Mike Siitari Officer of the Year Award

The Officer of the Year Award is named after Mike Siitari, who served as Police Chief from 1999 to 2009 during his 31-year tenure with the Edina Police Department. The Award recognizes an Edina Police Officer each year who has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

The Edina Crime Prevention Fund seeks nominations for its fourth-annual Mike Siitari Officer of the Year award. The Officer of the Year award seeks to honor those who have shown exemplary service and leadership through innovation and public relations.

The Mike Siitari Officer of the Year award is given to one Edina Police Officer each year. Nominations from the public and City employees are accepted and winners are selected by the Edina Crime Fund. Individuals eligible for nomination must be police officers for the Edina Police Department. A partner to the Edina Police Department since the late 1960s, the Edina Crime Prevention Fund has been a significant contributor to many Police services and programs. For more information about the Fund, visit www.edinacrimefund.org.

To nominate a candidate, submit the name of the officer and a few sentences describing the nominee’s achievements. Nominations for the award can be made by writing to Nancy Karkhoff at nkarkhoff@EdinaMN.gov or the Edina Crime Prevention Fund; Re: Officer of the Year; 4801 W. 50th St.; Edina, MN 55424.

2015 Officer of the Year: Officer Mike Seeger

Edina Police Officer Mike Seeger has been named the 2015 Mike Siitari Officer of the Year by the Edina Crime Prevention Fund. He will receive the award at the City Council Meeting May 17th.

Seeger has been the coordinator of the Junior Police Program for 15 years touching the lives of nearly 600 children each year. He grew up in Edina and continues to raise his family in the community. Seeger is also been active with the Edina Morningside Rotary Foundation for 15 years and is also a volunteer Edina Fire Fighter.

Chief Dave Nelson said, "I couldn't be prouder of Mike and his accomplishments both in the department and the community, these connections have a far reaching impact".

2014 Officer of the Year: Officer Jake Heckert

Edina Police Officer Jake Heckert has been named the 2014 Mike Siitari Officer of the Year by the Edina Crime Prevention Fund.

“I am honored … especially since I’ve only been here for a little over two years,” said Heckert. “I don’t have enough good words to say about the Department -- about how well they treat employees, whether you’ve worked there 40 years or are brand new.”

Heckert began his career with the Minnetrista Police Department in 2005 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Throughout his career, Heckert has made it a priority to keep the roads as safe as possible. Last year, Heckert made 56 DWI arrests, more than any other officer in the Department. He was recently recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his DWI patrol efforts, earning him a Silver Pin Top Enforcer Award.

Heckert’s arrests were also one of the reasons the Minnesota State Patrol Division of the Department of Public Safety recently awarded the Edina Police Department a four-year DWI enforcement grant to reduce drunk and impaired driving on Edina roadways.

“Officer Heckert’s passion for his job, coupled with his proactive personality and the fact that he’s a very hard worker is impressive,” said Police Chief Dave Nelson. “He’s a great example for all of our new officers.”

These are just a few of the qualities that helped Heckert recently become a Training Officer, working to train officers new to the Department.

In a letter nominating Heckert for the award, Sgt. Nate Mendel wrote, “Officer Heckert’s dedication to the safety of the residents of Edina is what our organization strives for. It is my hope that his high drive and work ethic will be imparted upon our newest recruits.”

2013 Officer of the Year: Detective Mike Lutz

Edina Det. Mike Lutz was awarded the 2013 Mike Siitari Officer of the Year Award. Lutz was recognized for his dedication to his cases and care for the victims. He is also the longest serving officer in Edina, having been a part of the Department for over 40 years.

Lutz was promoted to detective in 1997 to the Crimes Against Persons Division so that he could work directly with the victims.

“He never forgets a victim. If he can’t solve a case, it’ll always be in the back of his mind,” said Edina Chief of Police Dave Nelson. “He can communicate with victims … he can get them to open up, he can get them to feel comfortable sharing information.”

Lutz gives a great deal of credit to his fellow officers as well. On a recent case he and several other officers from within Edina and Minneapolis were able to work together to solve three related cases of assault and robbery. “We coordinated with Minneapolis … and everybody put in a lot of time, doing different things. Some guys did search warrants, interviews, some did other things,” explained Lutz.

The Edina Crime Fund received several nominations for Lutz, all of which reiterated his perseverance, dedication, attention to detail and care for his victims.

2012 Officer of the Year: Officer Dave Lindman

The Edina Crime Prevention Fund named Police Officer Dave Lindman the 2012 Mike Siitari Officer of the Year for his work on an international financial fraud case dubbed "Operation Starburst."

Operation Starburst started locally in 2009 while Lindman was assigned to the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force. Officers on the Task Force began to see a pattern in their investigations. Once they brought the pieces of their puzzles together, they saw they were dealing with something much larger than they had initially thought.

Lindman, who joined the Edina Police Department in 2001, said this team discovered an organized crime ring that involved "dirty" bankers who would sell account information to criminals and millions. Since 2006, more than 10,000 people have been victimized by king pin Julian Okeayainneh’s crime ring and, so far, more than 30 people connected with Operation Starburst are in prison.

Since the case began, Lindman and his team’s efforts have paid off. In August 2012, Okeayainneh was sentenced to 27 years in prison, the longest punishment handed down in the United States for an identity theft case. While Operation Starburst, a case that amounted to more than $58 million in fraudulent activity, is no longer active, federal and local agents are still working to charge others who were involved.

2011 Officer of the Year: Officer Joel Moore

Moore, the first recipient of the Mike Siitari Officer of the Year Award, has been an officer with the Edina Police Department for more than 10 years, during which he spent two years working in the Southdale corridor as an undercover commercial crime officer, where he made 411 arrests.

In a letter written to the Crime Fund nominating Moore for the award, it states “Officer Moore has made it his mission to arrest and aid in the prosecution of those who would jeopardize public safety by preying on the public and retail establishments … I can think of no officer more deserving than Officer Joel Moore for the Mike Siitari Officer of the Year Award."

Police Department

4801 W. 50th Street
Edina, MN 55424

General: 952-826-1610
Emergency: 911

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