The Mounds View Police Department was established in the mid 1950’s, with John Och as the first Police Chief. The Department operated with 3 full time officers and 1 part time officer, with a $5,000.00 annual budget, providing around the clock patrols. The department was originally located on County Road I and Adams Street and later moved to the Public Works building on Bronson Drive, where they utilized two small rooms and a single garage. In 1974, City Hall expanded and the police department moved into the addition where it is still located today.
In 1957, the Mounds View Police were involved in the apprehension of the three O’Kasick brothers, who were wanted for killing a police officer and wounding another officer in Minneapolis. While evading capture for 28 days, the brothers stole several vehicles, kidnapped a woman, and murdered another man. Mounds View residents kept their doors locked and stayed inside knowing the brothers were nearby. Mounds View Officer Roy Schaffhausen set up road blocks in the area and later joined the manhunt at the Carlos Avery Game Farm. The brothers were eventually located with the assistance of hundreds of officers and a Highway Patrol plane. Two of the O’Kasick brothers were killed and the other one was wounded in a dramatic shoot out.
In the 1970’s, the department grew to 11 officers. The minimum qualifications to be a police officer were a high school diploma and completion of a short training session at the nearby Army arsenal. Officers carried a revolver, flashlight, and billy club and wore many hats. There were no paramedics at the time. They drove a station wagon and transported patients to the hospital. The department had only two handheld radios for the entire staff, which included one female officer, Harriet Larson, who worked dances to monitor the female attendees. Harriet was a secretary by day and had full police powers at night. The department would not have another female police officer join the patrol unit until 2009.
On July 9, 1986, the Williams Pipeline exploded in the area of Long Lake Road and Woodcrest Drive, resulting in two deaths. Mounds View and New Brighton Police Departments and Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department responded and after a two hour battle were able to extinguish the fire. The police department was responsible for standing guard over the damaged portion of the pipeline while the cause of the explosion was investigated. It was eventually determined that heat from a passing vehicle caused the natural gas, which had leaked over a two block area, to ignite.
In August of 2007, the Mounds View Police Department was recognized for their response to the I35W Bridge Collapse in August of 2007. Without hesitation, officers joined in the response with 75 other local, state, and federal agencies. Those trapped on the bridge were rescued within three hours, but the incident left 13 people dead and 145 people injured.
The City of Mounds View’s first K9 Officer, Niko, joined the force in 2012. He is a German Shepherd from Eastern Europe, born in May 2011. K9 Niko works full time with handler Officer Erickson in the patrol unit. The team trains daily with other Officers and participate annually in the United States Police Canine Association Regional PD-1 Certification Trials.
Today, The Mounds View Police Department consists of 20 officers who hold all levels of educational achievements, including several Bachelors and Masters Degrees. A Police Civil Service Commission of 3 members oversees personnel operations which include: recruiting, testing, and selecting candidates and certifying officers for promotions and appointments. The responsibilities of our police officers include responding to emergency and non-emergency calls for service, enforcement of traffic laws, investigating criminal activity, effecting arrests as prescribed by law, and many other daily activities which help keep the residents of Mounds View safe. Officers still respond to medical emergencies with paramedics from Allina Health, who provide in depth care and transport injured persons to the hospital. Officers participate in regular training for firearms, defensive tactics, emergency pursuit driving, and first aid. The equipment Officers’ carry and use today is current with technological advances in law enforcement, including body worn cameras and vehicle license plate readers.
The staff of the Mounds View Police Department enjoys working with the members of the Mounds View community and looks forward to continuing to work with residents and business owners keeping the city safe.