Working on patrol on a dayshift doing traffic enforcement, you never know what you may come across on any one particular traffic stop. Most traffic stops involve a licensed driver who has violated some traffic law, such as speeding or running a stop sign. The officer will issue a citation or warning to the driver for the traffic violation and the driver will be on their way in a short amount of time. Occasionally, during the traffic stop with the traffic violator, the officer will become aware of a more serious criminal violation and there will be an arrest.
That is exactly what happened on two traffic stops one afternoon this past week. Officer Sandy Thoeny was on patrol when she stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and found one of the occupants of the vehicle had an active felony arrest warrant for counterfeiting. Officer Thoeny arrested the individual on the warrant and in the search of the suspect found a vial of suspected narcotics on the suspect. Additional suspected narcotics and drug paraphernalia were also subsequently located in the car. The suspect was placed in Dakota County Jail pending formal charges and the car was impounded.
Later that afternoon, Officer Nic Stevens, who is just finishing up his year-long assignment as a traffic officer, stopped a vehicle for a couple of traffic violations. When he walked up to the car, he could smell the odor of marijuana and asked the driver if he was smoking the illicit substance. The driver said that he had been smoking it at a friend’s house. Officer Stevens subsequently located a large jar of marijuana in the vehicle and the driver was arrested and placed in the Dakota County Jail pending formal charges.
While making arrests as a result of a traffic violation stop is not unusual, what is unusual is the fact that these two stops were made only a few hours apart. The perception is often that more serious arrests are almost always made at night, but that is not the case.
TIP LEADS TO RECOVERY OF STOLEN EQUIPMENT
Officer Chris Gartzke received information one day this week that two off-road 4x4 utility vehicles, which had been stolen from Belle Plaine and Northfield, were at a residence in Lakeville. Officer Gartzke responded to the residence and located one utility vehicle that matched the description of the stolen one.
Officer Gartzke confirmed with a detective from the Belle Plaine Police Department that this was one of the stolen 4x4 off-road utility vehicles. During the course of his investigation, Officer Gartzke also learned of the location of the second stolen off-road 4x4 at a residence near Hastings and relayed this information to the detective, so it could be recovered and returned to the owner.
The case remains under investigation by the Belle Plaine and Northfield Police Departments.
WEEKLY LPD SNAPSHOT
Sampling of LPD activity for the week of Sept. 7 to Sept. 14, 2012
Traffic crashes: 13 Alarms: 15 Animal Calls: 35 Medical Emergency Calls: 26 Thefts: 12 Traffic Stops: 220