The SLMPD was created in 1973 under a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the cities of Excelsior, Greenwood, Shorewood and Tonka Bay. These four cities share common boundaries on the shores of Lake Minnetonka located in the southwest quadrant of Hennepin County, Minnesota. It is a dynamic area due to the recreational appeal of Lake Minnetonka, historic business district in downtown Excelsior, main arterial roadways and rapid population growth in the region. The combined service area has an estimated population of nearly 13,000 residents.
There are many benefits to having a cooperative policing agreement rather than each member city operating independently. Such an arrangement makes it possible to have more police personnel and resources available to handle the law enforcement needs of the communities in a more cost-effective manner. It also allows for each city to maintain a measure of local control while enjoying the benefits of a full service police department. The governance of the SLMPD is through the Coordinating Committee consisting of the mayors from each of the four member cities.
The JPA between the cities of Excelsior, Greenwood, Shorewood and Tonka Bay was extended for an unprecedented twenty years to coincide with the financing of the new public safety building. This state-of-the-art facility became fully operational in January of 2004 and serves as headquarters for both the SLMPD and the Excelsior Fire District (EFD). It is a testament to what can be achieved when communities work together toward the greater public good.
The SLMPD currently has an authorized strength of 15 full-time licensed police officers consisting of patrol officers, investigators and sergeants as well as a lieutenant and police chief/emergency management coordinator. Many officers have additional responsibilities in addition to their regular assignments, which gives them the latitude to pursue specialized interests. Other personnel include one full-time office administrator, one full-time office specialist, one full-time public safety officer and four part-time community service officers. There is also a volunteer reserve officer program which has an authorized strength of 20 members.
The SLMPD administers for an additional fee park and dock patrol services for the City of Excelsior. This is provided on a seasonal basis and normally extends between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends. Primary responsibilities include patrolling the downtown waterfront area (Commons Park) and adjacent streets as well as maintaining order at the municipal docks. SLMPD reserve officers meeting the job requirements and in good standing with the organization are given preference for the seasonal part-time positions associated with providing these services. These include park service officer, which is a civilian position, and park police officer, which requires state licensor as a peace officer.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department provides a number of support services to the SLMPD and other local law enforcement agencies in the county. These include such things as computer-aided dispatching over a new 800 MHz radio system, short and long-term detention facilities, crime lab and water patrol on Lake Minnetonka. The SLMPD is currently participating in a project through the county that is equipping patrol vehicles with new mobile data computers with wireless internet capabilities. This ongoing project is serving the dual purpose of increasing access to data in the field along with improving officer safety.