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Unwavering support for our police

Some community members are expressing concern regarding what is perceived to be an increase in crime within our beloved Zenith City. While we understand their concern, the Duluth Area Chamber's leadership remains unequivocally confident in the crime fighting abilities of our Duluth Police Department. Our confidence originates from our belief in, and our unwavering support for, Police Chief Mike Tusken.

Chief Tusken is a wonderful example of homegrown talent. He was born and raised in Duluth, growing up in the lovely Morgan Park neighborhood. After graduating from the historic and magnificent Duluth Denfeld High School, he earned his law enforcement degree from Hibbing Community College and a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Herzing University.

He has served the citizens of Duluth since 1992 as a patrol officer, juvenile investigator, patrol sergeant, financial crimes investigative sergeant, lieutenant commander, patrol deputy chief and interim police chief. Mayor Emily Larson promoted him to police chief in May 2016. Mayor Larson chose well. We applaud her decision.

I recently attended a West Duluth Business Club meeting, held at the City Hall of West Duluth, Mr. D's Bar & Grill. Chief Tusken was the keynote speaker. It was readily apparent from the warm reception he received from those in attendance that members of the business community appreciate and admire Chief Tusken. It was also clear that audience members held him in their hearts as the pride of Morgan Park.

Our police department is the third largest in Minnesota. It is nationally recognized for its innovative policing programs. The department has a staff of approximately 155 police officers and 40 support staff. The department's annual budget is over $20 million.

These officers and support staff deserve our steadfast support and encouragement. Their work is always challenging and often times dangerous.

Last week, I was enjoying lunch at a local fast food restaurant when three police officers settled into the table next to me. Shortly after their arrival, an elderly woman approached the officers and said, "Excuse me, but I want to share with you how much I admire and support the work you do." The officers graciously thanked the woman. It was heartwarming and encouraging to witness this endearing exchange.

This woman's encouragement was a private affirmation of the work being completed by our police officers. Let this article serve as a public affirmation of the work being accomplished by Chief Tusken and his 195 colleagues.

The Chamber's leadership stands in solidarity with, and in unwavering support for, our brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

David Ross

David Ross is the president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at 740-3751.

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