Officer of the Year

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. Nominations from the public and City employees are accepted and winners are selected by the Edina Crime Prevention Fund. Individuals eligible for nomination must be police officers for the Edina Police Department.

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
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 has also been active with the Edina Morningside Rotary Foundation since 2001 and is a volunteer Edina Fire Fighter.

2014 Officer of the Year: Officer Jake Heckert
Throughout his career, Heckert has made it a priority to keep the roads as safe as possible. In 2013, 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.

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
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. Lutz gives a great deal of credit to his fellow officers as well. On a 2013 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.

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
Lindman received 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.”