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Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Fest 2011 enforcement upsets Long Lake Council Members

Long Lake Council Members Tom Skjaret and
Donny Chillstrom indicate they are upset over
enforcement of a liquor permit at Summer Fest 2011.
When the Long Lake City Council invited Police Chief Mike Risvold to address the group on routine business in July, they didn’t anticipate a confrontation over Summer Fest enforcement.

The way the Wayzata Police Department closed the adult beverage tent was upsetting to two Long Lake City Council members, Tom Skjaret and Donny Chillstrom. The pair complained that an officer on duty had been rude to them at Summerfest.

The connecting factor behind the cities of Long Lake and Wayzata is the Wayzata Police Department contract. Wayzata PD has been under contract to provide services to Long Lake since the beginning of the year.

Beer sales did not cease

The City of Long Lake granted a permit to the Long Lake Lions that allowed the sale of beer until 11 PM at Summer Fest. When the clock struck eleven, Long Lake Lions who are Council Council Members
(Skjaret and Chillstrom) drug their feet wrapping up the beer sales. Wayzata Police Officers enforced the permit, and were forceful in seeking compliance with the law. Days later at the Long Lake City Meeting, it appeared Skjaret and Chillstrom were still smarting from the rebuff that had occurred.

Council members upset

Tom Skjaret indicated in the July 5th Council Meeting , “...we may have been in the wrong for continuing to serve beer, but the attitude of the officer to me was unacceptable. In fact, that gentleman was downright rude to my wife. He did not apologize when he was given the opportunity, in fact the man looked at me like I was an idiot and he walked away when I asked him to apologize for whistling at my wife.
I'm only going to say this once, I will not stand for that ever again. I was very, very upset, my wife was very upset, the officer, like I said, was downright rude. You are not hearing me chief. He was rude. We don't need that.”

“I'm hearing you,” Risvold answered, “Perhaps you and I can talk about the specifics of that [in private].”

There was confusion for Skjaret on the guidelines of what the permit stated. He thought that sales of beer were allowed until 1 AM. Fellow council members explained to Sjkaret the permit guidelines had been in the book they had received and said sales would stop at 11 PM. Even though Skjaret was corrected, he insisted that the permit stated otherwise.

Council Member Chillstrom commented on the officers actions, “What I saw was the one officer just really didn't wanna be there, was the attitude that I got. I said something to him, and he said, if you wan't special treatment, there is going to have to be extra overtime. I don't know if he was supposed to be done at eleven o'clock and outta there, or...”

Council member Liz Olson defended Wayzata PD, “I think the officers were frustrated that we were selling beer past the time listed in then permit. You can't blame the police for doing their job.”

Long Lake City Administrator Terrance Post indicated, “It was kind of surprising...everybody was kind of taken aback,” When Chief of Wayzata Police Department, Mike Risvold, took the floor-he addressed the community on events that had occurred in the city like normal. “The issue was complete news to me and took me by surprise. I couldn’t understand what the issue was...it is pretty black and white,” Post stated in a telephone interview.

Post continued, “I guess my reaction was that some of the comments were very personal in nature and kind of inappropriate for the public meeting,” After the second altercation from the meeting, Post personally apologized to Risvold the following Wednesday morning. He said,” I apologized on behalf of the whole incident and thought it was kind of inappropriate.”

Prior to these events there had been no record of any tense feelings between the city of Long Lake and their newly contracted police department. Post described the relationship as very solid.

When Chief of Wayzata Police Mike Risvold responded to the Council, he appeared to have a positive attitude about the future and laying out guidelines ahead of time. He recommended a face to face meeting prior to any future events. “We will have no issues going forward.”

What is your take on the events?  Did the Council Members overstep their bounds thinking they were above the law?  Does a Police officer have to be polite when enforcing a law?  Let us know in the comments box.

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