In a ceremony held during the December 5th City Council Meeting, Wayzata Fire Department Chief Kevin Klapprich, alongside City Manager Jeff Dahl, officially swore in two new firefighters to the ranks. Chief Klapprich took the opportunity to introduce the community to these dedicated individuals who will be serving the city with commitment and valor.
Mason Meyers, a Minnetonka resident, took his oath of service with his wife Sunny and their 4-year-old daughter Eden by his side. Having grown up in Shakopee, Minnesota, Meyers brings over a decade of experience in building maintenance to the Wayzata Fire Department. Currently serving as the self-contained breathing apparatus apprentice technician at a fire equipment maintenance company, Mason finds joy in family time. His personal interests include rock climbing, triathlons, and embracing the great outdoors.
Connor Stepka, a native of New Prague, now proudly calls Wayzata home alongside his fiancée Casey. In addition to his role in the Wayzata Fire Department, Connor is also a member of the Excelsior Fire Department. Further showcasing his commitment to community well-being, he serves as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at North Memorial Ambulance, having graduated from Anoka Tech in September 2022. Connor shares a passion for warm-weather outdoor activities and cherishes spending time with family. He expressed his delight at being part of the Wayzata community.
The addition of these two accomplished individuals strengthens the firefighting force in Wayzata, ensuring the safety and well-being of the community. Residents look forward to benefiting from the skills and dedication that Mason Meyers and Connor bring to the city’s Fire Department.
Get ready for an exciting community event that promises fun, engagement with public safety personel, and a chance to connect with elected officials.
The highly-anticipated New City Showcase Event is just around the corner, set to take place on October 9 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. right outside Wayzata City Hall, located a 600 Rice Street.
Formerly known as Public Safety Day, this event has been revamped and expanded to offer an even more diverse range of activities and experiences for attendees of all ages. Whether you’re a long-time resident or new to the community, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Time-Honored Favorites Return
As always, the New City Showcase Event promises to deliver the kind of family-friendly entertainment that has made it a beloved tradition in Wayzata. Expect thrilling fire demonstrations that showcase the bravery of our local heroes, as well as the chance to bounce around in a fun-filled bounce house.
For those craving delicious treats, hot dogs will be sizzling on the grill, and talented artists will be on hand for face painting, adding a dash of color and whimsy to the event. Plus, don’t miss the captivating K9 police dog demonstrations, where you can witness the incredible skills of our four-legged protectors.
Exciting New Additions
This year, the New City Showcase Event is stepping up its game with several exciting additions that are sure to pique your interest:
1. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: Indulge in scrumptious cookies and refreshing cider provided by Wayzata Bar & Grill. It’s the perfect way to savor the flavors of our community.
2. Score Cool Prizes: Get your hands on fantastic giveaways, offering you a chance to take home some special goodies and souvenirs.
3. Thrilling Raffle: Here’s your golden ticket to adventure! Enter the raffle for a chance to ride in a fire truck or squad car, experiencing firsthand the excitement of our first responders’ world.
4. Touch-a-Truck Extravaganza: Ever wondered what it’s like behind the wheel of a fire truck or squad car? Curious about the machinery used by our public works team? This year’s event includes a “Touch-a-Truck” experience, where you can explore fire trucks, squad cars, public works equipment, and more up close.
5. State of the City Address: Gain insights into the future of our great city. Mayor Mouton will deliver the State of the City Address, shedding light on our community’s progress and future endeavors.
The New City Showcase Event is an ideal opportunity to celebrate the spirit of Wayzata, connect with your fellow residents, and learn more about the services and people that make our community thrive.
Mark your calendars for October 9, and make your way to Wayzata City Hall from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for an unforgettable afternoon of entertainment, education, and community spirit. We look forward to seeing you there!
Mark your calendars for an evening of camaraderie, safety, and community spirit as the Wayzata Crime Prevention Coalition, Wayzata Police, Fire Department, City staff, elected officials, and the beloved McGruff, Crime Coalition Mascot, gear up for the highly anticipated National Night Out event in Wayzata.
On August 1st, from 5:15 to 8:30 p.m., this annual event promises to bring neighborhoods in Wayzata and Long Lake together in a show of unity and crime prevention.
During the event, police cars and fire trucks will embark on a journey, visiting neighborhood parties throughout the area. This heartwarming tradition allows residents to interact with local heroes, including police officers, firefighters, and city staff.
The presence of elected officials will also provide an excellent opportunity for citizens to engage in open dialogue and have their questions answered on various community matters.
One of the highlights of National Night Out is the crime prevention message shared at each stop. Demonstrating their commitment to safeguarding the community, authorities will impart essential tips and strategies to help residents remain vigilant against potential threats.
The occasion also offers residents a chance to step out of their homes, meet new neighbors, and reconnect with familiar faces. Building strong ties within the community is vital to promoting a sense of security and encouraging the proactive reporting of suspicious activities.
The event has been highly anticipated by both residents and public servants, reflecting the shared commitment to maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all. As a symbol of unity, National Night Out emphasizes the significance of community cooperation in deterring crime and bolstering public safety efforts.
Neighbors and families are encouraged to participate in the festivities, reaffirming their dedication to building a safer, more closely-knit community. Together, they can make a positive impact, contributing to the overall well-being and security of Wayzata and Long Lake.
For more information and details about National Night Out, interested parties can visit the official website of the Wayzata City or contact the Wayzata Police Department directly. Let us come together and celebrate the spirit of togetherness, making our neighborhoods safer, one step at a time.
Annual Safety Luncheon at Wayzata Country Club
The Wayzata Area Chamber is extending an open invitation to the community for a noteworthy luncheon event, spotlighting critical issues of public safety and crime prevention. Scheduled to take place at [venue name] on [date], this event promises to be an enlightening and informative gathering for all attendees.
Heading the discussions will be Wayzata’s esteemed Police Chief, Marc Schultz, who will expertly moderate a panel discussion featuring distinguished guests from the realm of law enforcement.
Among them, Drew Evans, Superintendent at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, will bring his extensive experience to the table. Joining him will be Tony Ofstead, the Director/Chief Law Enforcement Officer at the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau, renowned for his expertise in combating fraud-related offenses.
Lastly, the event will host Rose Lee, the accomplished Financial Crimes Team Manager, known for her successful efforts in tackling financial crimes within the region.The panelists are expected to delve into pressing matters concerning public safety and share valuable insights into effective crime prevention strategies.
Attendees will have the rare opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge from these prominent figures in law enforcement, fostering a better understanding of the challenges faced in maintaining safety and security in the Wayzata area.Adding to the significance of the luncheon, the program will also feature a special segment dedicated to honoring the recipient of the Jim Fish Citizen Crime Prevention Award.
The Wayzata Area Chamber urges all concerned citizens, community leaders, and local businesses to participate actively in this remarkable event. By fostering dialogue and collaboration, the luncheon aims to strengthen the collective resolve to combat crime and maintain the well-being of the community.
Seats are limited, and those interested in attending are encouraged to reserve their spot early. The event promises to be a remarkable convergence of expertise and shared commitment to enhancing public safety.For registration and further details, please visit the Wayzata Area Chamber website at WayzataChamber.com or contact them directly at 952-473-9595.
First responders and law enforcement officers are difficult to come by in 2022 with fewer recruits and more competition between departments.
Wayzata is experiencing this just like the rest of the nation, with the fire and police departments needing to be creative to meet the needs of the community. Meanwhile budget demands weigh heavy and the landscape of public safety continues to evolve.
Fire Chief Kevin Klapprich and Police Chief Marc Schultz discussed the challenges their departments are faced with and what they are doing to keep Wayzata safe.
Chief Schultz has heard of the perception that crime is on the rise in Wayzata. While there has been an uptick in certain types of incidents across the state, Wayzata remains on par with where it has been in recent years.
Traffic complaints were among the categories to see the most significant increase in 2022. This can be attributed with more construction finishing, the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic easing and the Panoway attracting more visitors. Some may believe the Panoway is a catalyst for driving overall criminal incidents upward, but Schultz said that would be oversimplifying the facts.
“To attribute that to the Panoway is a bit unfair,” he said. “I don’t think we can attribute it to just one thing. It’s bringing a lot of people who may not have visited us before to our town. A lot of different elements changed at the same time.”
Schultz referred to the pandemic keeping people isolated from each other and inspiring more outdoor seating at restaurants. Meanwhile the nationwide turmoil stemming from the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis may have encouraged people to seek activities outside of Minnesota’s most populous city.
Graffiti, property damage and thefts from vehicles were also among the more notable upward trends in calls, along with some vehicle thefts. Violent crimes, including carjackings which have become more prevalent in the Minneapolis metro were largely not seen in Wayzata though.
“In a lot of the perceptions that the public sees is what they see in the media,” Schultz said. “It doesn’t mean we’re immune to those trends. Those are indicators that trends are changing and we certainly have to deal with that.”
The police department is currently staffed with 15 sworn officers. Increased traffic, particularly from visitors, puts an added strain on the officers on duty. They cannot be everywhere at once as Schultz notes. That is why the department is constantly looking into new ways of policing. Not as a replacement for boots on the ground, but to enhance its ability to cover the community.
Automated license plate readers
One of those force multipliers is a newly implemented system of automated license plate readers. A pilot program in Wayzata started in just the last two weeks with the installation of readers which capture still images of license plates, automatically reporting if a vehicle law enforcement is looking for, such as a stolen vehicle or an owner with a warrant, enters Wayzata. Officers will be immediately notified if such a vehicle passes by the reader. This information can also be shared with other departments within the system.
Schultz said the system has already proven useful.
“We had a catalytic converter stolen off a car in broad daylight last week,” he said. “We got a still photo of the suspect vehicle and that has helped the investigation.”
The investigation is still open but the results are encouraging so far. Schultz hopes to see more readers installed by the end of the year.
Wayzata’s K9 unit
Speaking of force multipliers, the force added a K-9 unit this earlier this year. Loki, the K-9 officer, has proven to be more trustworthy than his namesake, giving the department an additional officer.
“If you have an officer responding to a scene and that officer is a K-9 unit, now you have two officers for some extra backup,” Schultz said. “That also allows us to help neighboring agencies if they need assistance.”
Police Department is a full time union shop
The chief looks forward to adding more officers to his roster after the council approves funding for more positions for 2023. The council is expected to move on this item by the end of the year. Once positions are opened up, Schultz know the challenge is only beginning.
“Gone are the days where we can just sit back and have applicants come to us,” he said. “We’re going out to state and regional career fairs. We’re reaching out to folks and not being so reactive to hiring opportunities. We want to be proactive. I liken it to the NCAA football recruiting style. We want to invest in them right away.”
Officers will be paid about $31 to $42 per hour in 2023 with market adjustments of 3 percent scheduled for the following years through 2025. They are hired as part of the Minnesota Labor Union.
Short fire crew
To put it simply, the Wayzata Fire Department is short on firefighters. This tracks with departments nationwide, but the department needs more firefighters and more support overall.
There are 23 firefighters in the department which is seven short of being fully staffed. Chief Klapprich estimates it has been about 10 years since the department has had a full staff and even then there may have been an opening.
Klapprich has been with the department for 44 years. His father Paul, who also served as chief, was in the department for 49 years. Kurt Klapprich, the chief’s brother, is an assistant chief and has been with the department for 40 years.
Needless to say, the Klapprich family has been instrumental in keeping the Wayzata Fire Department going and consequently keeping the community safe. Yet, due to budget constraints at the city level, Klapprich has not been hired as a full-time fire chief. You will not hear him complain. In fact, he said he feels lucky to work for the people he does.
“I don’t want trouble between the firemen and their boss,” he said. “All I can do is give them the info on ‘Here’s what I’m spending.’”
“At some point they’re not going to have a choice,” Klapprich added, referring to the decision to hire a full-time fire chief. I’m not saying I will see it. You might not see it. Personally, I think at some point there are going to have to be duty crews. It might go as far as full-time people.”
The chief reported he spends an average of 26 hours on administration per week, which does not include responding to fires, training or holding meetings.
“That 26 hours is basically keeping us floating,” he said. “With a full-time guy here there’d be a number of other things that could happen.”
Deputy City Manager Aurora Yager confirmed during a city council workshop that those hours are “just to meet the basic administrative and management duties of the position.” She also explained the need for a full-time fire chief as recommended by a 2021 department study.
Klapprich understands firefighting is a major commitment and the commitment to training might be daunting for some. The first year is the hardest in terms of training and getting up to speed. Beyond that, firefighters continue to train weekly.
Part time but on duty 24/7/365
The commitment goes beyond what happens in the fire station or on scene. Wayzata’s firefighters leave their jobs and families to respond to calls. They are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year, including holidays.
The department responds to about 370 calls per year, many of which last at least a few hours. Chief Klapprich is usually at every call, and at least 9 people will respond to a call and often up to 12. That means half of the department is tied up with a call. Firefighters occasionally have overlapping calls as well, meaning they are called to another incident while already responding to something.
Klapprich said the department is getting the job done right now, but he understands how fragile the situation could be. There are as many as five firefighters who are eligible to retire with full pensions at any time. He has one person on military leave and another on medical leave.
Fire Department is part time & not union
Firefighter benefits, as described on the city’s official website, include a wage of $12 per hour for responding to calls, training and meetings. They receive a pension which pays out at a lump sum at the minimum age of 50 and a $15,000 basic life insurance policy, which the city pays for.
With a fully staffed fire department, Klapprich could see another two fire trucks hitting the streets for a call, increasing the speed at which a fire is quelled and the overall reach of the department should multiple incidents happen concurrently. The fire department does not have a union at this time.
New ladder truck on order
Speaking of fire trucks, the city council approved a purchase agreement with MacQueen Emergency for a new ladder truck on Nov. 1. The current ladder truck in use has been with the department since about 2003. According to Klapprich, the department has been seeking a new ladder truck for at least five years.
The ladder truck is a crucial component to effectively fighting a fire. It increases the speed at which firefighters can douse a fire with gallons of water by about four times, Klapprich said. Additionally water can be sprayed from above which can be more advantageous in some situations.
The estimated cost for a new ladder truck is about $1.5 million.
Even with the purchase agreement in place, Klapprich expects it to be another two years or more before the new ladder truck is here, due to waiting lists in the aftermath of supply shortages.
Tuesday evening marks the 40th annual crime prevention event in Wayzata
On Tuesday, August 2nd 2022 the Wayzata Crime Prevention Coaltion, the City of Wayzata, the Wayzata Police Department and the Wayzata Fire Department will join together with Wayzata residents to celebrate Night to Unite.
Night to Unite Luncheon
Per usual custom, the festivities will kick off at the Wayzata Country Club as the Wayzata Chamber hosts the annual Night to Unite luncheon in conjunction with the Wayzata Rotary Club.
Wayzata Police Chief Marc Schultz will provide an inside look at the department and highlight some of the most significant and bizzarre cases investigated within the past two years during a presentation that will follow lunch.
Block parties from 5:15 – 8:30
Later in the day, Wayzata Police, Wayzata Fire, City staff, elected officials and McGruff the Crime Dog will visit two dozen neighborhood parties throughout Wayzata and Long Lake via public safety vehicles including squad cars and fire trucks.
Public safety officials and typically a Wayzata City Council member will make a brief crime prevention speech at each stop.
Each block captain and host has his or her favorite ways to provide food and beverage. This can include a potluck, bring your own, or neighbors collect money to purchase food and beverage.
Children will receive S.W.A.G from Wayzata Police and Fire officials, and will be able to investigate fire trucks and squad cars.
The present Night to Unite concept replaced National Night Out in 2008. The concept was similar to National Night Out, however Night to Unite is endorsed locally by the Minnesota Crime Prevention Association.
Fore more information, call the Wayzata Police Department at 952-404-5340.
The Second Call of the Wayzata Volunteer Fire Department wishes to invite you to our annual meeting of the members on Monday May, 16th at 6:30 pm at the Wayza ta Fire Station. Chief Kevin Kl apprich and all of the volunteer fire fi ghters who so honorably serve our community will be on hand to meet you. There will be an introduction of new members (we hope many) and a brief recap of the past year of fire calls and rescues.
As the Second Call has done for many years, we encourage your attendance and ask you to he lp identify potential new members of the Second Call. Our membership categories remain $1,000 for a one time life time membership, $100 for a family membership, $50 for a business membership and $25 for an individual membership. This is the largest fundraiser of the year and we ask that you contribute to the wonderful volunteer team of firefighters, and we ask you to twist the arms of your friends and neighbors to encourage more citizens to become members.
I am a firm believer that every citizen of Wayzata should support this cause. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, our fire fighters are ready to come to your house, apartm ent, or business to stop a fire. They are ready and are o llen the first to respond to any emergency or accident. They are there to take care of you. The proceeds that we raise from the Second Call membership program are used to purchase equipment the fire fighters need, helps pay for training, and promotes safety for our volunteers.
Please give generously, attend the meeting, and help us reach out to the community to encourage each and every person to support the Second Call. The meeting will be fun , and offers a ride up in the 100 foot tall ladder boom to see the best view of Lake Minnetonka. Most importantly, come pay respect to our volunteer fire fighters who do such a great job protecting every Wayzata citizen. See you on the 16th.
Wayzata’s Second Call Fire Department was formed in 1934 to help morally, as well as financially, the Wayzata Fire Department. Today, the money donated from this organization is used primarily for unbudgeted fire equipment. Thanks to supporters in the Second Call Department, the Fire Department was able to purchase special equipment to respond to emergencies.
In 2015, a Lucas C.P.R. machine was purchased with funds from the Second Call Fire Department. The Wayzata Fire Department would like to thank you at the Annual Second Call meeting taking place on Monday, May 16 at 6:45 p.m. at the Wayzata Fire Station. Fire Chief Kevin Klapprich and volunteer firefighters will be there to greet attendees and answer questions. If you are interested in joining or would like more information, contact 952-404-5337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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