The Prior Lake City Council unanimously approved a three-year funding agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) last week that would designate an officer to join Southwest Metro Drug Task Force.

The law enforcement agency, one of 23 drug task forces across Minnesota, focuses on drug trafficking in Scott, Carver and McLeod counties as well as the cities of Excelsior, Greenwood, Shorewood and Tonka Bay. Prior Lake pays dues as a voting member of the organization but does not have an investigator assigned to the multi-jurisdictional force or employ an officer with extensive drug training.

Over the past six months, authorities say they have recorded nearly a dozen overdose calls, and responded to at least one drug-related shooting and homicide. The city of 25,000 tracks two or more overdoses a month, officials said.

“Our community and county has seen a dramatic increase in both utilization and drug-related crime,” said Mayor Kirt Briggs. “I certainly see this drug task force officer as providing us with the resources focused on a problem that’s become very troubling.”

Under the agreement beginning Oct. 1, the Mdewakanton Sioux tribe would contribute $70,000 a year toward officer-related expenses. Prior Lake would pay the remaining personnel costs for each of the three years.

Although the police department has made strides to curb drug use — such as equipping officers with Narcan, an overdose antidote that can reverse the effects of opioids, and sponsoring programs that allow residents to dump unwanted prescription pills — Police Chief Mark Elliott recently told the City Council that his department lacks the resources to fight the drug epidemic at the dealer level. Meth and heroin continue to be the biggest public safety concerns, Elliott said.

“I feel this would be a very effective way for us to try and combat that crime,” he said.

Liz Sawyer

West St. Paul

Ryan Schroeder is hired as city manager

West St. Paul hired interim city manager Ryan Schroeder to take on the role permanently at the May 22 City Council meeting.

Schroeder, Cottage Grove’s city administrator for three decades, was filling the position on an interim basis since late January.

Schroeder replaces Matt Fulton, who resigned in early January after several council members asked him to step down.

His annual salary will be $150,500.

Erin Adler

Burnsville

Ceremony will honor rescuers of 6-year-old

Four bystanders, along with several paramedics and officers, will be honored June 6 by the city of Burnsville for saving a 6-year-old girl from drowning last summer at a local pool.

On June 11, 2016, a girl named Chloe was swimming in a pool at her Burnsville apartment complex. She fell into the deep end and sunk to the bottom around 7:45 p.m. and wasn’t noticed by others for more than five minutes.

A 10-year-old named Jo-Lan Evans spotted her and alerted others in the area. Soon after, 15-year-old Jaqueline Montenegro jumped in and pulled Chloe to the surface, according to a Burnsville news release.

Next, Ryan Quinn and Casey Gliem started doing chest compressions and CPR. Though Chloe wasn’t responding, the two continued their efforts. Two police officers, Lauren Smith and Jake Gribble, arrived and took over chest compressions while Quinn continued mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. After Chloe regained a pulse, paramedics took her to the hospital.

Chloe was “back to her old self before the end of the day,” the news release said.

Evans, Montenegro, Quinn and Gliem will receive an “award of valor” at 6:30 p.m. at the June 6 City Council meeting, while officers Smith and Gribble will be presented with a “lifesaving award.” Sgt. Steve Soler, former fire captain Rick Steinhaus, former firefighter paramedic Andrew Hamlin, and firefighter/paramedics Andrain Roach and Jayson Knutson will also receive the “lifesaving award.”

Erin Adler

Shakopee

City announces summer concert series

Downtown Shakopee will host a weekly summer concert series each Wednesday night from July 19 through August 16, officials said.

Rhythm on the Rails, a collaboration between the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, will set up its stage in front of the railroad tracks with a festival running along First Avenue.

The five-week series will include art and retail shops, family-friendly activities, and several food vendors.

Each week will begin with 45 minutes of music from local acts, with headliners taking the stage around 7 p.m. For information, see the city’s website at visitshakopee.org

LIZ SAWYER

Scott County

Mobility service expands to weekends

SmartLink, a door-to-door mobility service that runs throughout the south metro, has expanded its bus hours on weeknights and on weekends, officials said.

As of June 1, Dial-a-Ride services will run weekday evenings until 9 p.m. and weekends from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Carver and Scott counties. One-way fares will range from $2.25 to $6.75, depending on distance. In Scott County, residents can ride free on weekends in June.

Reservations are available Monday through Friday (7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) by calling 952-496-8341, ext. 1. Services are not available on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. For more information, visit smartlinktransit.com

LIZ SAWYER