President LeDoux called the January 11th, 2023 meeting to order at 0805 hours.
Present were President LeDoux, Vice President Beasley, North Weinrich, South Theel, Secretary Harjes, Treasurer Orpen, 2100 Bormann, 2200 Dellwo, 2300 Larsen, 2400 Cederstrom, 2500 Hanson, 2600 McClure, 2700 Carlson (Alternate), 2800 Johnson, 2900 Hanson, 3100 Pearson, 3200 Danielson, Business Manager Baker.
Absent – Mark McGrew (2700)
Motion to accept the October minutes: Motion by 2900 Hanson, seconded by 2400 Cederstrom: CARRIED
1010: Colonel Langer and Lt Colonel Bogojevic arrived
We have a new Public Safety Commissioner (Bob Jacobson). He thinks very highly of the State Patrol and is a genuine person. He has been a very approachable person. He will be writing a quarterly article for the Trooper Magazine again as well.
There will be challenges ahead of us legislatively.
On the recruitment side of things, we still have significant struggles. There’s a lot of things that need to be done, but there’s not one thing that will fix it. We have had two academies each year to just maintain our numbers where we are at. We opened the hiring process again to see what it would garner and had 4 people make it to backgrounds for the 67th academy. We had 8 people submit for the recruitment bonus for the 66th(ETSO) academy. We’re putting money towards marketing, it’s been helpful, but hasn’t moved the needle on recruitment.
The second language differential has been a monumental lift. We’re getting closer to finalizing it. It’s not life changing money, but for those using that skill, it’s extra money for them.
District In-Service Training will add additional training this year including the Fusion Center and SFSTs. We’re teetering on the edge of needing to hold a 4-day Centralized In-Service Training so we’re trying to push more towards DIST instead of moving to a 4-day CIST.
The Axon flex mount (magnet mount) has caused issues during use of force encounters and even minor scuffles by falling off. We’ve had too many incidents of it falling off and have started to research different mounts. Captain Geiger has been researching them and will be presenting options to the board today. We’ve had low usage of the newly issued wing-clip from CIST. The whole Axon system is a cultural shift. Everything is tracked and monitored. We’re not where we need to be on the accountability side of things with Axon. This is easy to solve if everyone ramps up on their diligence and is taking care of Axon related items as trained. We have a mock audit approaching to see where we are at for the statute mandated review.
We’re going to add two investigator positions in the metro due to the significantly increased case load. There is no district backfill for these positions.
We’ve wrestled with Brady-Giglio issues around the state. There is no statewide standard on how to deal these Brady-Giglio issues that come up around the state. We’ve held our ground on what we are doing statewide. There must be some due process for the employee. There is concern with county attorneys creating their own lists, from limited information, refusing to prosecute cases. This provides no due process to the employee and an inconsistent standard from county to county. Prior to this issue coming up around the state, judges typically would make the final decision on if an employee issue is relevant to the case/testimony. We don’t have any active members that have been Brady-Giglioed as those people are no longer with the agency. There are some cases that are “gray”, but we can’t make employment decisions on gray issues. The BCA is seeing the same issue as well.
Major Meagher put together a document to manage the pay differentials across the state. We got tired of seeing issues with pay differentials around the state. We expected HR to figure it out but took on the task ourselves to solve the issue.
The Governor’s budget will be out by the end of the month. We’ve requested an operating budget adjustment.
The awards ceremony is coming up next month. There’s a lot of hard, outstanding work done by Troopers. It’s been a long time since troopers have worked in weather like we’ve had this winter, with the snow events lasting multiple days.
LtCol: Regarding Internal Affairs cases, I have been working with Lynn Mueller to get as many IA cases cleared out as quick as possible since I have started.
Questions for the Chief
3200: No questions
3100: No questions
2900: No questions
2800: We have a couple backgrounders that are done with the background program. These backgrounders feel like the background investigations are being rewritten by the training center to the point where the narrative has changed from what the background investigator has originally written. The backgrounders are also struggling with the lack of time to perform a background.
CHQ: I’ll ask some questions about that. The December background process was different, we had limited time to get that done with the additional hiring process. What’s the downstream feeling? Does it make the candidate appear better or worse?
2800 follow-up: The backgrounder felt it changed the whole essence of the report and wouldn’t have prevented this person from being hired.
VP follow-up: This is a timing thing for me. This seems to be the trend for every academy, that we try to force this process into tighter and tighter time slots, and the trend cannot continue to do a successful background. If this was my background, TDS needs to come to me to let me know what has changed.
CHQ follow-up: TDS/HR review the background summaries for consistency and to ensure compliance with policy. If substantive changes are made, TDS will communicate those changes with the background investigator.
2800: When asked by deputies or officers about our residency exceptions, we know there is no latitude in residency, and we have to tell them that reality.
CHQ: If we give a person 5 miles, does that mean we can give 5.1 miles? There is always going to be that person with a compelling reason to justify a residency exception. That’s the dilemma. The challenge isn’t where the line is, it’s how do you make decisions when there are compelling cases to move on the other side of that line? It’s an issue without a solution.
2700: No questions
2600: How would our agency respond if a member was put on a Brady-Giglio list? A county in our district has sought out discipline records on every Trooper in the county and have created their own internal “Brady” list that is disclosed in the courtroom. What would the agency’s response be if the counties start creating their own lists that prevent that Trooper from testifying?
CHQ: We don’t have a person that works for us that is Brady-Giglio impaired. We have people that have made significant mistakes. I’m not sure exactly what we would do. Don’t lie. Tell the truth. There was a county attorney in the state that was disbarred over them not having a policy on how to handle Brady-Giglio issues. It’s the trooper’s obligation to disclose it if requested.
2800 follow-up: We had a similar issue recently with a defense attorney contacting a prosecuting attorney for all the disciplinary information on a member.
2600: With marijuana being a top priority legislatively in Minnesota, how will we handle that internally as an agency?
CHQ: There isn’t guidance to employers on how to handle that. Everything we do is going to be more complicated. We know crashes will go up. We know injuries will go up. There will be a lot of questions that will come.
2500: There was a trooper who was in a pursuit and performed a legal PIT maneuver and everything was deemed within policy. The trooper was given a P for the PIT.
CHQ: I need to look into that case. I haven’t heard of it yet.
2500 follow-up: It’s very recent.
2400: No questions
2300: I have some troopers wondering why the uniform is required vs business casual at the upcoming wellness training.
CHQ: I don’t have a good response. It’s hard to manage the business casual expectation and still be professional.
2300: We have MRT members that want to leave the team but are being told that isn’t an option.
CHQ: We know there are several people that want to leave. There is a lot of money invested into the training and equipment. The requests are taken seriously, and Captain Engeldinger will get those people off when new people come on.
2600 follow-up: Could that be something where a new rookie could be assigned to that team? Could the memo be adjusted to indicate that a person needs to be on MRT until the agency deems it OK to leave the team?
CHQ: I think a voluntary MRT is better than a mandated MRT. It doesn’t help us to have people on MRT that don’t want to be on there but at the same time we must have people on the team. I don’t think this is widespread issue.
President follow-up: I agree with you that we don’t want people on the team that don’t want to be there anymore.
2200: There was a lodging issue during the recent winter storm where there were road closures, with a rookie trying to meet their FTO prior to their shift. Would the agency ever consider providing lodging for these extreme cases of this happening?
CHQ: I’m never going to question why a captain would buy a hotel room for their rookie in a case like that.
2200: Would it ever be possible to backdate those discipline letters (placed in a person’s file) to when the original complaint was filed and not the date the letter was created/discipline was administered?
CHQ: I think that’s sticky with the dates being different from when it was administered. I would have to really look at the contract language. The solution is to get the internal affairs process moving quicker. The more times we can get these done at the district level it’ll be faster.
Vice-president follow-up: It would be interesting to change the contract language to say when the incident occurred instead of when the discipline was administered.
CHQ: It would be an interesting negotiation. It’s a good idea.
President follow-up: We are in favor of trying to handle more things at the district level. We have tried to solve this puzzle of internal affairs, and nothing has improved, or no answers have come to us. I think it may also improve relationships in the district by having more productive conversations.
South follow-up: I think the captains feel pressure to move them up to IA. We’ve talked ourselves blue about internal affairs timelines for 10 years, and it’s time to fix it.
CHQ: Every case does get pushed up to CHQ so to speak. It doesn’t mean that it’s being pushed to go to internal affairs. There’s never pressure that everything needs to go to internal affairs. At the same time if we’re going push things back down to the district, we need to make sure the quality is there in that investigation as well. We’re trying to raise the bar on how supervisors handle these cases. We’re going to provide more training to supervisors with some case study-based scenario training.
2800 follow-up: During a district level investigation, it came out where it appeared that a trooper may have not told the whole truth. Is something that should move up to internal affairs or be trained to handle?
CHQ: By policy, serious misconduct must go to internal affairs. If something comes up on the fly like that, the investigation should stop. If it does continue it is outside of policy and I don’t want to run afoul of that.
President follow-up: We also must follow the Peace Officers Bill of Rights.
North follow-up: Are supervisors held to that same level where cases are sent to internal affairs or an investigation?
CHQ: If a supervisor ends up in complaint, yes, they are investigated as well. The difference is they haven’t said anything to anyone about that investigation. This is not just a trooper model.
President: So non-serious complaints go to the district?
CHQ: My preference is that the complaint is filed and goes to the Lt Colonel. It then gets decided to either get sent back to the district or escalated to internal affairs.
2100: No questions
2000: Could Capitol Troopers get texting turned on since during events it’s hard to communicate via voice?
CHQ: Correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t the Capitol Troopers be in Intrepid Response? It’s a great platform for this purpose.
Secretary follow-up: Only supervisors and metro district investigators are currently in the system.
CHQ follow-up: This has been resolved.
2000: At what time will a permanently assigned investigator be assigned at 4600 to investigate the growing threats at the complex?
CHQ: It needs to be there. We just don’t have the bodies to fill that position right now. That’s a big part of the job description. We can provide training and guidance for those troopers.
2000: At what point does a text message from a supervisor open a personal phone to data requests for short notice overtime opportunities?
CHQ: You would be under no obligation to keep that information via text under our data retention policy and assuming it’s not part of anything else our data retention policies cover. A subpoena would be a different animal since it would be up to the court to determine its relevance. I don’t know how that would be relevant since it’s a discussion about nothing. If a trooper doesn’t like those types of messages on their personal phone it should be a discussion with their supervisor.
2000: If there are job opportunities that open in those areas where 2000 members work, could the 2000 members get notified of those opportunities?
CHQ: The best example of this is a 4700 Technical Sergeant and their unique residency. If it’s not happening, some people may not be on the distribution list. I will bring it up with the major.
2000: What would happen to a trooper if a judge ruled a trooper untruthful?
CHQ: I don’t like to solve hypotheticals. I’m not going to sugar coat it, but it’s a huge problem. What happens, I don’t know. I need to know more about the situation.
President follow-up: There is no due process for it.
North: No questions
South: We ran out of flares in 2400 during the big snow events. Apparently, the warehouse can only house two pallets of flares due to fire regulations. Are there better solutions for making sure we don’t run out in the future?
CHQ: I have not heard this yet. It’s non-excusable. It cannot be a problem that we have. We can figure out safe storage. What cannot happen is running of something that keeps us safe.
CHQ follow-up: Due to the fire hazard of flares and the City of St. Paul’s requirement to reduce our indoor flare storage amount, a couple of years ago we shifted from centralized storage/distribution to a model where the districts order and stock flares. A combination of the training provided around the state with encouragement to use flares, sustained winter weather requiring flares, and vendor delays in shipping created a shortage. We modified the stocking/ordering method to allow districts to continue placing orders in addition to the purchase of a shipping container to store flares at the 2400 District Office. This creates redundancy and reduces the likelihood of any shortage. Make no mistake about it, the agency supports the use of flares and we will keep them in plentiful supply.
South: Could we reduce HEAT shifts in the winter?
CHQ: There should be no HEAT going on right now. We all recognize that now is not the time. We agree that it should pick back up when the shoulders are dry.
President follow-up: To get people engaged, I thought that if we had program where there was a pool of overtime hours assigned to each trooper, they could use them when they want, work where they know they can have significant activity and provide excellent results.
CHQ: We did something like that before to use some funds that were available, and I’m not totally opposed to it. There are times where we do have money that needs to be put to good use.
South: With human trafficking on the rise, is there any interest to have additional training on it?
CHQ: It’s a good question. I love the idea.
CHQ follow-up: We have done some training in the past and will look at options to provide something in the short and long term.
South: To help generate more interest in getting more senior members involved with academies as a staff officer, could we look at changing staff officer commitments to tie in with the phases instead of the full length of the academy?
2800 follow-up: I’ve pushed Federal OCS. The military does this as well with the phase approach and it is effective.
CHQ: I don’t have an eloquent response other than I’ll think about it. In the Army model is that their job or is it just a volunteer thing?
2800 follow-up: It’s a volunteer assignment, but there are core staff involved as well. I would put in for our academies with a shortened commitment as would many others.
Vice president follow-up: So something like you could have five pushers, with three being there the whole duration, and then cycle through the other two positions throughout the academy.
Secretary follow-up: Something that was talked about in the past was using two additional troopers during the first phase to reduce the Shoreview/Ripley sergeant’s responsibilities.
CHQ: My mind is full of pros and cons, but it’s not a yes or no, just trying to think it through.
South: Since we’re not in negotiations, we’d like to bring up freeway pay again and the inconsistencies with it.
CHQ: We can talk about it, but we can’t do anything outside negotiations. We know people don’t stay in the metro because of freeway pay. The conversation I’m happy to have and discuss what exactly it is.
Business manager follow-up: It has changed throughout the years and many have tried to have it clarified multiple times, but it had more to do with cost of living.
Vice president follow-up: We would love to have a discussion about it with admin, what it would look like, but if we don’t talk about it, it will never get fixed.
CHQ: I’m happy to have a discussion. The MMB perspective is that it is odd to have a differential that is geographically driven so it kind of opens a can of worms with DNR and BCA not getting something similar. Let’s have a sidebar amongst a smaller group on that subject.
Secretary: Where are we at with the 3C Coordinator replacement?
CHQ: I want to try a civilian one more time. The position is meant to teach troopers those skillsets from the outside not law enforcement teaching law enforcement.
Treasurer: No Questions
Vice-President: There’s must be a better way for this investigation process for these media allegations. Several members have been accused of unbecoming conduct, subject of the complaint and they sit down to watch a video and are not even present in a video. There is zero information that they have done anything wrong.
CHQ: It is super frustrating. The dilemma is that Director Lynn Mueller is being investigated herself and her office is being investigated for the investigations they do. They are super uncomfortable with that, and it’s the same as what a trooper feels. The supervisor’s association has the same issue with the investigation. The challenge is we have this widespread allegation. The strategy for this is outside of the norm. I don’t have a good answer for you because it’s her prerogative on how to do it.
Vice-President follow-up: Does Director Mueller have the option to just remove a person’s name from the investigation/complaint or must the name be left in the investigation and then exonerated?
CHQ: It think it’s the first example, but I will have to check. In my mind it is better that way than have a complaint you were exonerated from.
2600 follow-up: As a delegate involved in one of those meetings, there was nothing to tie that member to the incident. I asked the investigator if the person’s name can be removed as a subject to a witness in the investigation and was told no.
CHQ: Lynn can do that, the investigator cannot. The sooner we can get to end of it, the better.
President: The new white tabs are hard to see on a white license plate.
CHQ: I’ll bring it up with DVS.
President: I want to compliment you on correcting the lateral pay issues with new troopers.
President: Recruit, retain and retire. It’s a big concern of mine with the 150 or so people eligible for retirement over the next 5 years in our organization and getting those people replaced so the people still around have partners to work with.
President: The jump packs that are made today are much higher quality that the ones previously issued. It’s a small investment in keeping our roads open and clear.
President: District level training is much preferred over the CIST model.
President: Let us know if there is anything collectively, we can work on together at the legislature to accomplish our objectives.
CHQ: There will be an opportunity to help each other at the legislature this year, which is good for the organization.
Presentation by Captain Bartel (2500) on the active shooter equipment that is being looked at and the MSP Data Dashboard by Captain Geiger (CHQ).
Motion to attend the MPPOA Legislative Conference. Motion by 2900 Hanson, seconded by 2700 Carlson: CARRIED
Motion to attend the National Troopers Coalition Conference. Motion by 2400 Cederstrom, seconded by 2000 Phillips. CARRIED
Please talk to your members about pursuits. It is not worth it. It is resulting in a disproportionate amount of time we spend on internal affairs investigations.
Body camera review is ramping up, watch what you are doing before you stop a car with the 60 second prebuffer.
Watch what you are doing on social media. Be smart.
Motion to donate $2200 to 2023 Wishes and More for their annual winter fundraising event. Motion by 3100 Pearson, seconded by 2300 Larsen: CARRIED (donation was approved during 2022 budget year)
Motion to donate $1000 to the Alexandria Tech Scholarship Fund. Motion by 2600 McClure, seconded by 2300 Larsen: CARRIED
Motion to donate $4000 to the Annual MSPTA Golf Tournament. Motion by 2400 Cederstrom, seconded by South Delegate Theel: CARRIED
Motion to donate $2500 to the Backing the Blue Line. Motion by 2700 Carlson, seconded by 2800 Johnson:CARRIED
Motion to donate $500 to the Bears the Care. Motion by 2600 McClure, seconded by 2800 Johnson: CARRIED
Motion to donate $500 to the Tim Bowe Golf Tournament. Motion by South Delegate Theel, seconded by 2300 Larsen: CARRIED
Motion to donate a $10 gift card to each dispatcher. Motion by 2000 Phillips, seconded by 2700 Carlson:CARRIED
Motion to donate $250 to the MPPOA Fishing Tournament. Motion by 2800 Johnson, seconded by 2400 Cederstrom: CARRIED
Motion to donate $1000 to the House of Shields. Motion by 2100 Bormann, seconded by 2900 Hanson: CARRIED
Motion to donate $5000 to the Legionville Summer Safety Camp. Motion by 2900 Hanson, seconded by 2300 Larsen: CARRIED
Motion to donate Wishes and More for the 2024 winter fundraising event. Motion by 2900 Hanson, seconded by 3200 Danielson: CARRIED
Motion to donate $2000 to the Minnesota 100 Club. Motion by D2900 Hanson, seconded by South Delegate Theel: CARRIED
Member increase in 2023 with more sworn troopers.
Association due increase went into effect in January 2023 to $30 per pay period.
Legal fees have increased significantly over the last two years. We are budgeting for $25,000 for fiscal year 2023.
Motion to approve the budget report. Motion by D2400 Cederstrom, seconded by D2100 Bormann: CARRIED
Thank you to everyone that submitted articles for the next issue. We have a lot of content for this next magazine.
There was a discussion about reducing the magazine down to two issues per year, since MPPOA will be doing the same. No changes made in distribution at this time.
There are 3 deployment grievances pending right now that are being worked through regarding hours worked and schedules being changed.
We’ll try to increase the COLA by .5%, and some sort of contribution reduction. It will be a difficult push, however.
The IRS has increased the max contribution amounts considerably on what you can put into deferred comp ($22,500) for 2023. Personal (non-work sponsored) contribution limits increased to $6,500 for 2023.
- Still working on Spiewak uniform shirt redesign.
- Streicher AED program is working well and has positive feedback.
- There was a maroon soft shell jacket request and a hard no on that request.
- Reminder you can get a new straw hat every year, we will not be looking at any other vendors.
- Discussion on jump packs
- Dodge Charger production is ending, for 2024 we are still waiting to see what Dodge will offer. They are rumored to make a police interceptor type version of the sedan.
- Fireworks testing on our uniforms was conducted this fall, uniforms held up well.
Discussion over legislative items that are being discussed for this session. The landscape has changed significantly.
No news from MMB yet on the next negotiations cycle. The next OLA study that will be completed in January 2024 for updated comparisons.
Will look into possible shirt designs for members
Discussion on the classic car committee
2800: Discussion over any plans for the patrol’s 100-year anniversary.
V.P.: Discussion over the future of the board with the President and Vice President retiring in the next few years.
Discussion over DPP time and the state delaying the draw of those three hours per member per the MSPTA bylaws. The process started with HR back in August. The 3-hour draw is scheduled for per period ending 2/14/23 with recent academies excluded.
Discussion on by-law changes regarding changes for the Janus ruling and political contingency fund.
Motion to send out by-law changes for voting to members at next district level meeting. Motion by 2700 Carlson, seconded by 2400 Cederstrom: CARRIED
Motion to adjourn day one at 1700 hours. Motion by 2400 Cederstrom, seconded by 2300 Larsen: CARRIED
Motion to adjourn day two at 1152 hours. Motion by 2400 Cederstrom, seconded by 2700 Carlson: CARRIED
- Spring Executive Council Meeting – April 4th, 2023 – St. Cloud, MN
- Wishes and More – February 11th, 2023 – Bloomington, MN – (Weinrich, Phillips, Theel, Orpen, Bormann)
- MPPOA Legislative Conference – February 24th – 25th, 2023 – Duluth, MN – (McGrew & LeDoux)
- National Troopers Coalition Conference – April 16th – 20th, 2023 – TBD, (LeDoux, Theel & Orpen)
- Summer Executive Council Meeting – July 11th, 2023 – TBD
- MSPTA Golf Tournament – July 19th– July 20th, 2023 – Otter Tail, MN
- Retired Trooper Day – August 1st, 2023 – St. Cloud, MN
- Fall Executive Council Meeting – October 3rd, 2023 – St. Cloud, MN
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