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Interstate 35W and Highway 13292 viewsInterstate 35W and Highway 13 looking toward Buck Hill - photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
Police Department history Crnobrna 1988217 viewsBack to the Future
Mike Crnobrna 06/10/88

I firmly believe that basic training in any organization should include a history of that organization. Here are a few facts about the Burnsville Police Department taken from my
perspective as a former Burnsville Officer. After you read it, I would encourage you to quiz others more senior to the Burnsville experience than yourself for their perspective as well.
In August of 1961, Bloomington decided to annex the NSP Blackdog electrical generating plant and obtain the revenue that would go with it. If the 2,700 citizens of Burnsville wanted to keep it, they would have to organize to fight for it. The Village of Burnsville was incorporated in July of 1964. Incorporation would have come eventually with the post World War II suburban push. Bloomington just helped usher it in a little sooner. Burnsville itself was born out of controversy. The future police and fire service would also be marked by controversy and a pension for the radical and non-conforming.
With the growth of the young village, the need for police service grew. The early law enforcement tasks were in the hands of a number of elected constables over the years, including former Public Works Supervisor Ed Giles. In July of 1964, the Council hired former Minneapolis Police Inspector Edward Farrell to start a Burnsville Police Department. Farrell held a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and had been in charge of police training in Minneapolis prior to taking the position of Chief in Burnsville. He would take the department from its infancy as a Police Department to its infancy as a Public Safety Department.
The first police station was in a building on the site of Ames Construction on County Road 5, but by November, 1964, it was moved to the dental building on County Road 34 near County Road 5. It then moved to 1313 East Highway 13, where it occupied the east side of the City Hall building. The current police station was not built until 1976. By the end of 1965, a total of ten officers had been hired. They had short haircuts, black and white squad cars, and brown uniforms. Stories of those early years, such as die great flood of 1965, or how Paul Anselmin thwarted the getaway of the Faribault armed robbers, would be passed on to the many rookies who were to follow those original ten.

You might take the fact for granted that the City has its own highly skilled paramedic ambulance service today, but until the early 70s, Allen's Towing Service was also the ambulance service! You had to specify which kind of body needed to be hauled: vehicular or human.

THE McINNIS YEARS: Totally Consolidated Public Safety
In June, 1965, the Village hired a manager by the name of Patrick Mclnnis who developed some rather different ideas of how a Police Department should look and operate. Fire protection was a growing problem in this young community. The fire protection of those early days was provided by contract with the Savage Volunteer Fire Department. River Hills residents actually wanted to contract to the Eagan Volunteer Fire Department. The need for a change in the fire protection system was there. Why not have the Police Officers do the firefighting? They are at the fire scene anyway! In 1968, the Burnsville Police Department became what is known as a totally consolidated Public Safety Department, with all officers cross-trained as both Police Officers and Firefighters. The Burnsville Police Officers became Burnsville Public Safety Officers (PSOs). In a newspaper article of that time, Mclnnis stated it was an "experiment".

Get them out of those brown military uniforms! Put them in business suits! Well,okay, maybe business suits are a little too radical. How about blazers? Dark blue blazers? So it was. by June, 1969, the official uniform of the Burnsville Department of Public Safety (BDPS) was a blue blazer or "blue bag" as some of the former Burnsville Police Officers referred to it. The pants were French blue! The shirt and ties? Well, whatever met your personal sartorial fancy. I personally preferred the Steve McQueen "Bullet" look, with a dark turtleneck and shoulder holster. The standard issue weapon was a 2^-inch .357 magnum with a drop pouch of six extra rounds on the belt. The handcuffs were looped through the same belt in the back. Long hair and beards became acceptable with this non-military uniform. At the time,this was considered very radical for a street cop.

There were no educational requirements for Minnesota law enforcement officers until 1978. An officer was hired and sent to the BCA for two months of basic training. In 1969, Pat Mclnnis was ahead of the times in that respect. To be hired as a Public Safety Officer,a candidate had to have a four-year college degree; the major was not specified as long as it was a Bachelors Degree.

The police/fire combination, the blazers, and the four-year degree, were the trademarks ofthe old Burnsville Department of Public Safety. Radical and in tune with the times. Each of these trademarks were eventually abandoned.

There is a long list of former employees of the Burnsville Public Safety/Police Department. Many people had varying degrees of influence on what eventually became the modem Burnsville Police Department. Nobody had more of a dramatic effect in those early years than Dave Couper. Public Safety Director Ed Farrell died at the age of 59, in December, 1968. In March, 1969, Mclnnis hired Couper, who was 30 years old at the time, as the new Director. Like Farrell, Couper came from the Minneapolis Police Department. He had a Masters Degree in Sociology and was an energetic and charismatic leader of ideas and action—with the actions usually following the ideas rather quickly.

Change became a way of life for the PSOs under Couper. He also set a philosophical tone for the department. Recruiting efforts referred to "joining the Domestic Peace Corps" and the
"new breed"of officer. The idea of an officer being both a law enforcer and a social service agent was instilled in each rookie. The humanitarian and public relations aspects of the job were emphasized. Discounts and gratuities of any kind were unacceptable. At the end of 1972, he departed to become the Chief of Police in Madison, Wisconsin, the position in which he still serves. Twenty-eight year old Michael DuMoulin, one of the ten original Burnsville Police Officers, replaced him as the Director of Public Safety. Couper's influence was apparent and spoken of often when I started in 1973. That influence is apparent to me today, even though some of the new officers might net even recognize his name.

During my first interview with Pat Mclnnis, he explained that under "his" Public Safety System, officers are "trained to leave". (Ask me about my second interview with him some time.) What he was talked about was the stance on education and training he had taken in regard to "his" PSOs and the reputation that the department had gained. At that time, college educated cops with street and management experience were in demand for executive jobs in other police departments. During that era, Burnsville was producing Chiefs at an impressive rate for a department of its size. There was an assumption that most PSOs would leave Burnsville's management training program probably within five years. That was 1973. By the close of the '70s, that Chief production would taper off. Like the new manufacturing business, the market changed. In this case, so did the factory.

Burnsville employees who were not here at some point during the genesis of the unions may have heard something about those series of events during the late 70s. The sides polarized. The lines were drawn. It was "good guys" against "bad guys". Unions do not spring from ethereal nothingness. Changes were taking place that made unionization inevitable. Changes were taking place in the country, in law enforcement, in the fire service, in the expectations that BDPS employees had of management,and in the political realities of Burnsville. The Burnsville Department of Public Safety had reached puberty. Two main characters in the drama collided. Union President Tom Van Hoofand City Manager Pat Mclnnis faced off head-to-head during a City Council meeting. Van Hoofwas fired only to be later reinstated by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Mclnnis resigned. The events surrounding unionization could either make excellent material for a doctoral thesis or keep a soap opera on television for years. By the beginning of the 1980s, a now very different Public Safety Department emerged. There was massive turnover. Some of the changes were:

A) Blazers Out Military Uniforms Back In:

September 1, 1977, on Dog Watch, everyone turned blue. Most Patrol Officers had never worked in police uniforms. It was like watching kids with new toys. The blazer was a vestige from another era. During the '60s war protest era when the term "pig" was used to refer to cops, it made sense. A new approach was needed back then. And in a young suburban community like Burnsville it worked. But the times had changed. Also, the original PSO equipment had expanded from those few original bare essentials to gun belts, handheld radios, speed loaders, flashlights, night sticks and other paraphernalia, until the equipment rivaled Batman's utility belt. The blazer started to look like a circus tent on even the most ectomorphic PSO.
Officer identification was also becoming more of a problem. Any old PSO and his/her story of the identification problem. Mine is the man-with-a-gun call at Howard Johnson's (now called the Burnsville Royale), where the desk clerk asked me, "Do you have reservations?", thinking that I was a perspective guest. Then there was the famous Embers brawl where at least three PSOs were in a pile of battling humanity on the restaurant floor. An excited bystander suggested that somebody should call the cops. The city was bigger and busier. The identification problem helped usher in the end of the blazer.
The first uniforms had no patches. That was a later addition. Officers were polled as to their preferences on the exact style and color of the uniform. That original design developed into the award winning ensemble of today.

B) Military Rank Terminology Back In:
From CSO, PSO, PSOII, Agent, PSS, PPS II, and NSOIC, the rank terminology changed to Corporal (for Sergeant) and Sergeant (for Lieutenant). The term Captain was used on Fire shifts. The Corporal rank was later dropped.

C) Full-Time Dispatchers Were Hired to Replace CSOs:
CSO, or Community Service Officers, were college students working on their degrees so that they could become PSOs. They had been doing the dispatching since 1969. Dakota County originally dispatched Burnsville units. A few CSOs actually worked in marked patrol cars and were not armed.

D) 24-Hour On-Duty Fire Suppression Shifts:
Firefighting personnel came from squads, where fire turnout gear was carried in the trunk, or from off-duty response. For a time, off-duty response was mandatory for all calls, no matter how minor. CSOs would drive the trucks to the scene.

E) Overtime Pay. Court Time Pay. Fire Call-Out Pav:
Prior to unionization, all sworn personnel were considered straight salaried "professionals". Many long hours were spent at fires, in court, on investigations, and on extended shifts with no extra compensation or time off. In the early 70s, the average age of the department was about 24 years old, with many unmarried or married/childless PSOs. Ambitious young officers did this without extra compensation because they were being "trained to leave". The times and personal situations changed. The promotional "carrot" was not enough any more.

F) Four-Year College Degree Requirement Was Dropped:
The State of Minnesota began requiring two years of education in 1978. Requiring more education was considered discrimination.

G) Separation Of The Fire And Police Services:
This had been a core issue since Public Safety started in 1968. On November 29, 1981, the great "experiment" was over. You may have heard of those who still have their "chip" or "wooden nickel"; this refers to the option to return to the opposite service that you chose in 1981. A Police Officer could return to the fire service, or a Firefighter could return to the police service, but only one time. Some people used their chip; others gave it up; some still hold it today. Speak to those who were there on both sides of the unionization conflict. The difference in perspective is comical.

It took a while to get use to the idea of new employees coming in to do one job, not both police and fire. This may sound strange to those who never experienced the Public Safety days. It just seemed odd at first. But now a separate Police Department is as common and as a matter of fact as Public Safety once was. It's fun to hear the rumors still surface about the reported return to totally consolidated Public Safety. In comparison, the odds o f that happening would have made the Twins look like a sure thing to win the World Series in the Spring of 1987.

I believe the modem Burnsville Police Department is an organization that you can truly be proud to be a part of. It has a strong tradition of humanitarian service to the public and has always lived up to the PRIDE slogan celebrated by die City. The excellent cooperation with the Fire Department that you will experience as a Burnsville Police Officer today is a legacy left to you from the Public Safety era.
I hope this tour of the past has given you some idea of how the Police Department developed. The department in both of its forms has been a very important part of my life and has taught me a great deal. I enjoy talking about it and can probably bore any interested party to slumber in no time. Stop by the Fire Department training room if you would like me to elaborate on the subject. I wish the best of luck to you and hope that you enjoy your career development in Burnsville.
—Michael Cmobma
Billy Goat Bridge206 viewsAnother view of Burnsville's classic Billy Goat Bridge.
Old Cedar Avenue Bridge 1977201 viewsThe old Cedar Avenue Bridge in 1977 has been retained for biking and walking.
Billy Goat Bridge197 viewsAnother view of the classic Billy Goat Bridge.
Billy Goat Bridge 1979196 views
Cedar Avenue Bridge undated195 viewsAn early photo of the Cedar Avenue Bridge connecting Eagan/Burnsville with Bloomington area through Nicols.
Billy Goat Bridge194 viewsAn early winter photo of Billy Goat Bridge.
Billy Goat Bridge today192 views2017 - a vehicle drives over the location of Billy Goat Bridge near Judicial Road and Burnsville Parkway.
Billy Goat Bridge179 viewsAnother view of Burnsville's classic Billy Goat Bridge.
Billy Goat Bridge178 viewsBilly Goat Bridge.
Billy Goat Bridge177 viewsAnother view of Burnsville's classic historic bridge.
Billy Goat Bridge173 viewsA classic black and white photo of Burnsville's wooden bridge.
Cedar Avenue Bridge 1980161 viewsA Dakota County Tribune newspaper clipping shows a photo of the progress of the new Cedar Avenue Bridge.
Cedar Avenue Bridge 1935158 viewsAn early photo of the Cedar Avenue Bridge in Eagan.
Billy Goat Bridge declared deficient 1976157 viewsJanuary 1, 1976 Dakota County Tribune reports: The possibility exists that Billy Goat Bridge, located in Western Burnsville, may be replaced. The highway department has certified it to be deficient, but indicated funding does not exist for replacement of deficient bridges...
Billy Goat Bridge replica at Neill Park156 viewsNeill park, the Billy Goat bridge replica photo 2017 by M. P. Kelleher. From a 1991 memo.

October 15, 1991
Ed Kodet
Kodet Architectural Group Ltd 15 Groveland Terrace Minneapolis, MN 55403

Dear Ed,

As we discussed over the phone, the City would like to build a small footbridge in one of our parks that would resemble the historical landmark Billy Goat Bridge, which was torn down several years ago. Our concept is to have the basic support system for the footbridge made out of structural steel and then put on a facade of wood which would capture the essence of Billy Goat Bridge.

I have attached drawings showing what we are proposing. All the structural strength would come from the steel girders. The wooden post headers would be for appearance only. They would be attached to the bridge, but are not intended to be load bearing.

The bridge will be approximately 6 feet wide and would be for foot traffic only. It is not intended for use by cars or
motorcycles. A small utility cart would be the only vehicle which might go over it on a regular basis. Even that could be
eliminated if necessary or appropriate.

The City would like to have a structural engineer look at our design and determine if the structural elements, primarily the steel girders, are sufficient for our purposes. We are not looking for feedback on the aesthetic design, facade or non-load bearing elements.

I would appreciate it if you could have one of your structural engineers take a look at the design for us. If you have any questions or need some more information, please feel free to give me or Dave Grommesch, our landscape technician, a call.
Modern Engineers have Mohamet cheated, no trick to move this moutain on Lyndale Avenue.155 viewsJuly 18, 1920 Minneapolis Tribune:

Corwin B. Waddell, chairman of the roads and bridges committee of the Hennepin County Commissioners, is no Mahomet. But when it comes to moving mountains, he has the Prophet cheated. He is directing the building of the widely discussed Lyndale Avenue Bridge over the Minnesota River...
# J - Historic Map of Burnsville - Buck Hill - Burnhaven Library147 viewsThis is one of the sites included on the historic map of Burnsville, created by the Dakota County Historical Society and displayed at the library - Billy Goat Bridge.
Cedar Avenue Bridge 1980145 viewsAnother view of the Cedar Avenue bridge.
Old Cedar Avenue Bridge144 viewsPhoto by Greg Utecht. Cedar Avenue bridge crossing the Minnesota River before the current bridge opened in 1980. Photo shot from the new bridge before they tore the original down.
Cedar Avenue Bridge circa 1978143 viewsConstruction of the "new" Cedar Avenue Bridge.
Billy Goat Bridge will be replaced 1976142 viewsAlthough in 1987 Billy Goat Bridge would be removed, in 1976 the Burnsville City Council began addressing the issue of the old historic bridge. In the December 23, 1976 Dakota County Tribune it is reported: A Burnsville request for $440,000 in state funds to replace Billy Goat Bridge is consistent with regional plans and goals the Metropolitan Council Physical Development Committee said December 16.

Burnsville has asked to replace the bridge with a structure that can handle the estimated 1985 traffic flow on Burnsville Crosstown of 10,000 vehicles per day.
Billy Goat Bridge - Bridging the old and the new 1979 (4 pages)140 views(In 1987 Billy Goat Bridge would be removed) In 1979 the Burnsville Current tells the history of Burnsville's famous wooden bridge.
Billy Goat Bridge 2017139 viewsAugust, 2017 cars drive on the site of the former Billy Goat Bridge.
Meadow Inn137 viewsHere is a pic of the flooded Meadow Inn ...it was just over the old Cedar Bridge on the left side of the road....it later was The Eagles Club....
Old Cedar Bridge replacement135 viewsPortions of the Cedar Avenue Bridge are removed for the new bridge.

The original Old Cedar Avenue Bridge was built in 1890. The bridge that stands now was built in 1920 and carried automobile traffic into the 1990s. The narrow span continued operation as a bicycle trail until 2002 when it was deemed too unsafe. In 2008, $2 million in state funding was approved to reopen the bridge to bicyclists and pedestrians. Back when the old structure was the main crossing, heavy traffic delays would occur because of the bridge's small size and the need to operate the swing segment to let boat traffic pass. The modern bridge has three lanes in each direction, in addition to a shoulder which is often used by buses to get past traffic slowdowns.
Cedar Avenue Bridge 1980132 viewsAnother view of the Cedar Avenue Bridge.
Village Clerk Mike O'Conner with Pat Connelly130 viewsthe caption is wrong! This is not the mayor....

Burnsville's new Town Clerk, Michael O'Connor, on the left, is pictured receiving some of the Township records from Pat Connelly, retiring after 26 years of service in the post of clerk. O'Connor is a resident of River Hills.
Billy Goat Bridge to be demolished this summer 1987130 viewsMinneapolis Star Tribune April 23, 1987 reports: Burnsville's mushrooming development will result in the demolition this summer of the Billy Goat Bridge, a 78 year old wooden bridge that has become a historical institution in the city... It 's old, it's structurally deficient, said Charles Siggerud, the city's public works director...
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