It has been brought to my attention that regular readers may have a question regarding the relatively new appearance of the documentation of traffic stops and associated verbal warnings given by the La Crescent Police Department in the weekly police blotter that appears in the Houston County News.

There are two primary reasons why I have chosen to include them with the weekly media reports. The first and foremost is that I strongly encourage and support the police department to be a community educational resource in addition to the many other responsibilities the department has.

In addition to law enforcement, we are also a public safety agency. A public safety agency is obliged to educate the community regarding the laws and rules that specify personal conduct while addressing unsafe or illegal behaviors. Within this framework, officers have some discretion to decide if the driving infraction was severe enough to require a citation be issued or if it is a simple teachable moment.

The second reason the verbal warnings are also being included in the media reports is due to department having obtained a more technologically advanced software system. Most every contact with the public does generate an incident report that creates a record of what your community’s police department activities are and the services that are being provided.

If there are ever any questions regarding why or what your police department is doing, please do not hesitate to contact myself or one of the officers on duty as we all share a vested interest in making La Crescent one of the best communities in the area.

-- Police Chief Doug Stavenau

La Crescent

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