Jan. 14 incident remains under investigation
The Forest Lake City Council was briefed Monday on the dispatching of two fawns on Saturday, Jan. 14 with two members of the council offering support for the actions of law enforcement.
Police Chief Rick Peterson said the department was notified via e-mail to assist conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in carrying out orders to shoot two collared deer that were seen roaming the area of North Shore Trail.
On the morning of Jan. 14, a Forest Lake police officer nearly struck the pair while driving, according to case reports. The young deer were identified by the bright colors around their necks.
Peterson said an initial review concluded that proper procedure was followed.
“A thorough investigation continues into the matter,” he said.
Councilwoman Susan Young noted the DNR provided a letter explaining policies and their appreciation to the Forest Lake Police Department.
Capt. Greg Salo, Region 3 Enforcement Manager, wrote that this entire incident is the DNR’s responsibility and the Forest Lake officers who were involved carried out the actions at the request of the DNR.
“I have tried to make that message clear with the media, but unfortunately, the city of Forest Lake is receiving a considerable amount of negative press,” he noted.
Salo went on to recognize local law enforcement for helping with a sensitive issue.
“Sgt. Ayers and Officer DeGroot did an excellent job in bringing this incident to a quick end. They acted professionally in a situation where emotions were running high and the homeowner was acting confrontational. Captain Weiss assisted me with press interviews and provided me with information that was crucial in providing an accurate media response.”
“Finally, Chief Peterson who welcomed us into his department, provided me with a location to make media contacts, and assured CO Gutierrez and myself that our relationship with the Forest Lake Police Department is still a strong one.”
Councilwoman Susan Young said she has had experience with bovine tuberculosis.
“I can understand their concern,” she said, referring to the state agency’s concerns that the fawns could be potentially carrying diseases that would be dangerous to the deer herd population in Minnesota.
Councilman Jim DuFour said that despite the backlash, the right thing was done in regards to the deer.