Photos By John Hoff, and contributed photos
The tradition is not quite as old as Thanksgiving itself, but for several years residents of the Fourth Precinct have been putting on a meal for the police officers as a show of gratitude. Joan Thom, head of the Public Safety Committee in the Hawthorne Neighborhood, and her husband, Len Lewis, as well as “Buzzy” Bohn have been the ones to take the lead in putting on the annual dinner.
The dinner doesn’t happen just once on Thanksgiving, but serves all three shifts. Numerous Northside residents contribute items to the dinner and are involved in its preparation. I don’t have a list of all the different residents and their contributions, but off the top of my head I know Housing Director Jeff Skrenes made an incredible fruit salad and Jordan resident Megan Goodmundson contributed pumpkin pies. Oh, do I know about those pies. For two days, I had to transport those pies around, careful not to crumble the crust in the slightest bit. Megan called them her “police pies” and reminded me not to commit (even by accident) “police pie brutality.”
Megan was preparing to make homemade pies, but when she saw pies for $2.88 at Cub Foods on West Broadway, she was all, like, “I can’t MAKE pies that cheap.” So, being a frugal Nomi homie, she bought the pies instead. This was Megan’s first year at the dinner, and she says she wants to go every year from now on.
This was also the first year I attended, along with my 12-year-old son, during the “mid-shift” dinner.
Two of the officers at mid-shift were not from the Fourth Precinct, but with a K9 unit that sees action all over the city. Here’s video from YouTube of one of these officers in action, click here to see Officer Edwards and her four-legged partner, Chief.
One Fourth Precinct officer was a former member of a SWAT unit and not only chatted with us at length, but also posed for a photo with my son. Another officer had a lot of stripes and medals on his uniform, which he jokingly referred to as “bling.”
My son took note of an interesting display case, full of old and unusual weapons taken off suspects.
In chatting with the officers, two themes emerged. The Fourth Precinct appreciated the show of gratitude (or, to put it another way, they were grateful for the show of appreciation) and, secondly, there was common agreement things have really turned around in North Minneapolis.
The officers were there long enough to eat a meal and chat a bit, but then they went right back out on the street to keep everybody else safe as citizens enjoyed their own Thanksgiving. One young officer remarked to his partner that he was going to hit the “stair climber” machine before leaving, so he could work off part of the dinner.
That’s part of the reason why he’s a police officer, and I’m just a blogger.