by Mike Knaak
St. Joseph police will now be part of a joint powers agreement that will make crime-fighting easier after City Council action Jan. 16.
Police Chief Dwight Pfannenstein asked the council to approve the agreement with the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office to share investigative data such as booking photos among a number of agencies in central Minnesota.
“If people are doing illegal activities in St. Joseph they are doing it elsewhere,” Pfannenstein said. “We will be able to solve crimes quicker.”
The agreement calls for area law-enforcement agencies to share intelligence information by identifying patterns and modes of criminal activity by using software paid for by Sherburne County. For example, if St. Joseph police officers have a security camera photo of a robbery suspect, the officer can use facial recognition software to match it with booking photos from other agencies in the joint powers agreement. Or, officers can compare details of burglaries reported across multiple jurisdictions.
Information that used to take days to get from one department to another can be shared instantly through the analysis and data-sharing hub set up at the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office in Elk River.
The joint powers agreement includes 22 law-enforcement agencies from across central Minnesota including Stearns County and the Sartell, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud and Waite Park police departments.