2011 Awards

Excellence in Law Enforcement Research

International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)/Sprint awards Meeker County Sheriff's Office Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Award.

The Meeker County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) is pleased to announce that it has been selected to receive the prestigious 2010 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)/Sprint Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Award. This award recognizes MCSO for it's leadership and contributions in the research of safe practices during law enforcement encounters.

The international award recognizes a single law enforcement agency each year that demonstrates excellence in initiating, collaborating, and employing research to improve law enforcement operations and public safety. "Applicants for this award represented smaller, midsize and larger agencies of all types across the United States and included submittals from other countries as well," said Ronal Serpas, Research Advisory Committee Co-Chair.

The MCSO received the award announcement on July 26, 2010, when John Firman, IACP Research Program Director, informed the office the MCSO had risen to the top with its research submission and was selected over the top 2 runners-up, a large eastern metropolitan police agency in Pennsylvania, and a mid-sized police agency in Oklahoma. The agency names are being withheld until the award ceremony. The 2009 award recipients were the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Ontario Provincial Police agencies.

Firman informed the MCSO that he was particularly pleased that a Sheriff's Office was to be the recipient of the award (thought to be the first in IACP history), since IACP is thought to be primarily a municipal police organization. These project findings will provide service and open exchange of information to all types of law enforcement agencies.

The MCSO partnered with the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) Department of Emergency Medicine on the project submission of Human Acidosis and Catecholamine Evaluation Following Simulated Law Enforcement "Use of Force" Encounters.

In layman terms, it compares different tools and tactics that law enforcement officers use to control agitated, violent subjects to determine the methods that are safest for the subject. Many in the past have debated this topic but there has not been a definitive, scientific study done on this subject until now. This groundbreaking study now provides trainers, administrators and front-line officers with knowledge about best-practice standards from a medical safety perspective. This year the MCSO has begun training it's officers on this subject to prevent an arrest related death following use of force encounters.

Jeffrey Ho, M.D., both a MCSO Deputy Sheriff and HCMC Emergency Physician who is active in law enforcement research, has been able to tap into the resources of both agencies to examine emergency medical care and use of force practices from a scientific standpoint. Ho submitted the research project for consideration by the IACP selection committee and gave credit to both agencies for their commitment to public safety.

The partnership between a law enforcement agency and a hospital is somewhat unique. HCMC is recognized as one of the top hospitals in the nation and participates in emergency care research and law enforcement outreach programs under the direction of Ho. Ho states, "Meeker County and HCMC Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Joe Clinton, have clearly committed to partnering in a way that allows me to find the scientific link between law enforcement and medicine. Through this training partnership and research, both agencies can claim credit for being progressive about bringing important information forward to benefit law enforcement officers and the public that it serves. We will continue to look for ways to partner to benefit public safety."

The award and judging criteria focus on Leadership, Partnerships, Uniqueness of Research, Quality of Research, and Influence of Research Findings.

The Award will be presented to members of the MCSO at the 117th IACP Conference in Orlando, FL, this October. There is no cost to taxpayers for this Award. The IACP Conference is attended by over 12,000 law enforcement executives from around the world and is one of the largest law enforcement expositions in the world. Agencies that submitted applications for this award include the California Highway Patrol, Houston Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol, Unites States Secret Service, Phoenix Police Department, Denver Police Department, Minneapolis Police Department, Baltimore Police Department and 49 other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Top Chaplin Award

International Conference of Police Chaplains awards Meeker County Chaplain top award.

Former Meeker County Sheriff's Office Chaplain, Pastor Terry Olthoff, received the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) John A Price Excellence in Chaplaincy Award. This is one of the top awards issued by the ICPC. Pastor Terry Olthoff was a volunteer Sheriff's Chaplain with the Meeker County Sheriff's Office when he was nominated for this award.

The International Conference of Police Chaplains was founded in 1973, and currently has a membership of over 2,800 chaplains from various faith communities from Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish to Buddhist and Muslim representing countries from all around the world. The primary goal of the ICPC is to provide a ministry of presence to the men and women of law enforcement, the departments they serve, and to the people of the communities that the men and the women of these departments serve in.

Pastor Olthoff was the first Sheriff's Office Chaplain with the Meeker County Sheriff's Office and was very active in the role, with our staff, and in the community. He has even performed the wedding ceremonies of a couple of our employees. "Pastor Olthoff brought quite a bit of experience with him when he started with our office."  He started as a member of the ICPC in 1979, and is a Master Credentialed Chaplain with his association. He was a full-time chaplain with the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office, was a volunteer chaplain for several agencies including the North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota State Patrols, and also served as a Federal Chaplain for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).

When Pastor Olthoff was volunteering with the Meeker County Sheriff's Office he was the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Litchfield. Pastor Olthoff has moved on in his ministering duties and is currently the pastor of the First Presbyterian Churches of Edgerton and Lismore, Minnesota. Pastor Jeffrey Garland of the Cornerstone Church of Litchfield took over after Pastor Olthoff, and is currently the Meeker County Sheriff's Office Volunteer Chaplain.

This is the second International Award Member his office has received in these past 2 years. In 2010, the Meeker County Sheriff's Office received the International Chiefs of Police/Sprint Excellence in Law Enforcement Research Award for a project Deputy Jeff Ho and the Hennepin County Medical Center jointly conducted. The Meeker County Sheriff's Office at that time was one of the only Sheriff's Offices that have won an award from the International Police Organization.