Director of MnJAC Retires; 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Investigation Asked Questions About Spending & Funding
A month after defending his agency's spending priorities, level of cooperation with metro law enforcement, and effectiveness as the state's only fusion center dedicated to sharing terrorism- and regional crime-related information, the director of the Minnesota Joint Analysis Center, known as MnJAC, has resigned.
Mike Bosacker, a former Eden Prairie police captain, tendered his resignation to the superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Friday and told his staff of 16 this week.
Bosacker has led MnJAC since June 2007.
As part of a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation in February that asked whether homeland security spending at MNJAC and other local, county, and state agencies made Safety Sense, Bosacker staunchly defended spending thousands of dollars on personalized post-it notes, pens, mugs and other items to promote MnJAC, at a time when its funding has fallen dramatically, threatening its very survival.
"We're a public entity, OK?" Bosacker said at the time. "We're operating on public funding. We need to provide value for that dollar. And I believe we do."
Two people familiar with Bosacker's resignation said it had been in the works for some time and was unrelated to the attention generated by the story.
The fusion center, one of 72 around the country, only subsists on federal grant money. Amid concerns the federal government will soon end the homeland security grants that pay for its operations, MnJAC only has enough money to operate into next year.
A bill at the Legislature to lay the groundwork for state funding is stuck in the committee process and, with only a month to go in this year's session, its passage is uncertain, leaving MnJAC's financial security in doubt, some believe.
A hearing last week raised privacy concerns about MnJAC's information-gathering process from some lawmakers and from a North Dakota National Guardsman who works in intelligence analysis and lives in Minnesota who testified briefly before the House panel.
In a resignation letter dated Friday and addressed to BCA superintendent Wade Setter, Bosacker wrote in part, "After many years operating in an on call environment coupled with changes in my family life I have decided that it is time for me to set different priorities."
When reached by phone, Bosacker declined to comment. His last day as a state employee is April 11.
In a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Setter praised Bosacker, saying MnJAC's director, "has led with dedication and selfless service, and his contributions to the work and mission of MnJAC have been significant."
Jim Franklin, executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, in a February interview for the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS investigation, had given MnJAC a 'C+' for its work and called on it to focus more on regional crime fighting.
On Tuesday, Franklin, who is also a member of MnJAC's oversight group, said that Bosacker "personally," had earned an 'A' for his work, given the "difficult task" of the fusion center and its multiple partners.
The appointment of a new director, Franklin said, would be "an opportunity to reassess everything, restructure... and get new energy... to re-engage local partners."
"The broader the base you can build for cooperation, the better," Franklin said.
The question Franklin hopes will be answered in the management change, he said, is "how do we use our dollars smarter to protect the public?"
Bosacker has accepted a job with the Law Enforcement Technology Group, LLC, known by the acronym LETG, which is partly owned by a member of MnJAC's 18-member oversight group.
The company provides computer-aided dispatch, mobile software, and records management systems to approximately 150 law enforcement agencies in Minnesota and Iowa and is expanding into the Dakotas.
Mike Goldstein, the chief of the Plymouth Police Department and member of MnJAC's oversight group, confirmed to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that he is a minority owner of, and advisor to, LETG.
Goldstein said he recommended Bosacker for the job and, since Goldstein said he is not involved in LETG's day-to-day management, explained that he does not see any impropriety in his company hiring a state employee that he helped to oversee.
"I don't want the picture painted that there's something nefarious going on," Goldstein said by phone.
"Mike is a hard-working, diligent person... Mike was looking to retire. When I knew that information and knew the needs of the software company, I thought there could be a natural fit. There's no conflict of interest," said Goldstein.
Click here to watch our Safety Sense investigation.