Through the last few years, both when he’s been in print and on the radio or television, I have often found myself at odds with the pronouncements of Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.
But when I turned to the opinion page of the Star Tribune on Saturday, I found myself in agreement with a piece by Kroll that was written in response to a story in that newspaper the previous day.
Kroll criticized the use of “systemic problem” by the newspaper to describe the Minneapolis Police Department. He noted that “systemic problem” is defined as “a problem affecting an entire population as a group.” And then he noted that there are 850 officers in the department but that there was no evidence showing that all those officers are a problem. “We suggest,” he wrote, “that those who throw around this highly inflammatory term so loosely are either ignorant of reality or, worse, deliberately misrepresenting reality in order to advance their own political agenda.”
Kroll noted that between May 2013 and July 2017, four people have been shot and killed by Minneapolis police officers. The latest case, involving Justine Damond, has not been resolved but in the other three the shootings were found to be justified.
Kroll wrote that in that same time period of 50 months, Minneapolis officers had more than 2.6 million citizen contacts and respond to 125,000 calls for service each year. He also listed the number of homicides (165), rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, arrests (132,501) and guns confiscated (2,990) in that time. He said that those facts show the claim of a “systemic problem” is not true. Kroll said the systemic problem “lies in the level of violence in the city – not within the ranks of those asked to combat it.”
He said it would be preposterous to think that a hospital administrator would be fired, and all of the doctors condemned, as part of a “systemic problem” if only four surgical procedures out of 2.6 million resulted in a patient’s death.
Kroll wrote that the community rightly expects officers to first assess the facts and evidence confronting them before acting.
He concluded, “Is it too much to ask that our elected officials and media (who, unlike cops are able to deliberate from the safety of their offices) should be held to the same standard before they act to proclaim that there are ‘systemic problems’ in their Police Department?”
It’s one side of the discussion, for sure, and maybe not as black and white as he portrays things. But, by and large, I’m in agreement with what Kroll said. Labeling a whole department as bad because of the actions of some doesn’t cut it.
PRINCETON SPORTS NEW AND NOTES
A front-page story in the Union-Times of July 20 detailed the participation of Princeton’s Helen Sanborn in her 50th year of an area golf tournament for women called Five Star in which golfers from Princeton, Milaca, Cambridge, North Branch and Mora compete each year. What an accomplishment! Helen would have played in 51 by now except that she had to miss one because of the birth of a son. Helen and late husband Ernie were known for their time as owners of Sanborn’s Cafe in downtown Princeton for 20 years and Sanborn’s Supper Club just northeast of town for 11 years. Helen really made her mark as an athlete. She was one of those unfortunate females born too early to participate in high school sports. I have no doubt she would have been an outstanding athlete. (While doing research for a story quite a few years ago I ran across an item in a Princeton Union from the ’40s. Princeton High School had girls basketball in the ’20s and ’30s but it was dropped, the story said, “because the young ladies would perspire too much.” Seriously!) She was also a big supporter of high school and college athletics when her children participated. Our congratulations to Helen – 50 years at one event is really something . . . I’m sure that Howard Solheim, former coach and athletic director at Princeton High School, as well as being a Legion baseball coach who is in the Minnesota American Legion’s Hall of Fame, would be proud that an event he began 48 years ago is still going. The Princeton Legion Baseball Tournament was held the weekend before last. It’s the longest-running Legion tournament in the state and “Swede” was the driving force behind it. For many years the field of teams was one of the best in the state, seven of the eight teams in a tournament a few years ago being ranked in the top 15 in the state. Teams from other states have been here, as have players who made the major leagues, minor leaguers and many, many college rosters. It takes a lot of planning and hours to run the tournament but is a labor of love for those involved. I was lucky enough to be the PA guy and scorekeeper at the first one in 1970 and haven’t missed one yet. Here’s hoping there are many more to come . . . Through the years the Legion baseball program has had lots of kids play who followed in the footsteps of their fathers. This year there were five such duos: Gehrig Scheffel (Troy, 1988), Jake Carlson (Steve,1987), Reed House (Nate, 1990), Lucas Voce (Dan, 1986) and Bobby Drews (Jon, 1992). And last year coach Troy Kinney had his son, Tanner, on the team. It’s a great tradition and nice to see it continue . . . Dave Mingo, a 1974 PHS grad, was one of Princeton’s best pitchers ever – high school, Legion and town team. He put up unbelievable numbers. Now his 23-year-old son Cameron, an Eden Prairie High school grad, has gone one step farther. After attending Princeton University, where he experienced some arm trouble, he’s in the Cleveland Indians organization and has been playing since June 20 for Mahoning Valley (Ohio) in the Class A New York-Penn League after spending some time in extended spring training. He’s been in 10 games as a reliever, has a 3-0 record and a save in 20 1/3 innings, and a 1.33 ERA, with a very good WHIP (walks plus hits in innings pitched) of 0.984. Cameron is right-handed, Dave was a lefty and was also a good-hitting, good-fielding first baseman . . . Is there a possibility that Todd Frederick will return as head coach of the boys hockey team now that Jeff Hanson has resigned? I know that Frederick, who coached Princeton to two state tournament berths, has talked with athletic director Darin Laabs, and that Frederick has some interest in the job. Nate Cook, a former PHS player who has also coached some youth teams here, is also a candidate for the job . . . Duluth Lakeview, a Legion baseball team that Princeton beat in its tournament here a couple weeks ago, qualified for the state tournament. But Duluth lost to Moorhead and Rochester on Friday and is out of the tournament. Spring Lake Park, the team that won from the Sub State tournament held here, lost to Eastview and Mankato, and is also out of the tournament. St. Cloud (1-1) was still alive, as was St. Michael (1-1), a 4-3 loser to powerful Eden Prairie.
MINNESOTA TWINS NEWS AND NOTES
Here it is Monday morning, July 24 , and the Twins have fallen off the pace a bit (2 1/2 games out) after leading the division just a few days ago. I’d be happy with one win in Los Angeles against the streaking Dodgers and then going 2-1 in Oakland. Oh, oh – here it is Friday, July 28, and the Twins have fallen 6 games behind Cleveland and four games in back of a hot Kansas City team after three losses to the Dodgers, games in which Minnesota led by shutout after either three or four innings in each.The most painful loss was on Wednesday when the Twins led 5-0 in the fifth and lost in the ninth. I’ve said many times this season that the Twins couldn’t stay in contention and they fif. But now the end has come, even for a wild card spot And now, on Sunday, July 30, after another ninth-inning loss, this time to Oakland, the Twins are 7 games back and fading fast . . . Here’s a scary stat for Twins fans: Only 290 games into his career, Miguel Sano has passed Harmon Killebrew (2,319 games with the Twins) for the most three-strikeout games in franchise history (40-plus). And he’s tied Bobby Darwin for the most four-strikeout games (6) in franchise history. Sano has to find a way to cut down on strikeouts. He had 178 last season and leads the majors this year with 140 so far . . . Catcher Jason Castro has gotten deserved praise for his defensive work, although I think the “framing” of pitches is way overrated. But he’s hitting only .224 and has 6 homers for the season, none in July. Meanwhile, former Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki with the Braves has 11 homers in 100 fewer at-bats than Castro and has hit 7 homers in July, including another Friday night. Go figure . . . I remember last year when a veteran writer from the Twin Cities said it would’t be too bad to trade Brian Dozier because Jorge Polanco was waiting in the wings and would be a good hitter. Many thought Polanco would hit and that his fielding would be a question mark. He may still make it as a major league hitter but a .140 average in 25 games has him way down to .213 and he’s sitting out quite a bit. Good thing they didn’t trade Dozier. In the first nine games after the All-Star break Dozier hit .351 with three homers in 37 at-bats and had a high on-base percentage of .442 . . . Did you find it strange that after perhaps Kyle Gibson’s best start of the year, the Twins sent him to Triple A Rochester? I did. And now Byron Buxton is down there also and hit a homer Friday night on the first pitch he saw. What good is that? He’s been there before, hits well, and then struggles with the Twins. It would have been nice to have Buxton playing center field against the Dodgers. Zack Granite missed a ball that Buxton would have had in his back pocket and the Twins would have taken a 5-2 lead into the eighth inning of the game they lost 6-5 . . . I don’t quite get the accolades being thrown the way of Granite who was hitting .360 in Rochester when called up (he hit .470 in June). He’s OK but unless you cut Robbie Grossman, there’s no room for him this year on the Twins. And if the argument is that he was doing well in AAA ball, former Twin Oswaldo Arcia, as of a few days ago, had 21 homers in only 275 at-bats, 79 RBIs and was hitting.353 at Reno, Arizona’s AAA team. That’s a homer every 13 at-bats. But he’s still in the minors. Stats at the AA level don’t always translate to the majors . . . Joe Mauer played in only 83 of the Twins’ first 100 games this season, pinch-hitting in five of those and sitting out against some lefties, or being rested on occasion. At $141,975 per game, that’s around $3 million of his $23 million salary for not playing. I don’t understand why he’s out of the lineup so much. He gets, by the way, 18.23 percent of the team’s payroll. Dozier, at $6 million, gets 4.76 percent. Ervin Santana is paid $13.5 million, and Castro $8.5 million. Any inequities there? . . . Taylor Rogers and Brandon Kintzler, until recently, have had very good years for the Twins. But most closers, and a lot of set-up guys as Rogers is, are strikeout pitchers. Those two aren’t and the Dodgers took advantage of that, as have other teams . . . After hitting a bunch of homers earlier in the season the numbers have really fallen off for some Twins. Castro hasn’t hit one for 47 games, Grossman hasn’t hit one for 51 games, Mauer has one in 51 games and Max Kepler has only 1 in his last 26. Between those four that’s two homers in 175 games . . . I guess the trade by the Twins today (Sunday) of new pitcher Jamie Garcia to the Yankees for two minor league pitchers shows where the team is. The Twins won only one of six games from July 23 through July 29 and Garcia, in a decent performance, was the winner on Friday. So, two days later, he’s been traded for the second time in a week and the Twins gave away the only pitcher to win last week.
NEWS EVENTS FROM IN AND AROUND THE PRINCETON AREA IN 1991
The city settled out of court in January in a case in which its former liquor lounge had been charged with being partially liable for the murder of a man and the injury of a woman in 1987. The amount was not revealed.
There were 68 workers laid off at Crystal Cabinet Works, leaving a work force of 810, and 29 laid off at Smith System Mfg, leaving the work force at 175 and only two shifts instead of three. The current recession was a factor in the January layoffs.
With the U.S. going to war in the Persian Gulf, local National Guard member Ritz Villebrun was the first from the city to be activated.
It was announced in March that a casino in Mille Lacs County was to open on April 4. Two old bingo halls were remodeled into the Grand Casino building and an estimated 7,000 visited the first three days.
Marine Jim Dalziel was the first area military service member to come home from the Persian Gulf War.
A Union-Eagle story told of the “Princeton Connection” at the governor’s office. PHS grad Pete Teigen, a state trooper, was Gov. Arne Carlson’s bodyguard and driver, and PHS grad Tim Droogsma was Carlson’s press secretary.
The Princeton Retail Merchants Association petitioned the City Council in April to encourage a planned Pamida store (Shopko today) to locate downtown. It didn’t happen.
An announcement was made by Fairview of a new hospital to be built on the south edge of town, the 85,000 sq. ft., three-level building to cost about $10 million.
The Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The graduating class at Princeton High School numbered 161, 13 more than the year before.
Controversial zoning was granted in June by the City Council to the school district and a developer planning to build a Pamida store. The school district sold 4.5 acres for $100,000 to the developer. (In August the state approved an annexation of 48 acres so that a new hospital and the Pamida store could be built.)
In July there was heated opposition from nearby residents at a City Council meeting for a requested annexation of 20 acres just north of the city.
The 100th Mille Lacs County Fair was held at the fairgrounds in Princeton. A 20-page centennial fair special section published by the Union-Eagle was a big hit. (Attendance at the fair was up 18 percent over the previous year.)
After many controversial discussions, curbside recycling began in Princeton in August. In late September the local Public Utilities operation, in competition with private haulers, began curbside recycling
There were 2,827 students as school began on Sept. 3, more than the 2,762 when the previous school year ended,
Four years after their first World Series win, the Minnesota Twins did it again, Princetonians joining in the celebrations, as well as a couple first-person stories in the Union-Eagle, and in-person coverage by editor Luther Dorr.
The infamous Halloween blizzard hit the state, dumping about 20 inches on Princeton. Among other things, it messed up the harvest for area farmers.
Incumbents Lee Steinbrecher and Harvey Walsh, and newcomer Mardi Lacher, were elected to the school board in November.
Three students were suspects in the setting of eight fires at the high school from Nov. 13 to Nov. 19.
Area residents had their memories of Pearl Harbor printed in the Dec. 5 issue of the Union-Eagle as they recalled what it was like 50 years earlier.
A strike was possible as negotiations broke off between the school board and the Princeton Education Association (teachers union), members of the PEA voting 153-7 in late December to strike.
Aug. 8, 1957 – The Princeton town baseball team was to play St. Stephen in an exhibition game at 6 p.m. on a Sunday at the Princeton diamond. If was the team’s fifth game of the season.
Aug. 9, 1962 – A ban on taking northerns at Mille Lacs Lake, which began Dec. 1, 1961, was extended until Nov. 30, 1962 . . . Tom Peterson and Clem Letich were in first place in one men’s league at Rum River Golf Club, and Jack White and Howard Gruhlke led the other.
Aug. 11, 1967 – Santiago beat Elk River 1-0 in an Independent Central League playoff game as Luther Dorr pitched a 3-hitter. The two teams were to play in Elk River at 8:15 p.m. on a Wednesday to decide the series.
Aug. 9, 1972 – Ron Deglmann struck out 12 and pitched a 3-hitter in a 3-0 win over Monticello in the first round of town team playoffs.
Aug. 11, 1977 – The Legion baseball team finished 20-7 after losing 2-1 to Osseo in single-elimination District 10 play, Fred Jenson getting the loss on two unearned runs . . .Jo Bornholdt (166) edged Chris Fransen by two strokes for her 12th women’s title in 14 years at Rum River Golf Club.
Aug. 12, 1982 – Greg Braford and Bunny Swanson won the junior titles at Rum River Golf Club, Braford by one stroke over Rick Kapsner with a 72 . . . The Legion baseball team finished 26-9 after being eliminated in District 10 play, losing 6-2 to St. Louis Park after beating Osseo. The team hit .298 for the year and averaged 7.3 runs a game.
Aug. 6, 1987 – Princeton won the women’s Five Star golf title as club champion Chris Fransen shot an 83 . . . Princeton won its eighth straight North End playoff title in Legion baseball with wins over Cambridge by Marco Voce and Jason Miller. The wins gave Princeton a 24-game winning streak in league playoffs.
Aug. 6, 1992 – The Princeton Panthers, with Troy Scheffel and Mickey Branchaud getting the wins, beat Pine City twice in Eastern Minny playoffs to advance to region play as Brian Dorr had 10 straight hits and drove in 9 runs.
Aug. 14, 1997 – A Tier II Sandy Koufax team from Princeton finished 20-5-1 and was third at the state tournament . . . The Princeton Panthers, with a final season record of 24-4, lost to Forest Lake and Foley in the Region 1C tournament.
Aug. 1, 2002 – The Princeton Panthers (20-6) beat Chisago Lakes 7-3 and 3-2 to advance to region play, getting important homers from Brian Julson and Brian Dorr.
Aug. 9, 2007 – The Princeton Panthers stayed alive in region play with a 13-5 win over Isanti as Jesse Zimmer pitched the win. Tony Stay and Zach Neubauer each drove in three runs . . . The Legion baseball team beat St. Michael and Monticello in the playoffs, Brad Knoll and Tyler Bialucha getting the wins, but then lost to Cambridge and St. Francis.
Aug. 9, 2012 – The Princeton Panthers had the No. 1 seed in Eastern Minny playoffs after a late-season surge but lost to the Rum River Bandits and then 11-0 to Hinckley to drop from the playoffs.