The Shakopee Police Department got a $60,000 matching grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to start a body-camera program.

The department does not own body cameras now. It will buy more than 40 to equip officers, according to Chief Jeff Tate. The same federal program has also funded body cameras for other Twin Cities departments.

Money is an obstacle for departments nationwide seeking to start body camera programs. “Our officers are excited to get the cameras on,” Tate said. “I probably wouldn’t have said that five years ago, but they are. We’ll make sure that money is put to good use.”


Inver Grove Heights
Police to undergo crisis training

Officers in the Inver Grove Heights Police Department will get 40 hours of Crisis Intervention Training, after a City Council vote late last month approving an accelerated training plan.

The nine-month training program will give officers “an in-depth look at mental illness and its implications for law enforcement,” according to a city news release. Issues covered in the training will include psychotic, mood, cognitive and substance abuse disorders; suicide assessment; adolescent and elder issues; post-traumatic stress disorder; and mental health courts.

Mental health advocates and people with mental illness will talk about their lives, and officers will visit mental health and local service providers, the city’s statement said. “The biggest thing the community can do to help is be supportive and remember to wait for factual information before rushing to judgment.”


South St. Paul
Incumbent accused of campaign sign violation

Tom Seaberg, a South St. Paul City Council member who is running for mayor, has been accused of failing to include a correctly-formatted disclaimer on his campaign lawn signs by James Clark, a South St. Paul resident.

Clark alleges that the disclaimer on Seaberg’s signs — “Paid for by Seaberg for Mayor,” and Seaberg’s address — is too small to be seen. Minnesota statute requires the disclaimer to be “prominently” displayed, and Clark says the address on the signs differs from the one identified on Seaberg’s campaign financial reports.

An administrative law judge concluded that the signs do appear to lack disclaimers. A probable-cause hearing took place last week. The judge’s decision is expected by Tuesday, Oct. 11.


Board approves two new solar plants

The Scott County Board of Commissioners approved two new solar projects in Sand Creek Township.
Next Era Energy and Tru North Solar will build 4.7-megawatt and 3-megawatt sysems on 18-acre and 25-acre plots, respectively. The plants are predicted to offset carbon dioxide from more than 1,000 homes and to generate $1.4 million in property and solar production taxes for the county and township over a 35-year lifespan.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve, with Joe Wagner and Tom Wolf of Credit River Township voting against the project. The Sand Creek Township Board and the county’s Planning Commission had recommended approval.


Ryder Cup drives Airbnb’s  home-sharing numbers

Airbnb, the online home sharing website, has released data showing an explosion of guests renting homes during the Ryder Cup, with the highest numbers in Hennepin County.

During Ryder Cup week, Hennepin County hosted 2,437 guests, a 144-percent increase over a typical week.

Ramsey County also saw increases, with 508 guests visiting during the week, a 134-percent hike. Carver County, home of the actual event, had 432 people staying there, a 732-percent increase.  Scott County saw an additional 67 guests renting an Airbnb home, nearly five times the usual number.
Chaska alone hosted 215 Airbnb guests — more than 12 times an average week.


Carver County
U of M recognizes county parks project

The American Planning Association’s Minnesota chapter has awarded its outstanding student project award to a team of University of Minnesota students who completed a project together with Carver County’s parks department last spring.

The five Humphrey School of Public Affairs students were recognized Sept. 28 for working with Carver County on a Resilient Communities Project, which identified ways to encourage communities of color to get involved in the park planning process.

Students suggested the county build relationships through existing organizations that draw people of color and immigrants. The team provided a list of these organizations, a rationale for their selection, and contacts at each.