I am thankful for ...
The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone for a couple weeks now. During the holiday, like many of you, it is time to gather with family and friends and give pause to reflect upon the good fortunes bestowed upon us. Here is my list for which I am most thankful.
• Another year of good health in my family. It is one of those most significant gifts many of us have in our lives that we can sometimes overlook or take for granted. I appreciate my family's support of me even though my work keeps me often working long hours and most days. I am truly blessed.
• The health and well-being of my Duluth Police family. This year we saw the birth of lots of new healthy babies and staff had some illness and injury, but overall, we have been a pretty healthy group.
• DPD officers have been safe in a time of great angst, fear and uncertainty in policing in America. Targeted attacks on police have led to a deadly year in policing across the country. 136 officers have lost their lives this year, a 14 percent increase over last year. Gunfire deaths are responsible for 60 deaths, a 67 percent increase. For the first time in my memory, firearms deaths have surpassed auto-related deaths at 54, which also represents a 20 percent increase over last year. While we have been safe here, my heart aches for my fellow law enforcement brothers and sisters who mourn the loss of one of their own.
• Unforeseen staffing shortages at the end of last year had DPD working short while we trained in new officers for the first half of 2016. All staff worked longer and harder to maintain safety in our community. We sustained crime reductions yet another year. Great effort and well done, DPD!
• DPD has dedicated and committed command staff, sergeants and civilian managers who lead our organization to realize daily success.
• Deb Holman is a homeless outreach worker at CHUM who exemplifies kindness, caring and concern in her tireless commitment to selflessly serving our most vulnerable citizens in finding shelter and safety. Deb is a great partner to DPD helping us keep people safe!
• Chief Gordon Ramsay worked tirelessly as a chief of police here in Duluth for a decade. He left behind a legacy of innovation and success. I had the good fortune of working with him during his time here in Duluth and I am better for having done so.
• The leadership working for the City of Duluth demonstrates daily tremendous knowledge, dedication and vision for the future of the City of Duluth. We are fortunate to have such a talented directors and managers. Mayor Larson is excellent building teams and getting cross-disciplinary participation in helping shape good public policy decisions.
• Denny Edwards my new counterpart in public safety at the fire department shares a vision for how police and fire can improve operational success and serve our city working together. He has a tremendous ideas which will enhance public safety response. I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.
• Carl Crawford serves as our new human rights officer. Carl is an incredibly talented man, a great mentor who has such a powerful presence. I look forward to learning from him and I appreciate his counsel and guidance in decision-making.
• Lynn Rosandich is my executive assistant at the Duluth Police Department who makes everything run for me and my command staff. Our success is due in no small part to someone whose job it is to do communications, take care of details and follow through with our staff and citizens. She is dedicated and works long hours to keep me and us on task and we simply couldn't do it without her work.
• Last but certainly not least, I appreciate the citizens of Duluth who have supported us so much over the past year. A tough year in policing was met by the greatest outpouring of support I have seen in my 25 years here. You bought us pizzas, gave gifts cards, bought us lunches, sent us bundles of letters expressing kind words of support and when you met us on the street you said, "Thank you for your service." You sustained us during this tough time and we appreciate you. It is truly an honor and privilege to serve each of you daily. To you we say a heartfelt thank you!