Lions Club president Ken Kumpula and chief of police David Jess go all the way back to Park Center High School, where they were classmates. They continue to work together to better the community of Maple Grove to this day. The Lions Club regularly donates funds and equipment that have a direct impact on public safety. “As a community based organization, their focus is to donate things that will immediately benefit said community,” Jess notes. “The things that they have provided for us over the year have affected the community positively.”
Among the Lion Club’s recent gifts to the police are a bait car tracker kit, two special police bicycles, automated external defibrillator (AED) devices for every squad car on the force, and an elliptical trainer.
A bait car tracker kit is a portable piece of equipment that combats vehicle theft and break-ins. Although car theft is low in Maple Grove, there is an average of one car break-in per day. The kits are put in impounded vehicles seized from DWIs. “Wallets, computers and GPS devices get stolen, but a bait car tracker will alert us that the car has been broken into,” Jess reports.
“The donation of the bicycles is huge,” Jess says. “We use them all the time and since we’re trying to stick to a budget in this economy we would normally go without.” The police bicycles are used for events involving large crowds, such as Maple Grove Days and the Farmer’s Market. “Bicycles offer increased mobility and the ability to go places undetected, helping the detection of crime,” says Jess. “They’re invaluable for crime suppression, to patrol retail areas and apprehend shoplifters.” The Maple Grove police department now has a total of six bicycles.
The bicycles are specially manufactured for police by the brand Trek. Each one is equipped with a water bottle holder, a powerful light, a rack to carry gear, and a first aid kit. Perhaps the most important thing about a police bicycle is good shock absorbers, since they tend to wear out with frequent use and an officer spends a long time on the bicycle. “The cops love ’em and it’s good to see smiles on their faces,” Jess says. “The majority of our staff rides bikes. Not all chiefs are as lucky as I am.” Jess is eager to keep the interest sustained and has an in-house bicycle trainer to teach the men to ride safely and effectively.
The Lions have donated 12 AEDs through the years, allowing the force to install one in every squad car this year. There was no way that the department budget could handle the cost of a dedicated AED for each car, so they were forced to share them. “The key factor in treating heart attacks is time. Now every officer or firefighter knows they can get one out of a car,” Jess says, “I know for a fact that countless lives have been saved by that equipment, at least once a month.”
According to Lions President Kumpula, “we approach the police force about every six months to check in and see what they need. They give us quite a grocery list!” The most recent item donated was an elliptical trainer. There is an exercise room at the station that is made from all donated exercise equipment. The previous elliptical trainer, donated by Life Time Fitness, was so popular that it quickly broke down. The Lions generously stepped in to provide a brand-new trainer manufactured by the Brooklyn Park company Octane. The officers were ecstatic over the donation; once again, the Lions served well.