I’d hoped to savor a stack of Terrorism Information Briefs last holiday weekend, but the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department is still ignoring my Data Practices Act request.
In our only conversation, Public Information Officer Holli Drinkwine said the department doesn’t have any records of its anti-terrorism work.
I find that odd, considering how Sheriff Bob Fletcher touts his department’s supposed anti-terrorism successes — and its production of 78 Terrorism Information Briefs since 2005 — in its own report.
The graphic below, taken from Sheriff Fletcher’s own election campaign Web site, presents even more evidence that Drinkwine’s claims are false. Halfway down the chart — which you can see in a larger format here — the department’s “Counter Terrorism Unit” is listed as one way Fletcher kept “crime on the run.”
But no records of this unit’s work exist? How can that possibly be?
More evidence that Fletcher and Drinkwine are being less-than-forthright surfaced in the archives of E-democracy.org.
On December 29, 2005, Gary Olding joined the “Sheriff Fletcher’s Creative Leadership” thread to share this:
I am in charge of the Sheriffs Department Weapons of Mass Destruction – Prevention, Research, and Preparedness Unit. I am responding to one posters request for more information regarding our unit.
After 9-11 all of our lives changed and so did the way we have to look and think about our future. Sheriff Fletcher created the WMD unit in 2002 to be a proactive positive influence to ensure the safety of the Ramsey County Sheriffs Department and the citizens of our community in the event of a catastrophic event.
WMD unit members are comprised of personnel with a vast amount of knowledge and training in Investigation, Fire, Explosives, Hazmat, EOD, Intelligence, Incident, Command, Analysis, Risk Assessment and Domestic & International Terrorism. I am a retired St. Paul Firefighter. I retired as Deputy Fire Chief after 28 years of service and came to the Sheriffs Office to head up this new initiative.
The unit mission is as follows:
Prevention / Investigation
We conduct investigations, surveillance, and develop informants to preempt and solve crimes involving weapons of mass destruction and terrorism before they occur. Recently some of our unit members were involved with the recovery of several pounds of TNT that was possibly intended for the BCA building or another law enforcement agency.
We research potential domestic and international threats from terrorist organizations. Identifying the most likely means and motives utilized by suspected terrorist organizations.
Preparing the Ramsey County Sheriffs Department and other local public safety agencies to respond to potential weapons of mass destruction incidents. We are constantly developing and coordinating partnerships with local, state, and federal resources to facilitate response to WMD incidents. Our partners include numerous agencies including the FBIs Joint Terrorism Task Force and Minnesota Joint Analysis Center.
Our unit also serves as the coordinating agency for the entire east metro terrorism response. Monthly meetings, chaired by Sheriff Fletcher, brings together all disciplines involved in WMD in the East Metro Area. This group includes over 60 different agencies with a variety of backgrounds.
I could elaborate much more on the Sheriffs leaderships in dealing with prevention, preparedness, response and training when it comes to a WMD/Terrorism incident but there are too many to mention. Whether the threat is man made (WMD) or created by natural causes (influenza), the sheriff has shown his leadership. Case in point, Sheriff Fletcher held the first Pandemic Flu Summit in the state of Minnesota.
Bob Fletcher is a visionary manager but he is also a good person. I have crossed paths with Sheriff Fletcher and Retired Police Chief Finney for the past 30 years. I consider both of them a friend. From my dealings with Sheriff Bob Fletcher, I always recall something he once told me. If youre doing good, you cant be doing wrong. this may sound simplistic but I have witnessed Bob doing random acts of kindness to/for total strangers many times. This is the way he leads his life.
Phone and email messages left for Olding last week have not been returned.
Perhaps, as Olding maintains, Sheriff Fletcher has been “doing good” for the citizens of Ramsey County.
Now is the time for him make good on his responsibility, as a public servant, to follow the Data Practices Act.
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