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Threats received after drug bust: Akeley police chief says he’s not backing down

Akeley Police Chief Jimmy Hansen said threats have been made towards law enforcement in the area following a major drug bust March 28 that netted 28 arrests and one warrant.

Hansen said the threats, some that may be from people in the Akeley area, aren't going to stop him from continuing his work to get drugs out of his community.

"I don't get intimidated by intimidation," he told the Akeley council Wednesday night. "I just have to up my ante a little bit. We'll be watching for stuff coming in. We're working fast and furious to squash this before the tourism season starts. It has been four or five months of investigations that we've been working on this and now it came to fruition."

Hansen said the people dealing drugs aren't necessarily going to stop just because some people went to jail.

"You'd think most people with common sense would see that and leave," he said. "Someday the newspaper will bring news of more arrests from this continued investigation. We have some hardcore people. It's been a difficult chase, but I think we've getting ahead of the chase and I've had a lot of people thank me and thank the other officers."

Hansen said he got a call from someone in Arizona who saw the story about the March 28 arrests in the online edition of the Park Rapids Enterprise.

"We are continuing to work to make our community safe," he said. "Some will go to prison because of it, and some beat me back to Akeley, actually."

He was referring to those who posted bail and were out shortly after their arrest.

Hansen explained that there will be ongoing ripples from this initial batch of arrests.

"We did the saturation," he said. "For some it was their first time and now we have something on paper that we've never been able to do before. Grandfathers and mothers, I understand it's their grandchildren or children and it's hard to see their name in the paper but I hope they open their eyes up and see now law enforcement isn't picking on these people. These people are bad people or made some horrible choices that affect our children and have affected them."

Hansen added, "When you see somebody that gets out of jail and they come into our town and they refuse to get a job, you know what they're up to. You know exactly what they're doing. You and I and everybody here works. These people, most of them do not have jobs. My care and concern is for the honest, hard-working people living here and supporting the people in jail. For the people who don't like it, that's tough and it will get tougher."

"Thank you so very much," council member Bobbie Wosika said. "I was very happy with the drug task force meeting that we had. That was very informative. And now you see this, and wow."

Hansen recalled how approximately 30 law enforcement officers split into three teams that day so "nobody could call anybody and say they were coming."

"Believe this or not, there were people in bed at 11 a.m. or noon," he said. "We pulled them out of bed. They don't get up because they don't have to go to work. It surprised them. It was a good team effort."

Hansen said individuals who came into city hall to file formal harassment complaints that he was "stalking" them or someone in their family were some of the same people whose mugshots were in the newspaper.

After the meeting, City Clerk/Treasurer Melody Boettcher explained Hansen was doing his job patrolling the city and that is what the complaints were about.

In other action, the council:

• Heard the board of appeal and equalization will be held at city hall Tuesday, April 17 at 1 p.m.

• Heard an offer to be the new park managers has been accepted by Curt and Paula Dormanen and their contract will soon be signed. The Dormanens attended the council meeting. They live four miles from Akeley.

• Heard the park reservation system is now up and running with new software and 2018 reservations entered. Online reservations are now available. From the second-to-last weekend in June through the third week in August, all sites are filled on the weekends, which is better than last year at this time. The previous system went down when the provider filed bankruptcy. Boettcher and her staff had to go through more than 5,000 emails and re-enter the reservations into the new system.

• Heard spring clean-up is scheduled for May 5-6. There will be a trailer for scrap metal, an area to bring recycling, and dumpsters for things that need to be hauled away. There is an existing brush pile on city property. Once collected, the brush may be burned at the location with a permit from the Department of Natural Resources or hauled out of town to be burned. The burning location will be decided at a later date.

• Discussed the 2017 drinking water report that is available for review at city hall Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The report will not be mailed out, but a printed copy is available by request. The report is also posted on the city website www.akeleymn.com/City.html.

• Heard work on First Street is still on the schedule as previously approved by the council. Work will begin when weather permits.

• Heard an informational report on the East Hubbard County Fire District from Dan Riggs. There was some discussion on the need for a new pumper once their newest truck is paid for. This will give the city a reliable pumper in Akeley if a fire starts in town when other trucks are out on a mutual aid call in a nearby city.

• Heard the fire department will have a burger night at the Red River Event Center on the fifth Thursdays of the month (four times a year) and that bingo netted about $2,000 for the fire district last year.

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