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Breezy Point Police receive Excellence in Innovation Award

The Breezy Point Police Department and police chief Kevin Merschman received the inaugural Excellence in Innovation Award from the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA). The 2016 awards were handed out Wednesday, April 20, at the MCPA's annual Executive Training Institute (ETI) in St. Cloud.

The Excellence in Innovation Award highlights the achievements of one small agency (15 or fewer sworn officers) and one large agency (16 or greater sworn officers) in implementing an innovative program or initiative that enhances the effectiveness of law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.

The Breezy Point Police Department was honored for its police-paramedic program. Two of the department's six full-time police officers are trained paramedics and equipped with advanced life support in their squad cars. With local ambulances stationed at least 11 miles from the city, this cuts down substantially on response times on emergency medical calls.

Through a private sector partnership with North Memorial Ambulance Service, the Breezy Point Police Department receives medical direction, medical equipment and supplies at no cost.

Since 2007, Breezy Point police officers have responded to more than 1,100 medical calls for service and the city estimates it has saved about $3.5 million.

The MCPA's Excellence in Innovation Award is based on four criteria:

• Level of innovation

• Effectiveness

• Ability to replicate

• Overall impact on public safety.