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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Meet Our New Public Safety Specialists!

The League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) recently welcomed two new members to the Loss Control team. They both bring experience, training, and a knowledge of cities with them as they move into their new roles assisting our members in reducing losses. Tracy and Troy will apply their wealth of experience in the areas of public safety and public works to their duties as field representatives.

Tracy Stille
Tracy recently retired from the Maple Grove Police Department where he served in a variety of positions, including patrol officer, investigator, patrol sergeant, emergency response unit team leader, sergeant of investigations, services captain, and patrol captain. Previously he served with several rural police departments in McLeod and Sibley Counties and was also employed as a special deputy with the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office. 

Tracy has a Master of Science degree in criminal justice from St. Cloud State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in law enforcement from Mankato State University. His training also includes numerous executive level management and leadership development courses. Tracy is a certified emergency manager through the MN Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He grew up on a rural farm in McLeod County.

Tracy started with the League of Minnesota Cities on November 17 and will be working as a Loss Control Consultant covering the Northeast Region of Minnesota.

Troy Walsh
Troy is a state-certified Firefighter 1 & 2 with 16 years of service in the City of Victoria Fire Department and is the current Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshal. He is also state-certified as a Fire Instructor, Fire Officer, and a Public Fire Educator. Troy holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science Technology from Hennepin Technical College. He is also a Hazardous Materials Technician and a member of the Carver County Hazardous Materials Group. Troy is a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

For the past 14 years, Troy worked in the Public Works Department in Victoria. He most recently oversaw the Streets and Storm Water Divisions. He was a member of the city safety committee and oversaw the safety training and safety policies for the City of Victoria. He holds a Class-D Water License from the Minnesota Department of Health and a Class-SC Wastewater License from Minnesota Pollution Control. He will receive his Road Scholar Certification from Minnesota Local Technical Assistance Program or MnLTAP in May of 2015.

Troy was born, raised, and still resides in the southwest metro community of Victoria. He has a long history with the community and its city departments.

Troy started with the League of Minnesota Cities on November 17 and will be working as a Loss Control Consultant covering the Southwest Region of Minnesota.


                                                 Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…First Responders Take Railroad 101

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Empty Boots and Quiet Sirens: Some Hard Numbers

There are fewer volunteer and paid-on-call firefighters in Minnesota. A recent study by graduate students at the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute put some hard numbers to what is happening. The study is entitled “Empty Boots and Quiet Sirens.” It reminded me of the phrase, “What if you had a fire and nobody came?” The retention and recruitment of firefighters in Minnesota is a developing issue.

The study looks at the number of firefighters in the state between 2008-2012 and reports that 56% of Minnesota’s counties had a reduction in the number of volunteer and paid-on-call firefighters. Ninety percent of those counties were outside of the metro area, and 77% of the fire relief associations that serve communities with populations of less than 4,000 reported a 10% reduction in their number of firefighters.

The report contains three major findings:
  1. Retention and recruitment of firefighters is a local problem requiring local solutions and resources.
  2. Rural areas are more likely to experience difficulty recruiting and retaining firefighters.
  3. Additional information is needed at the state level in order to provide the most impactful support to local communities.
Some of the factors coming together that are contributing to the problem are the volunteers’ desire for a greater work-life balance, the increased training requirements, department leadership challenges, and the state’s shifting demographics. One of the subheadings of the study sums it up nicely: “A valuable service in danger.”

The full study—including a comparison with neighboring states—can be found online here:

                                          Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…Meet the New Loss Control Team Members

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Helpful Training Links

A New “Did You Know” Video—Domestic Violence
The California POST Board has released a new video as part of their “Did You Know” training series. The video, entitled “Domestic Violence,” looks at the contributing factors that are below the surface on many of these calls and that can make an officer’s investigation difficult. The training can either be viewed online or downloaded. Here is the link to “Domestic Violence” and to the rest of the Cal-POST online video resources:

“Modern Fire Dynamics”: The New ALIVE Fire Training
“They were doing what we had trained them to do.” Those are the words of a fire commander that narrates part of the new ALIVE online training for firefighters, entitled “Modern Fire Dynamics.” He was describing how using traditional tactical decisions while fighting a house fire almost killed seven of his firefighters. Actual case histories are backed up with the new, ongoing research from New York University as to how structures actually burn and how the petroleum-based contents of our structures further makes the traditional tactics dangerous. The online technology flows smoothly as the student answers questions and learns the science, including the science of their turnout gear and when it will fail. This training will save lives, and it is free. Here’s the link:

LMC Memo on Computer Networks and Loss Control
The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) has a new memo that was just posted online. This all-encompassing memo covers the risks associated with storing and sharing city data on computers. It also addresses how cities can protect themselves from data breaches, virus contamination, hacker attacks, and computer misuse by employees. It covers the issues presented by social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. And there are links to a model employee computer policy. Here’s the memo:


                                           Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…Empty Boots and Quiet Sirens. The University Of Minnesota Humphrey School Of Public Affairs puts statistics to the decreasing number of volunteer and paid on call firefighters in our state.

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.