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2002 Officer of the Year
Eric J. Gieseke
Distinguished as Burnsville’s 2002 Officer of the Year, Officer Eric J. Gieseke is noted for his diligent work above and beyond his responsibilities as a Police Officer. Whether aggressively patrolling the streets of Burnsville, or responding to a high-risk tactical team callout, Officer Gieseke is a consummate professional who resolves the issue at hand. His strong work ethic, positive attitude, and leadership skills are displayed daily in his position as a Patrol Officer, and his honesty and integrity is above reproach. In the words of his partners, Officer Gieseke is known as someone who won’t let up, slow down, back away or be still. His “it’s go time” attitude rubs off on those around him, and he is truly admired by his peers for his leadership qualities and his unparalleled commitment to the profession of law enforcement.

About Officer Gieseke
Officer Gieseke has been a valued member of the Burnsville Police Department since 1991. During those years he has served in the capacity as Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, and Emergency Action Group Tactical Team Member. Officer Gieseke has also done a tremendous job balancing his efforts between law enforcement and developing strong community/police partnerships. Over the past 12 years, Officer Gieseke has demonstrated a consistent, tenacious work ethic that is second to none.

Field Training Officer
In Officer Gieseke’s role as a Field Training Officer, he brings great enthusiasm to the program and is a positive role model for new officers. Over the past two years, the Burnsville Police Department has hired twelve new officers. During that time, Officer Gieseke trained nine of the officers. His devotion to developing the future of the Burnsville Police Department led to 30 weeks of training in a span of 52 weeks. The combination of his calm demeanor and his desire to help people succeed makes him a very effective coach/mentor.

Tactical Team Member
As a Tactical Team Member, Officer Gieseke is able to utilize his specialized training, knowledge and expertise not only in high-risk Emergency Action Group callouts but also during the “normal” course of business.

Incident as Tactical Team Member
Most notable was an incident on June 6, 2002, involving the report of a burglary in-progress with possible weapons. Upon arrival, Officer Gieseke learned that the call was actually a home invasion robbery where the homeowner and his brother had fought with two suspects that had entered their home. During the initial encounter, a round was fired from a handgun that one of the suspects possessed. As patrol officers were setting up a perimeter, Officer Gieseke was advised that the homeowner’s brother was still inside with one of the suspects. Fearing for the safety of the victim, Officer Gieseke utilized his tactical skills and quickly developed a plan to enter the home.

With a head nod and “it’s go time”, Officer Gieseke, along with two other patrol officers, immediately entered the home and began searching for the suspect. They eventually located two subjects in a lower level basement; one was holding a semi-automatic handgun and the other was lying on the floor covered in blood. Officer Gieseke immediately ordered the subject to drop the gun, but the subject hesitated. With his MP5 pointed at the subject’s chest, Officer Gieseke repeatedly ordered him to drop the gun. Relying on his extensive training, experience and courage, Officer Gieseke chose not to fire. After several tense moments, the subject eventually dropped the gun and the residence was secured. It was soon learned that the person holding the gun was actually the homeowner’s brother.

The suspect was treated for his injuries and was charged with 1st Degree Burglary. As a result of this incident and successful resolution, Officer Gieseke was honored with Burnsville Police Department’s highest award – the Medal of Valor.

Community Building Efforts
Equally impressive is Officer Gieseke’s community-building efforts. Although he and his patrol partners responded to over 43,000 Calls For Service in 2002, Officer Gieseke always made time to meet with the residents in the neighborhoods that he served. Through his constant interaction with the community, Officer Gieseke has developed a strong partnership that is solidified through mutual respect.

Fighting Vandalism
The strength of that relationship was tested during a series of vandalisms where the damages exceeded $30,000. The vandals hit several homes and a warming house in a nearby park. During the crime spree, one victim’s home was vandalized five times with damages totaling $20,000. The suspects shattered windows and destroyed several sections of siding. As the crimes occurred, Officer Gieseke kept in constant contact with the victims and their neighbors. He provided them with accurate information, shared crime prevention tips, and encouraged them to report any suspicious activity.

As the number of victims continued to grow, Officer Gieseke worked closely with residents in the neighborhoods and the department’s Community Resource Unit to develop an action plan. One of the residents agreed to sit in the warming house to act as a lookout, a Varda Alarm was installed, several residents armed with cell phones drove the streets at night, and Officer Gieseke and his partners increased their patrol efforts.

A few days after the plan was implemented, a neighbor called to report four young men were lurking in the neighborhood. Officer Gieseke and his partners responded to the area and found the suspects as they were entering one of the suspect’s homes. As the suspects entered the house they were quickly apprehended. Officer Gieseke recognized one of the suspects from a previous contact and was able to obtain a full confession to his role in the crimes.

Through the collaborative efforts of Officer Gieseke and the residents in the neighborhood, two juveniles were charged with Felony Damage to Property. One of the most remarkable aspects of the case was the fact that not one victim called to ask why the police department couldn’t keep them safe. They knew that “their” officer was working the case and they adamantly believed that those responsible for the crimes would be brought to justice.

Devotion to the Community
Officer Gieseke’s devotion to law enforcement and the community he serves are well in keeping with the highest standards of this department. His tenacious work ethic and willingness to get involved have been a tremendous influence on those he works with. For these reasons we are proud to name him Burnsville’s 2002 Officer of the Year, and nominate Officer Eric J. Gieseke for the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association “Officer of the Year Award.”

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