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Queen Anne Kiddieland - the Valley Fair of the 50's.232 viewsLocated in the Bloomington/Edina area, this was the Valley Fair of the 1950s.
Police Department history Crnobrna 1988231 viewsBack to the Future
Mike Crnobrna 06/10/88

I firmly believe that basic training in any organization should include a history of that organization. Here are a few facts about the Burnsville Police Department taken from my
perspective as a former Burnsville Officer. After you read it, I would encourage you to quiz others more senior to the Burnsville experience than yourself for their perspective as well.
In August of 1961, Bloomington decided to annex the NSP Blackdog electrical generating plant and obtain the revenue that would go with it. If the 2,700 citizens of Burnsville wanted to keep it, they would have to organize to fight for it. The Village of Burnsville was incorporated in July of 1964. Incorporation would have come eventually with the post World War II suburban push. Bloomington just helped usher it in a little sooner. Burnsville itself was born out of controversy. The future police and fire service would also be marked by controversy and a pension for the radical and non-conforming.
With the growth of the young village, the need for police service grew. The early law enforcement tasks were in the hands of a number of elected constables over the years, including former Public Works Supervisor Ed Giles. In July of 1964, the Council hired former Minneapolis Police Inspector Edward Farrell to start a Burnsville Police Department. Farrell held a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota and had been in charge of police training in Minneapolis prior to taking the position of Chief in Burnsville. He would take the department from its infancy as a Police Department to its infancy as a Public Safety Department.
The first police station was in a building on the site of Ames Construction on County Road 5, but by November, 1964, it was moved to the dental building on County Road 34 near County Road 5. It then moved to 1313 East Highway 13, where it occupied the east side of the City Hall building. The current police station was not built until 1976. By the end of 1965, a total of ten officers had been hired. They had short haircuts, black and white squad cars, and brown uniforms. Stories of those early years, such as die great flood of 1965, or how Paul Anselmin thwarted the getaway of the Faribault armed robbers, would be passed on to the many rookies who were to follow those original ten.

You might take the fact for granted that the City has its own highly skilled paramedic ambulance service today, but until the early 70s, Allen's Towing Service was also the ambulance service! You had to specify which kind of body needed to be hauled: vehicular or human.

THE McINNIS YEARS: Totally Consolidated Public Safety
In June, 1965, the Village hired a manager by the name of Patrick Mclnnis who developed some rather different ideas of how a Police Department should look and operate. Fire protection was a growing problem in this young community. The fire protection of those early days was provided by contract with the Savage Volunteer Fire Department. River Hills residents actually wanted to contract to the Eagan Volunteer Fire Department. The need for a change in the fire protection system was there. Why not have the Police Officers do the firefighting? They are at the fire scene anyway! In 1968, the Burnsville Police Department became what is known as a totally consolidated Public Safety Department, with all officers cross-trained as both Police Officers and Firefighters. The Burnsville Police Officers became Burnsville Public Safety Officers (PSOs). In a newspaper article of that time, Mclnnis stated it was an "experiment".

Get them out of those brown military uniforms! Put them in business suits! Well,okay, maybe business suits are a little too radical. How about blazers? Dark blue blazers? So it was. by June, 1969, the official uniform of the Burnsville Department of Public Safety (BDPS) was a blue blazer or "blue bag" as some of the former Burnsville Police Officers referred to it. The pants were French blue! The shirt and ties? Well, whatever met your personal sartorial fancy. I personally preferred the Steve McQueen "Bullet" look, with a dark turtleneck and shoulder holster. The standard issue weapon was a 2^-inch .357 magnum with a drop pouch of six extra rounds on the belt. The handcuffs were looped through the same belt in the back. Long hair and beards became acceptable with this non-military uniform. At the time,this was considered very radical for a street cop.

There were no educational requirements for Minnesota law enforcement officers until 1978. An officer was hired and sent to the BCA for two months of basic training. In 1969, Pat Mclnnis was ahead of the times in that respect. To be hired as a Public Safety Officer,a candidate had to have a four-year college degree; the major was not specified as long as it was a Bachelors Degree.

The police/fire combination, the blazers, and the four-year degree, were the trademarks ofthe old Burnsville Department of Public Safety. Radical and in tune with the times. Each of these trademarks were eventually abandoned.

There is a long list of former employees of the Burnsville Public Safety/Police Department. Many people had varying degrees of influence on what eventually became the modem Burnsville Police Department. Nobody had more of a dramatic effect in those early years than Dave Couper. Public Safety Director Ed Farrell died at the age of 59, in December, 1968. In March, 1969, Mclnnis hired Couper, who was 30 years old at the time, as the new Director. Like Farrell, Couper came from the Minneapolis Police Department. He had a Masters Degree in Sociology and was an energetic and charismatic leader of ideas and action—with the actions usually following the ideas rather quickly.

Change became a way of life for the PSOs under Couper. He also set a philosophical tone for the department. Recruiting efforts referred to "joining the Domestic Peace Corps" and the
"new breed"of officer. The idea of an officer being both a law enforcer and a social service agent was instilled in each rookie. The humanitarian and public relations aspects of the job were emphasized. Discounts and gratuities of any kind were unacceptable. At the end of 1972, he departed to become the Chief of Police in Madison, Wisconsin, the position in which he still serves. Twenty-eight year old Michael DuMoulin, one of the ten original Burnsville Police Officers, replaced him as the Director of Public Safety. Couper's influence was apparent and spoken of often when I started in 1973. That influence is apparent to me today, even though some of the new officers might net even recognize his name.

During my first interview with Pat Mclnnis, he explained that under "his" Public Safety System, officers are "trained to leave". (Ask me about my second interview with him some time.) What he was talked about was the stance on education and training he had taken in regard to "his" PSOs and the reputation that the department had gained. At that time, college educated cops with street and management experience were in demand for executive jobs in other police departments. During that era, Burnsville was producing Chiefs at an impressive rate for a department of its size. There was an assumption that most PSOs would leave Burnsville's management training program probably within five years. That was 1973. By the close of the '70s, that Chief production would taper off. Like the new manufacturing business, the market changed. In this case, so did the factory.

Burnsville employees who were not here at some point during the genesis of the unions may have heard something about those series of events during the late 70s. The sides polarized. The lines were drawn. It was "good guys" against "bad guys". Unions do not spring from ethereal nothingness. Changes were taking place that made unionization inevitable. Changes were taking place in the country, in law enforcement, in the fire service, in the expectations that BDPS employees had of management,and in the political realities of Burnsville. The Burnsville Department of Public Safety had reached puberty. Two main characters in the drama collided. Union President Tom Van Hoofand City Manager Pat Mclnnis faced off head-to-head during a City Council meeting. Van Hoofwas fired only to be later reinstated by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Mclnnis resigned. The events surrounding unionization could either make excellent material for a doctoral thesis or keep a soap opera on television for years. By the beginning of the 1980s, a now very different Public Safety Department emerged. There was massive turnover. Some of the changes were:

A) Blazers Out Military Uniforms Back In:

September 1, 1977, on Dog Watch, everyone turned blue. Most Patrol Officers had never worked in police uniforms. It was like watching kids with new toys. The blazer was a vestige from another era. During the '60s war protest era when the term "pig" was used to refer to cops, it made sense. A new approach was needed back then. And in a young suburban community like Burnsville it worked. But the times had changed. Also, the original PSO equipment had expanded from those few original bare essentials to gun belts, handheld radios, speed loaders, flashlights, night sticks and other paraphernalia, until the equipment rivaled Batman's utility belt. The blazer started to look like a circus tent on even the most ectomorphic PSO.
Officer identification was also becoming more of a problem. Any old PSO and his/her story of the identification problem. Mine is the man-with-a-gun call at Howard Johnson's (now called the Burnsville Royale), where the desk clerk asked me, "Do you have reservations?", thinking that I was a perspective guest. Then there was the famous Embers brawl where at least three PSOs were in a pile of battling humanity on the restaurant floor. An excited bystander suggested that somebody should call the cops. The city was bigger and busier. The identification problem helped usher in the end of the blazer.
The first uniforms had no patches. That was a later addition. Officers were polled as to their preferences on the exact style and color of the uniform. That original design developed into the award winning ensemble of today.

B) Military Rank Terminology Back In:
From CSO, PSO, PSOII, Agent, PSS, PPS II, and NSOIC, the rank terminology changed to Corporal (for Sergeant) and Sergeant (for Lieutenant). The term Captain was used on Fire shifts. The Corporal rank was later dropped.

C) Full-Time Dispatchers Were Hired to Replace CSOs:
CSO, or Community Service Officers, were college students working on their degrees so that they could become PSOs. They had been doing the dispatching since 1969. Dakota County originally dispatched Burnsville units. A few CSOs actually worked in marked patrol cars and were not armed.

D) 24-Hour On-Duty Fire Suppression Shifts:
Firefighting personnel came from squads, where fire turnout gear was carried in the trunk, or from off-duty response. For a time, off-duty response was mandatory for all calls, no matter how minor. CSOs would drive the trucks to the scene.

E) Overtime Pay. Court Time Pay. Fire Call-Out Pav:
Prior to unionization, all sworn personnel were considered straight salaried "professionals". Many long hours were spent at fires, in court, on investigations, and on extended shifts with no extra compensation or time off. In the early 70s, the average age of the department was about 24 years old, with many unmarried or married/childless PSOs. Ambitious young officers did this without extra compensation because they were being "trained to leave". The times and personal situations changed. The promotional "carrot" was not enough any more.

F) Four-Year College Degree Requirement Was Dropped:
The State of Minnesota began requiring two years of education in 1978. Requiring more education was considered discrimination.

G) Separation Of The Fire And Police Services:
This had been a core issue since Public Safety started in 1968. On November 29, 1981, the great "experiment" was over. You may have heard of those who still have their "chip" or "wooden nickel"; this refers to the option to return to the opposite service that you chose in 1981. A Police Officer could return to the fire service, or a Firefighter could return to the police service, but only one time. Some people used their chip; others gave it up; some still hold it today. Speak to those who were there on both sides of the unionization conflict. The difference in perspective is comical.

It took a while to get use to the idea of new employees coming in to do one job, not both police and fire. This may sound strange to those who never experienced the Public Safety days. It just seemed odd at first. But now a separate Police Department is as common and as a matter of fact as Public Safety once was. It's fun to hear the rumors still surface about the reported return to totally consolidated Public Safety. In comparison, the odds o f that happening would have made the Twins look like a sure thing to win the World Series in the Spring of 1987.

I believe the modem Burnsville Police Department is an organization that you can truly be proud to be a part of. It has a strong tradition of humanitarian service to the public and has always lived up to the PRIDE slogan celebrated by die City. The excellent cooperation with the Fire Department that you will experience as a Burnsville Police Officer today is a legacy left to you from the Public Safety era.
I hope this tour of the past has given you some idea of how the Police Department developed. The department in both of its forms has been a very important part of my life and has taught me a great deal. I enjoy talking about it and can probably bore any interested party to slumber in no time. Stop by the Fire Department training room if you would like me to elaborate on the subject. I wish the best of luck to you and hope that you enjoy your career development in Burnsville.
—Michael Cmobma
Oxboro Theatre 1950s also known as the Studio 97228 viewsThe theatre was located near the intersection of 98th Street and Lynadale in Bloomington. In the past this area was the unincorporated town of Oxboro, dating from the 1850s. The Oxborough family from Canada built a trading post called Oxboro Heath on what is now Clover Center. Meanwhile Bloomington was a stagecoach stop at Nine Mile Creek, and there was another settlement at Old Shakopee Road and Old Cedar. These all eventually got absorbed into the city of Bloomington. For some in Burnsville, during the 1950's Oxboro offered a drug store, dentist, the Walsh's Grocery store and this movie theatre.
Burnsville Center 2017228 viewsOur website contains random photos of the Burnsville Center when it opened in 1977. Forty years later, 2017 random shots were taken by the Historical Society. Shown Applebee's, which displays class historic photos of Burnsville.
Burnsville Center228 viewsTalent Show at the Burnsville Center features the High Steppers. August 31, 1977 Burnsville Current.
Burnsville Center 1977227 viewsThe grand opening of Burnsville Center is set for summer 1977. This retail environment with four major department stores and 150 shops will be one of the largest and most dynamic shopping centers in the rapidly growing southern suburbs of Minneapolis and the entire region south and west of the metropolis.
Burnsville Center 1977227 viewsMayor Pete Ochsner at the opening of the movie theatre inside the Burnsville Center. November 1, 1977 Burnsville Current photo.
Burnsville Center stores227 views2014 - Halloween Express offers Halloween options. Photo compliments of the Burnsville Center.
WK-2H-136226 views
Interior Burnsville Center Mall 2016226 viewsPortions of the food court and various levels of the Mall, located on Co. Rd. 42 are shown in this photo.
A band at the Burnsville Bowl 1979226 viewsEntertainment, music and dance at the Burnsville Bowl.
Burnsville Women around haystack226 viewsChristine Gerdesmeirer, Maye Fahey, Edna O'Brian, Margaret Hayes,Helen Kelleher and Clara Kearney. Burnsville Farm during WWII.

haystack wwII
Lucky Twin Drive-In Theater225 viewsOpen All Winter Electric Heaters Installed 1962. Opening year of theatre 1955.
Old Cedar Avenue Bridge 1977224 viewsThe old Cedar Avenue Bridge in 1977 To cross the river from Bloomington, one went over the 5-trestle bridge on Long Meadow Lake, then this one. It could pivot open to let tall river traffic through. It was narrower than the other bridge which has been restored
Billy Goat Bridge224 viewsAnother view of Burnsville's classic Billy Goat Bridge.
Cliff Road 224 viewsLooking East, Pepsi is shown in Center of photo.
Burnsville Center elevator 1980s view 2224 viewsAnother view of the 1980s elevator at the Mall, including the clock. Photo compliments of the Burnsville Center.
Metropolitan Stadium223 viewsLocated on Cedar Avenue, now the Mall of America, the Metropolitan Stadium was the home of the Twins and Vikings.
Buck Hill 1954222 viewsAn early photo of Buck Hill ski area. Founded by Chuck and Nancy Stone in 1954, the big bump was a family business until 2016. This tiny hill was the site of internationally recognized training for racing. Among those who trained here was Olympic and World Cup Champion Lindsey Vonn.
GAP KIDS Burnsville Center 1980s222 viewsGAP KIDS was once located in the Center. Photo compliments of the Burnsville Center.
WN-9-797221 viewsCentered on Judicial Road, Minneapolis and Northfield RR
Billy Goat Bridge221 viewsAnother view of the classic Billy Goat Bridge.
Feb. 2015 Burnsville Historical Society Newsletter220 viewsThis issue includes: Flooded with memories - the 1965 Flood.
There once was a farm - an interview with life long resident Eldon Kohls and a listing of Board of Directors: Jeff Jerde -president, Len Nachman - Vice President, Bonnie Boberg - Secretary, Kevin Swanson- Treasurer and Trustees - Peter Jerde, Marcia Marshall, Gordan Nambuduripad, JoAn Paymar and Carrie Corson Webb.
Indian Burial Ground once located in (North) River Hills 1963220 viewsIn 1963 The Science Museum of Minnesota excavated a burial site along the river bluffs across the river from the Black Dog power plant to the south of the Black Dog Village site. The location was the River Hills housing development—a development designed to contain at least 1,000 homes—in Burnsville, the next township south of Eagan along the Minnesota River. The first evidence of human remains was uncovered by a bulldozer operator who was grading the site. Over eleven days seven burial pits containing what were estimated at the time to be at least 56 human beings were excavated. Many of these were bundle burials dating to thousands of years ago. Later work by anthropologist Marcia Regan in a 1990 report estimated that the remains of 36 individuals were included in what was found at the River Hills site.
Cedarvale Mall 1978220 viewsWhen Cedarvale first opened in Eagan it provided nearby grocery, drug and hardware stores for those living in the River Hills. There were two additions to the mall, which eventually closed due to lack of business.
Burnsville Center nears completion 1977219 viewsMay 29, 1977 Star Tribune - reports most of the exterior construction has been completed on the Burnsville Center scheduled to open August 3.
Burnsville Name Belies That of Irish Founder218 viewsBy RALPH THORNTON
Mlnneapolis Star - November 26, 1963

High atop a windswept hill just south of the Minnesota River in Dakota County, in the cemetery he gave to his community, is the grave of William Byrne, early settler of Burnsville.

But what may make the old patriarch rest uneasily, according to his descendants, is that · his township today bears a Scottish name rather than one commemorating its Irish beginnings.

There are others who will stoutly maintain that Burns is also a good old Gaelic name.

Nearly every headstone in the old Mount Calvary cemetery there's a name such as Duffy, O'Brien, Dillon, Dempsey, Hanrahan, Gallagher and Murphy.

Burial Ground
From the burial ground one may look over the former Byrne Farm, another portion of which its owners gave for the settlements first Chapel, built logs in 1853.

Earlier, the first services have been celebrated in the Byrne home by father Ravoux, Noted missionary priest from Mendota.

The discrepancy and the spelling of the name of the town and that of its founder is due to a clerical error, said Mrs. Dorothy Byrne Benson. 127 W. Lake Street, enough is to live in great grandchildren. The other, John Byrne, resides in Phoenix Arizona.

Their family history states that William Bern, a native of County Kilkenny, Ireland, sailed to Montréal Canada about 1820. In 1853 he homesteaded near the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.

"The Township of Burnsville was then established", reads the story.
10 children

William Bern and his wife Julia had 10 children and many grandchildren. Their sons James, Daniel and John had 15, 10 and 10 children, respectively.

With so many Byrnes in the area, some added an "S" to their name to facilitate delivery of mail.

Later William Byrne moved to west St. Paul, where he died in 1877 at the age of 81.One of his grandsons was monsignor James C Bern, well-known St. Paul Catholic priest

Records in the Minnesota historical Society bear out details of this history,But referred to the family as "Burns."

The census of 1860 lists Burns, his wife and children as Burns. The history of Dakota County by Rev. Edward T Neill, states that "In 1853 William Burns and family came from CanadaAnd settled in the north west corner of town."

However, the history states that "early records of the town from its date organization until 1860 were destroyed. It kept at all. The first officers of the town did not appear. At the time of its organization that was named in honor of William Burns, father of several sons located in and adjoining the town.

At the first recorded town meeting, April 3, 1860, Thomas Burns, his son, was elected chairman, the book states period

And these historical records the family insists, the name Byrne seems to have been mistaken for Burns by official recorders. And this mistake gave the town its present name.

But it is Byrne on its founders tombstone in Mount Calvary Cemetery

Pat Connolly, Burnsville village clerk, said"I can remember when every house between Nichols Station (Cedar Avenue) and Savage as Irish." In that area lived the Ryans, Kennellys, O'Regans, Conroys, Kellehers and many others.

Whether Byrnesville or Burnsville, the Township, which plans to seek incorporation as a village soon, just wanted Minnesota's fastest growing communities.

Perhaps it's founder, William Byrne, would take pride in the flowering of the settlement he founded 110 years ago and forget the misspelling of his name.
Bloomington 1900s.218 viewsBetween Portland and Nicollet showing Assumption Church.
Kmart on Highway 13 Lucky Twin Drive-In Theater217 viewsAerial photo looking north. In background IDS Tower can be seen. At right edge is NSP Black Dog Plant with high stack in place. To its left is Minnegasco storage dome.
Warren Magnuson -217 viewsWarren Magnuson - Independent School District 191 Board. May 11, 1978 Current.
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