Isanti Police Chief Travis Muyres began his career with the Isanti Police Department in 2014 as a lieutenant; in May 2019 he was appointed interim police chief; and more recently he was named the department’s chief.
With a staff of 13, Muyres acknowledges the importance of having everyone on the same page with the focus on community and positive interactions with residents.
“Creating an office where citizen contact is our focus is important. I don’t think it’s unrealistic for everybody in Isanti to at least know one officer by name,” Muyres said. “Having that personal contact is important, and having it be positive contact is also important.”
With future goals for the department of developing a community-focused mission statement and values, he’s looking to the department for their input on which direction to go in the future.
“The community engagement piece is one piece that’s been lacking in our department and is one of the big goals we have. The Facebook page is one step in the right direction, National Night Out was a huge step and community policing itself is a big piece for law enforcement in general,” Muyres said. “Also, allowing officers to have input on what our goals and mission should be is important.”
Muyres says he can see the needs of the department, the desires his officers have and the importance of community, which is what has guided him coming into the position of chief, along with goals he had when he started.
Top three goals coming in
Muyres had three main goals he wanted to focus on when he came in as chief; first, staffing.
“Staffing was my biggest goal. In the five years I’d been here we were only at full staff for about four or five months,” Muyres said. “This has changed since I began as chief and we should be at full staff by the end of the year.”
“Our coverage is two night cars, two day and two mid-shift, I’ve also got staffing plans and projections for 2021, which would include another full-time officer,” Muyres added.
With the city’s population increasing as well as an increasing call load for the department, Muyres is looking ahead at future needs and adding officers as needed.
“Our call loads have really increased over the last 10 years and our staffing hasn’t changed nor has our support staffing,” Muyres said.
His second focus: a new mission and values statement.
“Our new mission and values statement is currently a work in progress. We are awaiting the start of our new lieutenant so we can have his input into the future as well,” Muyres said. “We are reaching out collaboratively to all of the officers to gain their input.”
“It’s interesting when you’ve been in law enforcement for so long and you’ve had these mission statements and they are all the same. We want to have a mission statement that actually means something, something our officers will indoctrinate and go by,” Muyres added.
Hoping the mission and values statement will come full circle for the department and be the center of everything the officers do, Muyres wants it to focus on the quality of life for both officers as well as the community.
“One of the biggest pieces, and a goal I’ve given to all of the officers, as far as their role, is the quality of life for the residents, and enhancing the quality of life for our residents,” Muyres said.
“Realizing our goal is to enhance the quality of life for people whether it’s someone calling in because their mailbox has been damaged or someone calling in because their house is on fire; those are both emergencies to those people calling them in, and realizing that both of those are significant impacts on the victim, they should both be given the same respect and service. Really stressing that we need to give the same service, no matter what level of crime or call we have, is the focus,” Muyres added.
Another way to enhance life for residents, according to Muyres, is to address some of the concerns of residents.
“There are some additional things we will be doing in investigations when we are full staff as well; some of the biggest complaints we get are property crimes and traffic in the neighborhoods,” Muyres said. “So obviously those are priorities that we are focusing on while on patrol, but there’s a follow-up piece to add to that and that’s one thing we will really focus on; follow-up on the reports just to see where things are going and what else can be done.”
The final goal Muyres had coming in as chief was to identify what the department has to work with.
“My third goal was more of an assessment and inventory of all our resources, whether it is staffing, equipment and what we have, what we need, what we need to develop,” Muyres said.
One of the first things he looked at was the video system and other system upgrades, which Muyres hopes will be fully functional with WatchGuard in mid-September.
“The equipment piece is huge for the ability for officers to do their job, they need the right equipment to do their job on a daily basis,” Muyres said. “Secondary to doing their job, the officers need to feel that they’re being supported by the department and that they are being protected.”
The department is also working on developing a Lexipol policy, which Muyres believes will be in place by January 2020.
“We’re going to go from the minimum policies to the highest standard, which is something the officers said they’re interested in,” Muyres said.
“Lexipol is a third party that drafts policies for law enforcement and keeps them updated; those policies tend to be more in depth than the POST mandated minimum policies. We want the community to know that we want to be held to that higher standard because that is how we operate and will continue to operate,” Muyres added.
Knowing it’s the officers in the department that can make the difference in the community, Muyres will continue to work with the entire department on focusing on the community and providing the best service possible.
“Every officer has the potential to have a significant impact on their community,” Muyres said. “The impact can be had on every resident they come in contact with whether it’s big or small. The impact they have on those people will travel with them forever.”
For Muyres the department is his focus and he’s here to stay.
“The biggest thing for me is I didn’t just want to get a job as a chief somewhere, I wanted to work for this community. This is the community my kids go to school in, the community we live in and my family lives in so I have a significant attachment and have an inherent interest in making the quality of life better in this community,” Muyres said.
“It’s not just a job, it’s my community.”