’ve had an increase in calls for service and higher levels of serious crime as well as other undesireable elements, such as gangs.”
Lamirande said the study will also evaluate the current police facilities, which are shared with the Cloquet Area Fire District.
As proposed, the Policing Institute would work in collaboration with the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association to complete the analysis.
Councilor Kerry Kolodge — who works for the Duluth Police Department — noted that the study is not because of any complaints about the department.
“We’re making a proactive move here,” Kolodge said.
Lamirande said the department is supportive of the study.
“All of us think it’s a good thing,” he said. “It will give the council and the community a good blueprint of what types of services they want from the police department and how to get there.”
In other matters during Tuesday’s meeting, City Councilors took the following actions:
- Accepted the 2012 audit results;
- Approved city staff putting out a request for proposal for a housing study and needs analysis for Cloquet and Scanlon;
- Tabled approval of a skid steer loader pending discussion of winter sidewalk snow removal needs;
- Approved a community marketing video agreement (with Councilor Steve Langley dissenting) with CGI Communications, Inc., out of Rochester, N.Y. CGI will develop two videos for the city at no cost, which could be accessed on the city’s website. When people click on the videos, however, they will be redirected to the CGI website to view it and other area business videos, which would be paid advertising.
“I’m uncomfortable with the idea that businesses might think the city is soliciting them to advertise,” Councilor David Bjerkness said. Community Development Director Holly Butcher said the contract would allow the city to disallow certain types of businesses from advertising on the associated website.
- Reappointed Dave Manderfeld to the WLSSD board.