To kick off Tuesday’s Becker City Council meeting, Chief Brent Baloun of the Becker Police Department presented his annual report. He noted this was the 17th such report he has given during his time serving the city.
During the past year, the Becker Police Department Facebook page was removed, and Chief Baloun said he still did not know the reason Facebook removed the page from the platform. But, there is a new BPD Facebook page up now for any social media users wanting to follow the department.
Council authorized hiring another police officer, and Officer Tristain Mello joined the department. Chief Baloun said Officer Mello has been an excellent help and has performed remarkably.
The BPD has had several events over the past year, giving the department a chance to interact with the community. Baloun said the “Donut Day” the department held this year will likely become an annual event. They handed out over 250 donuts this year and felt the event was very popular and well received. They also recently held “Coffee with the Cops,” and hope to do so again this summer.
Safewise has named Becker the 18th safest city in Minnesota.
Supporting officers is one of Chief Baloun’s goals moving forward.
Baloun noted that of all the traffic stops made by his officers, there is a 79.2% warning rate, where motorists are not given tickets for infractions. He says it’s not all about money and ticketing people for the smallest infractions, but about making sure the streets are safe.
They are looking for reserve officers right now, with the reserve unit being down to about four members, where, in the past, it has been as high as eight or nine. Typically, students interested in pursuing law enforcement are excellent for the reserves.
A full report is available on the city’s website.
Council approved the addition of two youth ball fields to the Becker Athletic Complex (BAC). Youth sports teams are making use of the fields and need more space for all the participants. Currently, there is little space to go around, and practices need to go late into the evening, as late as 8 or 9 p.m., which is not ideal for young families.
To help the city implement the additions, the youth baseball program contributed $2,500 from concession sales and $7,000 from a grant from the Minnesota Twins. Their contributions will pay for about 45% of the total cost of adding the two fields.
In Other Business, the Council:
• Approved hiring a contractor to re-write the city zoning code;
• Approved a plan for a Dairy Queen drive thru, which will be located in the same building as Dueling Brews;
• Sold their part of the old fire station (currently being used as the American Legion building) to Becker Township as per their agreement;
• Entered into a contract with Rum River for building official services;
• Entered into a contract with Wold Architects for schematic designs for city hall and the police department.