Police review finds no misconduct in DWI enforcementReview of more than 300 traffic stops does not indicate illegal or unethical DWI enforcement by Rosemount Police Department
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
A Rosemount Police Department review has found no evidence its night officers are too aggressively enforcing DWI stops.
According to a memo to the city council, the review did not find any indication DWI enforcement is being conducted in an illegal or unethical manner.
The investigation came about after several Rosemount bar owners complained to the city council that aggressive policing was scaring away business. The bar owners told the council during a work session on Feb. 15 they feel like their customers and employees are being harassed by police. The most serious allegation was that police were fabricating reasons for stops.
The city council will discuss the review’s finding during their work session March 14.
To review the night officers’ conduct, Lt. Jewel Ericson reviewed squad video of 333 traffic stops made during December of 2011 and January and February of 2012. Of those stops, field sobriety tests were conducted 35 times. DWI arrests were made in 26 of the cases.
In a memo to the city council police chief Gary Kalstabakken stated there was no indication that officers fabricated reasons for stops. Generally, he said, equipment violations such as burned-out brake lights could be seen on the videos. And while moving violations such as speeding couldn’t be seen as easily, in some case drivers admitted the violation when it was not observed on the video.
Kalstabakken stated the video showed officers were consistently courteous and professional during traffic stops
According to the memo, in the 333 stops reviewed, police made 27 resulted arrests, issued 39 citations for various infractions, handed out two fix-it tickets and warned 265 motorists.
In the memo, Kalstabakken said there have been discussions within the police department on the topic. The memo states officers have been encouraged to continue to patrol and make traffic stops away from downtown. Officers also have been encouraged to focus more on moving violations and on equipment violations that have obvious safety elements such as a burned-out headlight, brake light or tail light.
The memo states that Kalstabakken hopes that the refinements will help reduce the perception that certain downtown businesses are being targeted. However, it also states that the department will continue to make DWI enforcement a top priority as a matter of maintaining public safety.
A PDF copy of the memo is attached to this story.