The local Police Blotter can be found in every edition of The Clairemont Times. Criminal activity in large cities is a serious matter. Residents want to feel safe and secure in their homes and neighborhoods.
Crime reporting in small town newspapers is also taken very seriously, but can be trivial and often hilarious.
In the early 1950s, I grew up in Farmington, Minnesota. Getting one’s name in the paper was a special event, unless it appeared in the police report. I continued my subscription to The Dakota County Tribune into the 1970s primarily to read the weekly “police report.”
Farmington Police Chief Jake Klotzbeacher was my hero.
When he retired on December 31, 1972, following a 25-year career as Farmington’s top law enforcement officer, Jake recalled that the department did not have a squad car when he first started as a patrolman. When Jake was needed, the telephone operator would turn on a light outside Hagen’s Coast-to-Coast hardware store at the corner of Third and Oak.
The light would never be confused with the “Bat-Signal” projected into the skies over Gotham City. It was just a light.
Jake would find a phone to call the operator for details and catch a ride or walk to investigate the situation. Needless to say, this created problems.
Once he became chief, Klotzbeacher helped streamline the force which grew to five officers and a clerk. He often said that during his tenure, there were no pedestrian or cyclist deaths on the streets patrolled by his men and there were no armed robberies or murders in the town. Jake was a good and decent man. After retirement, he drove a school bus and helped deliver mail.
The following articles and excerpts from “police reports” provide insight about 50-year-old crimes in a small, midwestern town where churches still far outnumber the bars
Police Chief, Breaking Up Fight, Hit In Face
“Farmington Police Chief Jake Klotzbeacher suffered a cut lower lip, broken glasses and a twisted hip, as he was struck attempting to break up a fight and wild party in the rear apartment at the northeast corner of Fifth and Main streets in Farmington on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Klotzbeacher was hit in the mouth, and this knocked off his glasses, which he stepped on, in the fracas.
He suffered the twisted hip as he tripped over a flower pot while chasing his assailant on foot. The chief then lost the man and girl companion in an auto chase from Farmington over back roads to an intersection north of Rosemount.
Within a short time after his call for help, Lakeville Officer Charles Lohman heard the call and came to assist. Red Staats, another Farmington policeman off duty at the time, donned a gun belt over his overalls, and arrived to give aid.
‘In 20 years of policing, this is the worst,’ Klotzbeacher said, his mouth bleeding over the front of his shirt. ‘It’s the first time I’ve really been hit,’ he said.
The chief said he will file charges of assaulting an officer, and disturbing the peace, against Dennis Keith, 20, originally from Lakeville, and also wanted by Lakeville police for a careless driving tag the previous night.”
Police Chief Receives Gun Shot Wound
“Farmington Police Chief Jake Klotzbeacher received minor injuries to his index and middle finger on his right hand, when his gun accidentally went off on Monday about 4:30 p.m. As he took hold of the bottom portion of the holster, the gun discharged. The .45 calibre bullet went between his index and middle fingers. He said he can’t understand what happened because the gun has five safety devices and it’s one of the safest guns made. He added that he is currently having the gun checked.”
New Squad Car, Local Auto, Damaged in Collision Here
“‘Red’ Staats sustained a bump on the head when the new Plymouth squad car collided with a car driven by Don Davison at Elm and Third streets.” (The cause of the accident was not addressed, so it was probably Red’s fault.)
Roadrunner Eludes New Squad Car In Chase
“The ‘Roadrunner’ cartoons may be funny to the movie-going audience, but the automotive industries Roadrunner contained no humor to Farmington Police.
They’re still looking for the red Plymouth Roadrunner which ‘cut up’ the town and endangered other motorists along Highway 3, starting at 12:30 Wednesday morning of last week.
The Farmington squad car was doing 127 miles per hour on Highway 3 south of Farmington and the hopped-up Roadrunner ‘just walked away’ according to Dean Sharp, officer giving chase.
Apparently the driver pulled aside in the Waterford Meat Market driveway and doubled back after the Farmington car went past.
The chase started when the Roadrunner whipped up and down Third Street, went out to Highway 3 and headed south.
Sharp said Farmington’s new squad car is ‘broken in’ a bit better now and warned that “dangerous games with people’s lives at stake will not be dealt with lightly.”
Youths Lock Boy in Dryer, Then Turn It On
“According to Police Chief Jake Klotzbeacher, two Farmington boys put another youth inside one of the dryers at the Farmington Laundromat on Sunday and put in a dime to start the machine. After the youth had been spinning around for sometime, they let him out. His only injury was a bump on his head. Then they broke into the pop machine. Klotzbeacher says the boys will be turned over to juvenile authorities for further action.”
“If someone would have told Farmington Police Chief Jake Klotzbeacher that lighting would strike his house in the middle of January, he never would have believed it. But it happened.
It was the second time his house has been struck by lightning and lightning is not supposed to strike the same place twice.”
Church Sign Attacked
The photo caption read, “No one knows just when this is done, but for someone to take time to vandalize a church sign is in a class by itself. The sign is located on the east edge of town in full view of hundreds of daily motorists who visit this village.”
In an accompanying article, Police Chief Jake Klotzbeacher was conducting a thorough investigation to bring the culprit or culprits to justice. He cautioned against jumping to the conclusion that the crime was perpetrated by somebody in the Farmington High School Class of 1967.
Jake reasoned, “The vandalism may have been done by somebody in the Class of ’68 or the Class of ’66 just to throw off the investigation.”
The following vignettes are verbatim from the weekly “Police Report.”
Feb. 11 CODE VIOLATION: Possible local/state building code violation at City Hall. Exhaust fan in men’s room not working.
Feb. 13 DISTRESS: “Party reported distress signal on [400 block] of 8th Street. Flag flying upside down. Spoke with owner; everything OK, but flag broke and snagged in cherry trees.” Police cut flag down from trees.
Feb. 15 DOG: Barking near Dunbar & Akin. “Located dog. Owners not around. Unable to shut dog up using conventional tactics.”
Feb. 17 TRESPASS: Complainant states he came home and found heavy equipment tracks on his driveway that cut across his yard to the RR tracks. Officer spoke with the Soo Line. They were out re-railing a box car.
Feb. 18 PUBLIC HEALTH: Bird droppings all over east side of old Centel building.
Feb. 18 TERRORISTIC THREATS: 36-year-old man arrested for threatening to shoot bartender at Lucid’s.
Feb. 19 JUVENILE PROBLEM: A high school boy [in obscene costume] dressed for high school “dress imaginatively days” went to FMS and “flashed” some sixth graders. School will punish him.
May 16 SUSPICION: A heavy-set man near Middle School asked a woman if she wanted to have a good time. Unable to locate.
May 22 SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE: Report of a suspicious vehicle parked near commercial construction site at County Road 31 and 182nd. “It was a squad car (mine) parked in area. Now I know that suspicious cars have red lights and badges.”
May 23 SUSPICIOUS VEHICLE: Complainant reported that a vehicle had followed her from Post Office to the liquor store. The suspect vehicle was stopped by an officer. The driver admitted the action. He said he wanted to ask her out on a date, but then chickened out.
June 3 911 HANGUP: Patron of VFW was trying for directory assistance (411) and misdialed.
June 6 JUVENILE: Report of loud juveniles at 18200 block of Exodus. They were three young girls ages 9-10 giggling and laughing. They were asked to keep their giggles down.
June 6 MISCELLANEOUS: Report of two men with spiked hair offering candy to an eight year old girl.
June 30 ANIMAL COMPLAINT: Report of a woodchuck living under warming house near swimming pool. Shot on sight.
June 30 ANIMAL COMPLAINT: Complaint of woodchucks getting into garage. Police said they would shoot them if they see them.
July 8 MISCELLANEOUS: Police “observed a large Smurf doll in the middle of the road (Ash Street). Threw him in the ditch.”
July 8 PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: Someone called stating she had no water pressure. City Engineer Tom Kaldunski was notified. Person later called back and said her lack of water pressure was because her son turned off the main water valve.
July 10 ANIMAL COMPLAINT: Someone called from Eighth Street and said there was a large rat in their bedroom. When the officer arrived, he found a muskrat in the closet and “rectified problem.”
July 16 MOTORIST ASSISTANCE: Open door for someone at VFW
July 16 JUVENILE PROBLEMS: On West Del Drive. Complaint of kids trying to drown a cat in a puddle. They said they were just giving it a bath.
July 17 JUVENILE PROBLEMS: Report of kids ringing buzzers and laughing when people answered on Spruce Place.
Sept. 12 TRUANCY: Three first graders skipped school. Found north of town on RR tracks.
Sept. 18 SUSPICIOUS PERSON: Person demanded a free pizza or money from Downtown Deli. After he was refused, he left.
Sept. 26 FOUND PROPERTY: A Bible in roadway. Picked it up and called owner.
Sept. 27 ANIMAL COMPLAINT: Complainant lost a cockatiel, white, answers to “Buddy.” Last seen flying east.
Sept. 28 ANIMAL: Found Cockatiel. FFD assisted in capture.
Oct. 7 PHONE CALL: Woman called and said man won a trip to Las Vegas – needed his credit card number. Police advised man not to give the number, but to have her call the police. She never called back police.
Oct. 7 ANIMAL: Gopher tearing up yard on 9th Street. Police said they’d shoot it.
Oct. 8 ASSISTANCE: Man came into PD visibly shaken. Stated he’d been accosted by a naked man. Criminal damage to his car. Referred to County Sheriff.
Oct. 8 ASSISTANCE: The naked man later also assaulted two deputies. Assisted in restraining the man until crisis intervention called.
Oct. 9 TRESPASS: Subjects at edge of a corn field on County Road 31 were going to sneak on and get some corn.
Oct. 9 JUVENILE PROBLEM: A boy followed a man’s daughter home and scared her.
Oct. 22 DOMESTIC: Two intoxicated individuals had a dispute outside the Tom Thumb. He threw her engagement ring in the grass. Police helped her look for it.
Nov. 1 FIGHT: At VFW, during which a Hector, MN, man had his wallet stolen. Contained seven $100 bills. Witness said he saw husky blond female pick up wallet.
Nov. 5 SUSPICION: Two characters followed a girl who was walking from the high school to Dr. Pollock’s office.
Nov. 12 MISCELLANEOUS: UFO’s reported over downtown Farmington. Unable to locate.
Nov. 15 PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: Man had leaky pipes. Explained how to shut off water.
Nov. 19 911 HANGUP: Five-year-old boy called 911 and hung up. Upon callback, boy swore at dispatcher. Mother will discipline child.
Just the facts… nothing but the facts for reporting crime in a small town.