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Minnesota National Guard
MPD Sgt. Blackwell: 'We're human, we have hearts, we care about people'

Minnesota National Guard MINNEAPOLIS, Minn(KMSP)- Talking with Minneapolis police Sgt Katie Blackwell, it's clear she truly cares about her job and the people who live and work in the first precinctWhen a man was sexually assaulting women in Ramp C downtown last week Sgt Blackwell took it personally, making his arrest a top priority The suspect was in custody within 48 hours

"We just won't tolerate predators walking through our city and our communities, so yeah, I took it pretty personally," Sgt Blackwell said

To understand why she cares so much, one has to know where she's coming from, and it's quite a story She grew up one of 10 kids in northeast Minneapolis, something Sgt Blackwell says helps her connect with her community

"When you put yourself in their shoes, or like, I understand what it's like to come from poverty, and then I grew up in the inner city, and I moved around a lot," she said

Sgt Blackwell joined the Minnesota National Guard when she was 17 as a convoy commander in Iraq, and she was also in charge of the scout vehicle She earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star leading her unit through danger; her convoy was blown up three times She ended up surviving a head and leg injury

"I put my flashlight down on my leg and asked them to look at my leg to make sure it was still there He said it was," she remembered

Back here at home with the Minneapolis Police Department, she has won numerous awards A commendation in 2010 for chasing down the Powderhorn rape suspect right as he was ready to attack again She has won two lifesaving awards, two more commendations for chasing down robbery suspects, and with a bow and arrow pointed right at her, she talked a man out of shooting her so she didn't have to shoot him She's also the leader of the negotiation team However, one of the especially important roles she's taken on is teaching fellow cops how to respond when they encounter veterans

"Their survival instincts kick in because they're in crisis, and we, as police officers, surround them and you know, they're trained to fight, so teaching officers how to de-escalate the situation and how to come up peacefully instead of ramping them up," she explained

Back out on the beat, Sgt Blackwell is quick to talk about the good work of her team She may be the leader, but she says success is all teamwork

"We wear bulletproof vests, but we're not bulletproof We're human, we have hearts, we care about people," she said "I love that for one minute you can be handing out baseball cards to kids And then you might be chasing down a criminal and putting them away, you might be consoling a victim"

October 15, 2014
Karen Scullin
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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

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Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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