Lonsdale revives police reserve program

Lonsdale now has more police presence in the city. In April of this year, Lonsdale Police Chief Jason Schmitz, Officer Wade Murray, and City Administrator Joel Erickson headed up an effort to revive the police reserve program that had been inactive since 2004. They held interviews and offered the reserve positions to three individuals. 

At the regular meeting of the Lonsdale City Council held Thursday, July 11, Schmitz and Murray introduced new reserves Johnathon Thielen and Troy Zimmerman (Reserve Elisha DeGrego was unable to attend), and presented a detailed overview of the training and use of the program.

“I am very excited about having the program active again and know the reserves will be a great asset to the community and the police department,” stated Chief Schmitz.

Murray explained that the three reserves are currently being trained through a handbook they compiled, crediting Officer Chris Hermstad for his efforts in assisting in developing the program. The reserve trainees are also gaining a lot of hands on experience through riding along and assisting officers. However, Murray explained that while they’re trying not to overly restrict what the reserves can do, they are not full police officers. 

Having more eyes patrolling town is one way the reserves will be a valuable resource. For example, last summer when break-ins and property damage reports were high, Murray said the reserves would have been a great help in keeping watch. Although the number of break-ins has dropped, he added, domestics cases are high compared to surrounding towns, and the new recruits are helping with transports. “If the party is non-combative, they can be transported by a reserve while the officer works on the investigation,” Murray told the council. 

As for the future of the program, Murray said he is interested in working with Minnesota State University by inviting law enforcement graduates to apply to the program. 

“This is a great way for them to get experience,” he said. 

The next meeting of the Lonsdale City Council is 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 25.