Howard Lake Police Chief Dave Thompson (center) is the city’s top law enforcement official. Other officers pictured are Tom Christenson, Pat Chiero, Darek Szczepanik, Krystal Fair, Ashley Holtz, Thompson, Megan McDonald, Ken Rollins, Sgt. Eric Anderson, Reserve Sgt. Brandon Kottke, and Community Service Officer Jordon Goodman.
Howard Lake Police Department
Information updated November 2020.
The Howard Lake Police Department continues to provide professional and courteous law enforcement to the citizens of Howard Lake. The year 2020 provided the department with many opportunities to actively engage with the community.
The department maintained its active presence in the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Schools through School Resource Officer (SRO) Darek Szczepanik. He provided a regular presence in both the high school and the middle school, and also served as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) instructor. In addition to his duties as the SRO, Szczepanik also participated in the Safe Schools Committee of Wright County. This partnership between the school district and the police department has helped to reduce overall incidents of criminal and truant behavior by area youth.
In addition to its role within the schools, the department also participated in Safe Communities of Wright County, which seeks to act as a bridge of knowledge and communication between schools, law enforcement, and other community entities within Wright County. Chief Thompson is currently serving as the vice chair of the Safe Communities of Wright County Board.
Although many major community events were canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the department looks forward to actively supporting all major community events in 2021, including the Howard Lake Chamber of Commerce Community Expo, Good Neighbor Days, Wright County Fair, National Night Out, and other various community events throughout the year.
The department, along with the city, participated as a member of the Highway 12 Safety Coalition. This group of city and township representatives, law enforcement, department of transportation, and other safety officials met bi-monthly to improve highway safety along the Highway 12 corridor from Wayzata to Cokato.
The department worked closely with and partnered with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), and the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) to conduct several targeted enforcement events in the city, including distracted driving, seatbelts, handsfree phone usage, and pedestrian/crosswalk safety.
Additionally, the department once again participated in the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program in 2020. Minnesota TZD is the state’s cornerstone traffic safety program, employing an interdisciplinary approach to reducing traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths on Minnesota roads.
As the department heads into 2021, we look forward to continuing to build upon the relationships within the community and with surrounding agencies that will help us to better serve the residents of Howard Lake.