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Shakopee combats fraud with gift card ordinance

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Shakopee passes first-of-its-kind ordinance to reduce credit card fraud By Chief Jeff Tate, Shakopee Police Department

It might be something you have experienced before. The scanner at a checkout counter or gas pump will not accept your credit card. Some people can grab a back-up card, complete the transaction and be on their way. But when people are walking around with a stack of dozens of credit cards it’s a sign they are up to no good. That was the case last year when a guy stepped up to a self-service checkout at one of our major Shakopee retailers and tried to get MARCH 2019 | ONLINE

the machine to accept card after card. On his 36th try, he managed to load $1,000 onto a gift card using a stolen credit card and walked out. For us, and for our community, it was the last straw. On May 7th, the Shakopee City Council unanimously passed a new ordinance aimed at reducing the number of fraudulent gift cards purchased in our city. This was the first time such an ordinance has been proposed. Our staff worked with area retailers, including the Minnesota Retailers Association, for the last year to craft an

ordinance that would work for retailers and still accomplish the goal of reducing fraud in the city. The ordinance is quite simple and affects only third-party gift cards from Visa, American Express, and Master Card. These cards are frequently associated with fraud because they can be converted to cash quickly, the transactions are largely irreversible, and criminals can do this relatively anonymously. For that reason, we target only those gift cards. Under our ordinance: • retailers cannot sell third3

party gift cards at self-checkout kiosks • if a shopper wishes to load a gift card with a credit card, they must show a government issued photo ID that matches the name on the credit card

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• purchasing these cards with cash or a check is fine We know this will not eliminate fraud but it had simply become too easy for criminals to take gift cards and load them up using cloned or stolen credit cards. Many of the criminals doing this often hit several retailers across the state in a short period of time and then quickly wire the money out of the country. Our investigators then spend countless hours poring over records, working with victims and other agencies to try and hold these individuals accountable. This amounts to a significant drain on our resources. For those reasons, we proposed something new that we hope will make life more difficult for those who practice this type of fraud. These are also not victimless crimes. When a purse or bag is stolen, one of the first thing thieves do is take the credit cards and fraudulently buy up gift cards. If victims have auto pay set up on their cards, their payments may not go through or be declined. One victim who testified said she is still trying sort out everything weeks after the incident. Since we passed this ordinance, our agency has received several inquiries from other departments interested in possibly doing the same. I hope you will consider this as well. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have

Minnesota POST Board approves LEOSA Trainers, Inc. for 6 credits of law enforcement continuing education With nearly 300,000 Minnesota permit to carry holders, plus armed visitors from other states the likelihood that there may be some contact with lawfully armed citizens by law enforcement officers is greater today than ever before. There is an expectation that all law enforcement officers know the laws, but without training, that is unlikely. So, training is now available statewide. At the end of this training, participants will: 1. Be familiarized with training offered to citizens who desire a permit to carry 2. Have a better general understanding about armed citizens 3. Be familiar with Minnesota’s permit to carry law and laws related to the lawful carry and possession of firearms 4. Be familiar with citizens use of judicious force training 5. Be prepared to interact with lawfully armed citizens 6. Have successfully completed a live fire exercise 7. Be prepared to apply for a MN permit to carry 8. Receive a copy of the book the Minnesota Guide For Armed Citizen, a $34.95 value.

For more information or to schedule training contact

Gene German LEOSA Trainers, Inc.

612.388.2403 gene@leosatrainers.com 2500 Shadywood Road, Suite 100 | Orono, MN 55331


questions or if I can be of any help.


Problems Lying in Wait By Gordon Graham | Lexipol Co-founder

Editor’s Note: Gordon Graham appeared at ETI 2019 in St. Cloud This article is part of a series designed to introduce you to the concept of real risk management—an approach that goes way beyond a safety program to encompass the 10 Families of Risk and to demonstrate how better understanding these risk families can help you anticipate and mitigate the risks in your own organization. Gordon Graham here, and again, thanks for taking the time to read this brief piece. In my last article I introduced you to the breadth and depth of “real risk management” and why this discipline is much more than the “safety stuff.”

an entirely different way of thinking—a different bias, if you want to look at it that way. It is the constant battle of spending time and money up front to prevent problems from occurring. The alternative is spending much more time and resources after problems occur.

In this article, I want to further explain why too many government organizations—including the highrisk occupations involved in public safety in your communities—don’t take risk management seriously.

On my recommended reading list is a great book by two Harvard guys (Bazerman and Watkins), Predictable Surprises. The authors capture the essence of the problem with some thoughts on the shared traits of predictable surprises and why so many people in so many organizations ignore problems lying in wait.

When I say this in a live program, I often get some pushback: “What do you mean we don’t take it seriously?” My response to this is pretty simple: Let’s take a look at your city/county/state organizational chart. Where will I find risk management on your org chart? If risk management has its own box, I will be very surprised. And if it is near the top of the org chart, you can stop reading this piece right now because clearly your entity “gets it.” But too often I see risk management sharing a box with maintenance or human resources, someplace in the middle or lower levels of the organizational hierarchy. Here is a second test for you. Pick up your government phone directory and look for risk management. Again, if there is a dedicated risk manager in your entity, I will be surprised. And I guarantee you that you will have many more lawyers in your phone book than risk managers. Why am I boring you with this? Lawyers focus on fixing problems after they occur. Real risk managers focus on addressing problems before they occur. It is


Another great work along similar lines is Margaret Heffernan’s Willful Blindness. She lays out in great detail why so many people in so many organizations are aware of problems, yet they do not act, and again and again ignore problems lying in wait. We can do so much to thwart bad outcomes if we are committed to real risk management. And maybe this is just me, but I want this transition to real risk management to occur prior to some disastrous event. Here is a definition that I will be referencing throughout this series of articles. Webster takes a stab at defining risk as “the possibility of meeting danger or suffering a harm or loss, or exposure to harm or loss.” As a follow then: Risk management is any activity that involves the evaluation of or comparison of risks and the development, selection and implementation of control measures that change outcomes. Or more simply stated, risk management is the 5

process of looking into the future (short or long term), asking what can go wrong and then doing something to prevent it from going wrong. Remember RPM— Recognition, Prioritization, Mobilization. Last time, I gave you a brief overview of the 10 Families of Risk. In our next piece, I will tackle Family One, External Risks. Until then, please take a look at what we are trying to do at Lexipol to address the risks you face in public safety operations. Thanks for reading! Lexipol’s state-specific policies and training solutions help public safety leaders reduce risk and keep their personnel safe by improving policy access, understanding and compliance. Contact us today to find out more.

Gordon Graham is a 33-year veteran of law enforcement and the cofounder of Lexipol, where he serves on the current board of directors. Graham is a risk management expert and a practicing attorney who has presented a commonsense risk management approach to hundreds of thousands of public safety professionals around the world. Graham holds a master’s degree in Safety and Systems Management from University of Southern California and a Juris Doctorate from Western State University.







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Special Olympics of Minnesota Summer Events


Raising millions of dollars in three months is tough, no-matter what. Raising millions for an event where people jump into frozen lakes in the middle of winter is a job only for the determined. Once again, hundreds of committed law enforcement officers from across Minnesota recruited, fundraised and even took the Polar Plunge to support more than 8,000 Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN) athletes. The 2019 Plunge season took place in 21 locations with a new location in Mound and two new Cool School locations, Alexandria and Eden Prairie. 2020 events will kick-off before we know it, but between now and then there are plenty of ways to get involved.

JUNE 18-21, 2019


NOW THROUGH JULY 1 Final Leg T-Shirt and Hat Sales

Help bring the Flame of Hope to the Summer Games on June 21 AUGUST 7 Plane Pull Gather teams of 8 and pull a plane.

More information at

torchrun@somn.org MINNESOTA POLICE CHIEF

Minnesota police join Thomson Reuters’ Build-a-Bike event for a 7th year For a seventh year, police agencies from around Minnesota worked along Thomson Reuters employee volunteers at the company’s annual Build-a-Bike event. 100 Minnesota kids, most who do not have bikes of their own, will start out summer with a new set of wheels. Officers from nearly a dozen agencies including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Gaylord and Maplewood were joined by 300 employees at the Thomson Reuters Eagan campus. Erik’s Bike Shop provided safety checks. Each child who gets a bike will also receive a free helmet.



Profile for MN Chiefs of Police Assoc.

Minnesota Police Chief - Summer 2019 Online Edition  

A periodic publication from the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.

Minnesota Police Chief - Summer 2019 Online Edition  

A periodic publication from the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.