Center will focus on crisis response

Construction began last week on Dakota County's $12.8 million Safety and Mental Health Alternative Response Training (SMART) Center at Hwy. 52 and Concord Boulevard in Inver Grove Heights.

The 35,000-square-foot facility will be used for crisis response and de-escalation training required of law enforcement officers and first responders.

The facility, to be completed in summer 2021, will include a classroom and four training rooms for response drills. The Minnesota Crisis Intervention Team and Dakota County's electronic crimes unit and drug task force will use the center.

The state allocated $6.2 million in bonding dollars in 2018 to pay for the facility, along with funds from the county.

Erin Adler


Counties look at ROOK rescue vehicle

Washington and Ramsey county officials are considering sharing the $110,000 cost and operation of an armored multi-terrain rescue vehicle, called a ROOK.

Washington County commissioners agreed earlier this month on an arrangement to maintain and store the vehicle, which they say will keep officers and the public safe in dangerous rescue situations resulting from disasters like flooding and wind damage.

A large part of the cost would be covered with a state grant the Washington County Sheriff's Office received last year, with the balance paid with forfeiture funds. The counties would use a formula based on their respective populations (Ramsey 550,000, Washington 262,000) to divvy up maintenance and handling.



Shell named director of public services

Carver officials have appointed Chad Shell as the city's new public services director.

Shell has worked as a technician in Carver's public services department since 2018. Before that, he held a similar position in public works for Elko New Market.

Shell, a native of Fairmont, Minn., earned a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. He holds licenses and certifications in water supply systems, wastewater treatment, turf grass maintenance and snow and ice control.

He replaces Brian Skok, who left Carver to become utilities superintendent for Apple Valley.



Sheriff joins in White House ceremony

Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart went to the White House last week, along with other law enforcement officials from across the country, for President Donald Trump's announcement of his executive order on police reform.

Stuart, who has served as sheriff since 2011, was invited as a representative of the National Sheriffs' Association, which he serves as treasurer. He said law enforcement officers, federal officials and other stakeholders worked on the order to "include de-escalation and other training, accreditation initiatives, and additional actions focused on improving law enforcement accountability and operations."

Opponents said the order falls short of addressing systemic racism and issues of police brutality that have been at the core of recent protests.