Historically, summer is the busiest time of year for Minnesota police departments. The Grand Rapids Police Department is no exception. With the vacation season in full swing, there are more people in town. This brings with it more vehicle traffic and we see an increase in the number of driving complaints and traffic accidents. Fortunately, with safer vehicles and improved roadway engineering, the vast majority of these accidents do not result in injury. Officers take traffic safety very seriously and we place more emphasis on it during the summer. In fact, this summer we are collaborating with the State Patrol in a program in which officers spend time during most shifts on those roadways where accidents take place.
We also receive more domestic dispute calls during the warm months. No doubt, this correlates with alcohol consumption. Although rare, there are some nights when the local detox center is completely full.
Summer isn’t just a busy time for the police department. It is a time when much is taking place in the community. The police department, especially our police reserve unit, play a role in many of them. This weekend, July 26-28, is the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Swap Meet and Car Show, which will be held at the Itasca County Fairgrounds.
The following weekend is Tall Timber Days. There will be a street dance with a live band on Friday and Saturday nights. The dance will be held in “Kremer’s Parking Lot” located at First Avenue Northwest and 4th Street. The annual parade begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Next up is National Night Out, taking place on Tuesday, Aug. 6, beginning at 5 p.m. We really look forward to this event, as it is an opportunity for the community to meet their first responders, view equipment and have questions answered. There are many organizations that make this possible, not the least of which is our business community. Among other things, they donate bicycles that children have a chance to win.
The Itasca County Fair starts Wednesday, Aug. 14 and marks the nearing of the end of summer. Grand Rapids Police Officers and Itasca County Sheriff’s Deputies work the fair during the daytime hours. Meds-1 paramedics are actually stationed at the fairgrounds during the fair. Each night the Itasca County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue provides security.
Finally, two weeks after the fair, Labor Day weekend arrives and the members of the police department take a collective sigh of relief. The busy summer months are over as school starts and the call load slows a bit. Our School Resource Officers leave their duties on the road to return to the schools. This year, Officer Greg Lease will again be at Grand Rapids High School. Officer Michelle Norris will replace Officer Justin Edmundson as the Middle School Resource Officer.
As the nights become crisper and the leaves begin their journey toward autumn splendor, the morning chatter in the squad room will change from fishing to anticipation of grouse and deer hunting. The changing seasons are a reminder that it is good to live in the northland and our great community of Grand Rapids.