Nov. 9 Meeting Minutes

Call to order: 6:12 PM.  23 Attending.

October minutes approved

Our speaker, Captain Casidy Anderson, leads the Minneapolis Community Emergency Response Team, CERT.  Captain Anderson has more than 10 years  in the Minneapolis Fire Dept., and has led CERT for the last two years.

CERT is a FEMA program.  It was originally started in Los Angeles in the 1980s when First Responders realized that when a disaster happens, the true “first responders”  are citizens  who are already on the spot.  The Californians realized that people were sometimes putting themselves in danger trying to assist victims.  That suggested training  for awareness would benefit everyone, and a 20-hour program was designed to meet that need.

The Minneapolis program started early in 2000.  When the Fire Department moved to Regulatory Services, the program was dropped.  Cert was restarted here about two years ago, again by the Fire Department,  and is now looking for more volunteers.

The training program, open to people ages 18 and up, is about 20 hours.  Because emergency  needs are so varied, no one is too old to contribute.  Instruction covers understanding the systems in place for hazards likely to affect Mpls (fire, tornado, etc.), fire safety (identifying common risks and knowing standards for fire suppression), basic first aid, understanding safe search and rescue techniques, understanding the incident command system, psychological training, understanding terrorist techniques, and related topics.

The most important point of training is for citizens to learn how to support Fire, Police, EMTs and any other  personnel without adding to a situation.

CERT responders may be called out to do door-to-door OK checks; they may staff phone banks; they may be handing out blankets and water; they may be called upon to do any task  for which they’ve been trained  that will help in a stress situation.  CERT responders working on a call-in are covered by city liability insurance.

Probably equally important is the fact that CERT training is applicable anywhere you are.  Your skills  should be shared with family members and passed on at Block Club meetings.  You don’t know when an emergency will occur, but your CERT training will help you make the right decisions at a critical time in someone’s life.

When the program was restarted two years ago, they first contacted former volunteers and many wanted to continue.  There are  currently 250 names on the CERT list, 70 of them were trained in the last two years.  On-going training keeps people current.  They had a recent  program on recognizing IEDs, and are pleased to have a new program on emergency procedures for pets.
Currently, the program is reaching the end of the “free gear” status.  Once the money is gone, trainees will have to pay for their own gear, about $40. (gear includes a hardhat, a reflective  ID vest, basic first aid equipment, and more,  in a special backpack)

When an emergency is declared, it is NOT mandated that every trained CERT show up.  If you have shared your contact information, you’ll receive information in the mode you have requested: by phone, txt, other media.   Captain Anderson expects the next class to be organized in Spring,  2016.  For more information, check the Fire Dept website:  www.minneapolismn.gov/fire/cert or, to find a program in another city, look at: www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams   Then click on the State Directory of CERT programs.

As a bonus, not only are there CERT teams in nearby  cities, other cities also offer training.  If the Minneapolis schedule doesn’t work for you, perhaps one in another city will fit your calendar better.  The training uniform so you can train in one city but register in another.

PRECINCT REPORT:

Inspector Waite was pleased to report that Halloween went by without  a major incident.  The MPD and the UMPD  coordinated in SE with good results.  The next major event will be the Viking/Packer game on November 22 —   that is another event that demands planning and  coordination.

Crime has not jumped in any sector.  There was a small increase in violent crimes, which looks like a high percentage, but the real  numbers are still low.  Burglary and property crimes are actually down, from 546 at this time of year, to 458 this year.

Inspector Waite is confident that the rise in rape is due to increased reporting, not increased incidence.  In the past, women were reluctant to report this kind of crime.  Now, they report.  Improved support programs and education drive this increased empowerment.  Inspector Waite pointed to the Aurora Program as a particularly effective program.  Check their website: http://www1.umn.edu/aurora/    [Emilie note:  The following places offer counseling and services to people who are not U of MN students: Tubman – a center for women, children and families struggling with relationship violence. (612-825-0000); Sexual Violence Center – free crisis counseling, support groups, helpline and legal/medical advocacy (612-871-5111); Pillsbury House – free integrated health clinic, which includes counseling (612-824-0708); Walk-in Counseling Center – free mental health services (612-870-0565)]

COURT WATCH:  Our city attorney, Sarah Becker, reported that Daniel Heacock is still incapable of assisting his defense;  his next  hearing is scheduled for January 19, 2016.  Preston Oz-Storm Henry has been removed from the list as he is in the St. Cloud Correctional Facility for 24 months.  Christopher Michael Perkins has a hearing set for January 11, 2016. Michael Dmar Weston-Rose had a bench warrant  issued on Sept 4, for failure to appear.  Bianka Kiersten Truman has a pretrial hearing coming up on December 9, 2015.  Jason Alexander Tucker has an open bench warrant which was issued on Sept 15 for probation violation; he is supposed to be on probation with restrictions until July of 2017.  Michael James Zaccardi had a pretrial hearing on 11-16-15.

Added to the watch list:  Curtis Laroque was added to our watch list for theft:  he stole items from an unlocked vehicle on Spring Street NE (public record, case number 15-031734).   He has had 8 arrests in the 2nd precinct since 2012 and 2 other arrests going back to 2010.  He has 8 prior convictions in several counties.

Ms Becker also reported that as of the end of September,  the City Attorney’s office prepared over 1000 cases, of which 46 went to trial and a guilty verdict came back on 42 of them.  Clearly, well-prepared cases save the taxpayer money and get results!

OLD BUSINESS:  December 24 is coming and we need volunteers.  More volunteers are needed early in the month to do phoning, solicit donations, being items to the Second Precinct and so on.  People have started signing up.  If you think you’d like to participate, contact Emilie Quast (e-quas@tc.umn.edu) and let us know.  There will be a planning meeting in the next three weeks and a Second meeting about December 18 or 19th.

Adjourn 7:37PM

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