An officer's point of view
CANNON FALLS — The way Rosie Schluter sees it, everyone is curious what it would be like to wear a badge, carry a firearm, face danger and help protect society.
"There's a little bit of cop in all of us," said the rural Cannon Falls woman.
She's attended police academies locally because "it's interesting, it's part of our lives."
While police are such an important part of people's lives, there seemed to be a wall between citizens and officers, she said.
Schluter wanted to help break down that wall. So she helped form Triad-Cannon Falls Area Citizens and Law Enforcement Partnership.
She is now what Goodhue County Chief Deputy Scott McNurlin called the "propeller" driving the local group, which meets monthly in Cannon Falls to form a closer bond between citizens and police.
Triad is a national movement to bring law enforcement and citizens closer, to let them talk, learn from each other and help each other, he said.
Schluter coordinates the meetings at the Shepherd's Center near downtown, makes sure there's plenty of "cop food" (doughnuts and coffee) and takes pictures of each month's speakers to be on wanted posters promoting the next meeting.
Her group is the only one in Goodhue County. The next step is to set up in Pine Island, McNurlin said.
"We want to see how that goes but we'd like it to go countywide," he said.
Triad came to Cannon Falls about three years ago and has been a success, he said.
"We need to have strong relations with the community," he said. "There just aren't enough of us. … In today's world, we just can't do it all."
Triad members volunteer at various levels and capacities, such as working in the jail or in the horse posse.
The monthly meeting is a casual forum for officers and citizens to chat, eat doughnuts and exchange information.
"We are the eyes and ears of the community," Schluter said. "They are there to serve and protect, and we are there to help them."
Bob Rohl, of rural Kenyon, said he joined because his mother-in-law was the target of a scam that cost her $100,000.
"I wanted to make people aware that there were those kinds of operations out there," he said.
The first Triad speaker was on scams.
"This was really an eye opener for us," he said.
June's meeting featured former FBI agent Larry Brubaker, who wrote a book, "Pulling the Trigger," which describes the 110 times from 1981 through 2005 when law enforcement officer have killed someone.
He gave examples, talked about his findings, gave a lot of statistics and case studies. He talked for nearly two hours to the audience of 12, mostly senior citizens.
Schluter asked what citizens should do when they see a high-speed chase, such as those Brubaker showed on videos.
"Get over," he said.
"Are you always trained to shoot to kill?" another Triad member asked.
Because of the stress officers go through when pointing a firearm at someone, they can't just shoot for a leg or knock the gun out of a hand. They shoot for the main body mass to incapacitate the person, he said.
Through it, Travis Severson, of Cannon Falls, listened and learned about the split-second decisions officers have to make about pulling the trigger and how hard it can be.
He also learned he's not cut out for being a cop.
"Police work isn't for me, that's for sure," he said. "The thought of killing somebody, ugh, I don't think I could handle it."