A Northern Lights Task Force has been formed consisting of law enforcement leaders and includes counties in the Brainerd lakes area.
According to a news release, the formation of the task force was discussed in 2016 when it became evident a pipeline would likely be built across northern Minnesota. Numerous law enforcement leaders began initial conversations of what a joint public safety response would look like. As the plans became more formalized on the pipeline, the conversations moved from abstract to concrete with the formation of mutual aid agreements and detailed planning.
The Northern Lights Task Force consists of law enforcement leaders from the counties of Kittson, Becker, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Carlton, St. Louis, Aitkin, Kanabec, Clearwater, Polk, Hubbard, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Beltrami, Itasca and the Fond du Lac Reservation. The task force is managed by an executive committee consisting of Sheriff Dan Guida of Aitkin County; Sheriff Ross Litman of St. Louis County; Sheriff Brian Smith of Kanabec County, Sheriff Darin Halverson of Clearwater County and Sheriff Todd Glander of Becker County.
The activities of the task force is summed up by its mission statement:
“To provide a safe environment that protects life, property, and free speech through a respectful approach by well trained, disciplined peace officers relating to the lawful activities conducted by those who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights in Minnesota.”
In support of the mission, sheriffs, their staffs, state and municipal law enforcement partners attended training on topics ranging from crowd management, constitutional law to cultural classes.
Additional support is being received from additional agencies including the Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Homeland Security Emergency Management, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and numerous police, fire and emergency medical service agencies within each county.
A public information officer has been set up and can be reached at NLTFPIO@Gmail.com or 218-591-0678.