History & Structure
On November 9, 1905, Columbia Heights had its first record of police service when August H. Beurger was paid for one day of work as a constable. In July of 1921, the first budget for police services was approved in the amount of $500. Shortly thereafter, in October of 1921, Mayor Gauvette and the City Council appointed and approved the first police department for the city. The first radios were installed in the department’s two squad cars in March of 1931. In September of 1944, Columbia Heights signed an agreement with the Minneapolis Police Department to furnish all radios and repairs in addition to a broadcasting service. A telephone system for requesting police assistance was implemented in January 1962
The 1970s saw many important changes for the Columbia Heights Police Department. Under the guidance of Anoka County Attorney Robert W. Johnson, Anoka County and six cities, including Columbia Heights, entered a joint powers agreement to create the Anoka County Joint Law Enforcement Council, which is still in existence today. During the 1970’s, the State of Minnesota put in place a computer system that permitted all police agencies with a terminal to gain access to state and federal records, including warrant information, stolen vehicle files and officer safety information. In 1978, the city constructed a new 6,000 square foot addition to City Hall to house the Police Department.
The 1980s & 1990s
From the 1980s and into the 1990s, there were a number of important programs put into place that are still in use today. Some of these programs include the School Liaison Officer program, DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), and participation in National Night Out. The Twin Cities area began using the 9-1-1 system in 1982. Computerization of the department’s records began in the 1980s, and advances in technology continue to change how police officers perform their jobs. For instance, new web-based programs allow officers to receive dispatch information on squad computers and accidents can be entered online through the Department of Vehicle Services website.
In 2008, the city approved a new public safety building located at 41st Avenue and Quincy Street. This building was completed in the fall of 2009, and it currently houses both the Police and Fire Departments. Currently, the Columbia Heights Police Department has an authorized strength of twenty-seven officers and five full-time civilian employees. This consists of a chief of police, police captain, four sergeants, twenty sworn officers, and one full-time and five part-time community service officers.