Notes from the campaign trail -- My ride along with the Moose Lake Police Department.
For as long as he can remember Travis Magdzas wanted to be a police officer. He's spent the past four years in his chosen profession and now protects and serves in the city of Moose Lake, Minnesota.
This weekend I had a “ride-along” with Officer Magdzas and was impressed with his professionalism and patience with the people we met while he patrolled our city. Those are important attributes for the men and women who keep the peace and it is easy to take them for granted.
The local crime rate is relatively low in Moose Lake, where many of us know our neighbors and people by name or well enough to say hi at the post office, library or grocery store. We walk in our neighborhoods without fear, lock our doors at night and know that emergency responders are just a 911 call away.
This sense of safety is a product of residents investing their time and effort in building our community and of course community policing.
As I found out, there are a lot of things happening in our community when we lock our doors at night.
Officer Magdzas' 12-hour shift started at 6 pm Saturday night with a visit from a local resident who was just defrauded out of $1,200 by scammers who convinced her to buy gift cards and give them the numbers on the back of those cards. Unfortunately she joins a growing list of people in our area who have fallen victim to internet fraud in recent months. Officer Magdzas is following up on the report, but often these scammers are pretty slick at covering their tracks and once they have those numbers they can drain funds and disappear without a trace.
Our night in the squad car also included a call to provide backup for a Pine County Deputy just outside Sturgeon Lake who responded to a report of a car in a ditch and a man seen running into the woods. At the scene two men traveling from a local bar claimed they were passengers in the vehicle and the driver left the scene before authorities arrived. After a lengthy discussion the men were picked up by a friend. The incident is under investigation.
Back at the station a local resident called to report he was locked out of his apartment and he couldn’t contact his landlord. Officer Magdzas patiently talked him through his options and the renter ended up at his parents’ home until the situation could be resolved.
The ride-along also included a couple of traffic stops for motorists driving above the speed limit, one who had a burned out headlight.
There were no major incidents during my ride-along. Public safety was preserved for one more night.
My thanks to officer Magdzas and acting chief Mike McNulty for allowing me to ride along with the Moose Lake Police Department.