Our Program: Our speaker on Tuesday, May 7th was Police Chief Brian Tholen of the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department.  Chief Tholen had served 15 years in Carver County.  The Chief got right into it by stating that policing has continued to be a challenge in these turbulent times. He noted that in 2019 there were 400 assaults and by 2023 they were over 800 and 59 officers were shot.  The undertone of the Chief comments suggests great dissatisfaction with the Hennepin County Attorney for not stricter adherence to law.  The Chief went on to highlight three incidents where citizens and police officers were under dire life threatening situations.  The up shod of this is that according Tholen, “Law Enforcement needs our support and our officers are under great stress as they encounter more violence and lack of respect.”   
However, all is not bleak!  The Chief gave a big smile and said, “I love it here!”  To back this up he has enacted lots of training and although recruitment is challenging, many officers are coming to small forces like SLMPD.  Chief Tholen says, “We are fully staffed currently while many cities can’t even get any applicants!  So, what are we doing things right here? We have become very responsive to the needs of the community and our officers.  We have embedded a Social Worker (Jen) in our facility who serves 7 adjacent cities.  She helps in cases of crisis management, works with officer’s issues and families in crisis in our community.”   The Chief smiles and says, “Jen likes it here and says she will never leave!”  Continuing he says, “Also of great help is the West Metro Drug Task force serving 5 cities to work under cover and working behind the scenes crack down on drugs and related crime.”  He noted also that he has assigned one officer on each watch to apprehend impaired drivers and ‘suspicious vehicles’ in the area. Besides all of this our police are reaching out to our community for interns, holding ice cream socials at schools and doing other community events.  Also, officers have required therapist visit for emotional issues and the officers are even working out with the Firefights to stay in shape!