West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS) is a joint-powers agreement with the Cities of Maple Plain and Independence for police services. Both cities realized the need for 24-hour police coverage and formed the joint-powers agreement. WHPS was formed and began providing police coverage on January 1, 1979. The City of Independence had two full time officers at the time and became part of WHPS.
The department began with five officers, with Jim Franklin
Serving The Cities of Independence and Maple Plain
Director Gary Kroells
serving as the first Director of Public Safety, and has grown to a department of nine officers. Larry Bailey was one of the officers from Independence when the department was formed and he became the second director of WHPS in 1991. After Director Bailey’s retirement in 2000, Ray McCoy was appointed as director until his retirement on April 30, 2014. On May 1, 2014, Gary Kroells was appointed as Director.
West Hennepin Public Safety’s first office was located at 1570 Halgren Road in the City of Maple Plain, in part of the old Halgren Creamery. When the Maple Plain Fire Department moved into its new fire station in 1982, space became available in the Maple Plain City Hall and West Hennepin moved to 1620 Maple Avenue. The department continued to grow with the community and it was evident more space was needed for the department. Early in 2000, a facilities committee was formed to design a new police facility. Construction of the building began in the spring of 2001 at 1918 County Road 90. The police department moved into this space in January of 2002.
Community policing has been a part of West Hennepin from the start. The department concentrates on providing a high level of service to the citizens of Maple Plain and Independence. Crime prevention, Crime Free Multi Housing, public presentations, partnerships with Orono and Delano schools in drug education and prevention, Citizens Academy, and Emergency Management are just a few of the programs and services provided by the department.
In 1980, West Hennepin Public Safety started a Reserve Officer Program. This unit, which consists of volunteers, has greatly augmented the department and aided in the success of many programs. One of the longstanding traditions of this unit is “View Santa” which occurs each December. Each year, reserve officers work many hours of traffic control at parades, triathlons, community events and traffic crashes, provide security for city events and many other tasks. The reserves have also done bike rodeos, worked the BMX track, done house checks and assisted the officers where needed. This has been a valuable part of West Hennepin Public Safety.