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Breezy Point Police Paramedic Program wins statewide award

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota has selected the Breezy Point Police Department to receive a 2015 Local Government Innovation Award for its Police Paramedic Program.

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota has selected the Breezy Point Police Department to receive a 2015 Local Government Innovation Award for its Police Paramedic Program.

The Breezy Point Police Department is among 24 diverse projects recognized for showing creativity and innovation in redesigning how they do business from using a bike and trailer as a mobile library to establishing a community collaborative to tackle academic standards or urban growth. The awards are organized in partnership with the Bush Foundation and co-sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties, Minnesota Association of Townships and the Minnesota School Board Association.

"Every year, we see more and more creative ways that governments are figuring out how to save money but still deliver the same high quality of services," Jay Kiedrowski, senior fellow at the Humphrey School's Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center, said in a news release. "I think that these awards are helping to raise the bar for delivering excellent government services, and that's very exciting."

The Breezy Point Police Department operates one of four police paramedic programs in the state. The paramedic program was implemented in 2005 in response to a population explosion over the previous 10 years. While three other agencies operate similar programs, they are all located within the metropolitan area, and also operate their own ambulance services. As a small agency with six full-time officers, Breezy Point partnered with North Memorial Ambulance Service, making it a one-of-a-kind public/private partnership. North Memorial provides medical direction, medical equipment and supplies to the city at no cost. This partnership allows for paramedic trained officers to be available to respond to medicals in areas that have extended response times.

"All of our officers do extraordinary things in the service of Breezy Point and Pelican Township communities, each and every day," Breezy Point Police Chief Kevin Merschman said. "Our paramedic officers are uniquely skilled and equipped to deliver lifesaving advanced medical care when seconds count. We are fortunate to have the support of the city council and North Memorial Ambulance Service that make this service possible."

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A panel of judges considered nearly 80 submissions for their creativity, sustainability and collaboration across four categories: cities, counties, schools, and townships All 24 awardees will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony and reception at 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Humphrey School.

Go to www.hhh.umn.edu to learn more about the Local Government Innovation Awards and view the complete list of winners and their innovations.

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