Every day, law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to serve and protect our communities. And while National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is recognized once a year, the brave men and women who step up at every hour of every day deserve more gratitude and recognition.

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From Tom: Why #ThankACop?

Friends –

Every day, law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to serve and protect our communities. And while National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is recognized once a year, the brave men and women who step up at every hour of every day deserve more gratitude and recognition.

That’s why our team is launching our #ThankACop initiative this week. With morale at an all time low amongst the law enforcement community, our goal is to highlight individual law enforcement officers and the important work that they and their agencies do for our communities. These men and women have sworn to protect the lives of others – sometimes at the expense of their own – and they deserve nothing but our support. Without them, our communities would not be the places we call home today.

On Friday, I caught my staff a little off guard by telling them to order some pizzas because we were going to #ThankACop and deliver them to law enforcement on Saturday. On this first trip we made it to Buffalo, Andover, and Blaine. It is always an honor to listen to officers’ first-hand experiences and discuss the issues that matter most to them and their communities.

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Otsego, MN – Today, Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer is beginning his #ThankACop initiative. In the wake of increased scrutiny of law enforcement following the death of George Floyd, law enforcement officers in Minnesota are facing low morale and increased recruitment difficulties.

“The goal here is simple: while the public debates issues of police reform, we all need to take a step back and realize what our peace officers do for all of us and our communities every single day. While many are out on the streets putting their lives on the line for us, others are organizing prescription drug take back programs, doing community outreach, fighting sex trafficking rings, and generally making our streets safer for our kids to play on. Now more than ever, we need to reach out and simply show gratitude because without them, our communities would not be the places we call home,” Emmer said.

“Everyone knows a law enforcement officer, and they come from all different backgrounds and beliefs. We just want to encourage people to recognize law enforcement officers for all that they do.”

The #ThankACop campaign will highlight individual officers from Minnesota on a weekly basis as well as bring attention to the work that peace officers do to keep those they have sworn to protect and serve out of harm’s way.


Latest #ThankACop Posts

St. Paul Police Department

This year, the St. Paul Police Department celebrated the 20th Anniversary of its Shop with Cops program. This event is special because it gives officers the opportunity to build relationships with local kids and their families. St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell shared that “Officers are often called to help kids who are experiencing the worst moments of their lives. Shop with Cops gives them a chance to help kids in need without having to fix an immediate crisis. It also gives kids a chance to get to know the officer behind the badge. It’s a special event that’s as rewarding for our officers as it is for the kids.”

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Sauk Rapids Officer Nick Bogart and Sgt. Jeremy Welsh

Two years ago today, Officer Nick Bogart and Sergeant Jeremy Welsh delivered baby Lincoln Erickson at his parents’ home in Sauk Rapids. His mom Paige’s due date was not until after New Year’s, but she went into the hospital on December 22 with contractions. However, labor did not progress and she was sent home. After they dropped their daughter Isabella off at her grandparents’ house and returned home, Paige knew that baby Lincoln was on his way – and fast. 

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St. Francis Police Department & Anoka County Sheriff’s Office

Recently, St. Francis Police officers and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department professionally handled a dangerous situation. When routine traffic stops like this escalate to something life threatening – in this case, a suspect opening fire on police officers – I am especially grateful that these brave men and women wake up every day willing to risk their lives to keep us safe even though they know that they might not return home to their families.

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911 Dispatcher Jake Prager

This Christmas, a little girl in Chisago County named Poppy Lindeman will celebrate her third birthday thanks to a 911 dispatcher who helped her parents safely deliver her on the side of the road on Christmas morning. Aside from this Christmas miracle, there are so many unseen ways that dispatchers and law enforcement staff work to protect and serve our communities.

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Sergeant Kyle Puelston, Chisago County Sheriff’s Office

Over the weekend, Sergeant Kyle Puelston was working a MN Toward Zero Deaths traffic shift. MN Toward Zero Deaths is an interdisciplinary organization that “saves lives by bringing together Education, Enforcement, Emergency Medical and Trauma Services, Engineering – and more!” By coordinating with the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health, and the Department of Public Safety, MN Toward Zero Deaths facilitates regional efforts throughout the state by looking at “crash data specifics to their areas, then working with the constituents to implement proven circumstances.”

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Albert Lea Police Department

While the stories I email out on Thursdays are often heartwarming, this one is a somber reminder that our safety comes at a cost to the brave men and women who step up to protect us and our families.

Very early Sunday morning, a 30-year-old officer from the Albert Lea Police Department and two civilians were shot. Fortunately, the officer (whose name is still being withheld) has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. Though both the civilians suffered more serious injuries, they are recovering as well.

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Officers McIntosh, Augustin, & Vang

Over the weekend, the communities surrounding Cold Spring and St. Joseph came together to remember and honor two officers who were killed in the line of duty: Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker and St. Joseph Police Officer Brian Klinefelter. Our hearts go out to their families and friends, and words cannot convey our gratitude for their willingness to sacrifice everything to protect their communities.

Because officers wake up each day not knowing if they will return home to their families, I believe that it is important to recognize the brave men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line. In November, the Blaine Police Department hired three new officers, and I wanted to help welcome them by introducing them and thanking them for all they have done and will do to make Blaine a safer place.

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MN State Troopers

Though all the stories we share about law enforcement highlight their important work, this one is especially heartwarming and a true tribute to the dedication that officers have for their communities. A few weeks ago, 11 year old Caleb Rogers of Crystal, Minnesota received an early holiday surprise from some state troopers.

Since being diagnosed with brain cancer, 11-year-old Caleb has fought through more than 30 rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. A few weeks ago, state troopers partnered with Wishes and More, a non profit dedicated to granting wishes to children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. Caleb received a gaming laptop and several other gifts and accessories complete with a police escort at the surprise wish reveal at his home in Crystal.

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State Trooper Jimmy Buggs

Since seeing an increase in crime and deaths due to traffic incidents, the Minnesota State Patrol has been working to hire more troopers and patrol officers. They have also been making an effort to interview and train diverse candidates to better serve Minnesotans. This week’s officer highlight took advantage of the LETO (Law Enforcement Training Opportunity) program to continue his career of service as a State Trooper.

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Sherburne & Anoka Co. Sheriff’s Departments

Over the weekend, a dangerous situation unfolded in St. Francis. It began with officers being fired upon and ended with the suspect being apprehended without any major injuries to him or officers. Had these sheriff’s deputies done their jobs differently, they may have not still been with us today.

On Saturday, November 14, a St. Francis police officer attempted to stop a vehicle after the driver committed a traffic violation. However, instead of surrendering himself, the suspect began to flee out of Anoka county while firing a gun repeatedly at the St. Francis officer in pursuit.

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Duluth Police Officer Sara Schutte

As we continue to weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to introduce you to an officer who has done everything in her power to continue serving her community despite the changes we’ve seen over this past year.

Officer Sara Schutte graduated from the University of Minnesota in Duluth in 2014 with degrees in Biology and Natural History. While she loved her science career, she missed engaging with the community. After much thought, she chose to return to school and become a police officer. She joined the Duluth Police Department in 2018 and hasn’t looked back.

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Brooklyn Park Police Department

The Brooklyn Park Police Department safely and professionally handled a dangerous incident a few weeks ago. These situations are risky for both officers and suspects, but in this case, no one was injured. Unfortunately, situations like this  do sometimes end with officers, suspects, or bystanders being injured or killed, so stories like this make us all grateful for the officers who wake up each and every day to handle whatever comes their way.

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Lakeville Police Officer Casey King

I am always grateful to hear about our Minnesota communities going above and beyond to recognize the brave men and women who serve in law enforcement. A few weeks ago, Lakeville Police Officer Casey King was recognized by the Lakeville Public Safety Foundation for all he has done to serve his community.

Prior to 2020, the Lakeville Public Safety Foundation annually held a large fundraising event on the anniversary of 9/11. This September, however, with many families being under the economic stress of COVID-19 and social distancing protocols, the Foundation and its president, Shanen Corlett, decided to still recognize one officer and one firefighter but instead deliver appreciation baskets to each firefighter, police officer, and administrative staff member in Lakeville.

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Waite Park Police Department

I think we all appreciate now more than ever efforts by police departments to increase transparency, communication, and representation with the communities they serve. Relationships are key in law enforcement work, and I applaud the departments and officers who continue to strive to build these relationships with every member of their communities.

Last week, the Waite Park Police Department announced that it had applied for and received a grant from the state of Minnesota for its Pathways to Policing program. Pathways to Policing strives to recruit candidates who are interested in law enforcement as a profession but are currently working in another field. This grant gives Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud the opportunity to hire additional officers who will have both the passion and the ability to become an officer and then start building these relationships even if they are from different professional backgrounds.

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State Trooper & Crash Reconstruction Specialist Karla Bearce

Today, I want you to meet Karla Bearce. Since she was in middle school, Karla has known exactly how she wanted to serve her community and help save lives. And a personal experience has only strengthened that commitment.

In 7th grade civics class, Karla Bearce knew she wanted to work in law enforcement when her local police chief came and spoke to her class. The chief shared that his job was different each and every day, and from that moment on, Karla knew what she wanted to do.

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Drug Take Back Day

As October comes to an end, I wanted to highlight some important work that happened across the state of Minnesota on Saturday.

Each year, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration hosts two days designated to collecting unused prescription drugs. Addiction and drug abuse are serious issues many Minnesota families face, and I am grateful to various law enforcement agencies for working to prevent this problem. As many families have faced challenges related to COVID-19 and the resulting economic shutdowns, those struggling with addiction and drug abuse have found new challenges due to disrupted routines and new stressors. Law enforcement’s work is appreciated more this year than ever.

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Benton County Sheriff’s Office: K-9 Handler Deputy Brad Kadlec

Today I’m sharing with you one part of the phenomenal work the Benton County Sheriff’s Office is doing to keep our community safe. As I have often said, police work is unpredictable and therefore dangerous, and we remain grateful to all the officers like Deputy Kadlec who put their lives on the line for us every day.

Last week, the St. Cloud Times shared a story about Deputy Brad Kadlec and the K-9 he currently handles, Ragnar. However, Deputy Kadlec has been with the Benton County Sheriff’s Department for eleven years, and he has worked with many K-9s to keep the communities in Benton safe.

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Anoka Police Department

Though they never know what might come their way, law enforcement officers risk their lives everyday to protect us. A situation that developed in the suburbs of Anoka, Ramsey, and Nowthen on the night of October 8 proved to be an example of the unexpected and dangerous nature of an officer’s career in public service.

Early on the morning of October 8, Anoka officers received a call and were sent to investigate a report of a vehicle theft in downtown Anoka. An employee called the police because he noticed that a vehicle was missing even though they still had the keys, and another employee saw that the security camera was missing an hour of footage. A few hours later, Anoka officers received another call from an observer who thought he saw people trying to steal a car. Officers responded to this complaint, saw the car, and noticed it was the same one reported stolen only hours before.

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Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department Commander Suwana Kirkland

This week, I want to introduce you to an officer who, over the course of her career, has worked to build bridges within her community and make a real difference with her badge. Especially in today’s climate, her work is greatly appreciated!

Commander Suwana Kirkland, a mother to five children ages 9 through 27 and resident of Rogers, came to the law enforcement profession later in life. After working in real estate in her early 20s, she attended Minneapolis Community and Technical College and earned a degree in psychology. Following her work at Hennepin County Medical Center, she took her passion for and interest in criminal justice and started off her law enforcement career as a trailblazer in 2005 when she became the first African American officer to serve in the Minnetonka Police Department.

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Coon Rapids Police Department

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual neighborhood Nite to Unite, which is usually held in August, was postponed to October 6. And due to continued concerns surrounding COVID-19, many neighborhoods chose to hold virtual events in lieu of backyard get togethers and barbecues. In previous years, police officers and firefighters have always driven around their communities and stopped at as many neighborhood gatherings as they could so residents – especially children – could see the inside of police cars and fire trucks, meet officers and K9s, and ask questions. Officers also hand out stickers, police badges, fire hats, and ice cream coupons or other prizes. Police departments across the state have always participated in neighborhood Nite to Unite events because they are important in forming positive first impressions and creating relationships with local officers.

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St. Cloud Police Department Lieutenant Lori Ellering

Thank you for the kind and supportive messages you continue to send our law enforcement officers! We know that words can never do their remarkable service justice, but we know it is important to recognize them nonetheless. Today, I want to recognize a St. Cloud law enforcement officer who has been an asset to her department and community for over two decades.

Lieutenant Lori Ellering began her career with the St. Cloud Police Department in 1996. She worked her way up to Sergeant and now serves as a Lieutenant for Police Chief Blair Anderson. For the past 24 years, she has responded to crimes, led investigations, and worked missing persons and homicide cases with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She has also made it a priority to build relationships within St. Cloud’s community.

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Crookston, MN Police Department

Thanks to the important work our peace officers do, families and communities across our state are safer. And though their work is often dangerous and unpredictable, law enforcement officers continue to show up to serve 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Two Crookston, MN police officers were able to save a suspect’s life last month in a dangerous situation that involved a suicide-by-cop attempt. However, due to the officers maintaining their composure and using non-lethal force, no lives were lost in the incident.

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Carver County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Dascher

A few weeks ago, we received another recommendation for our #ThankACop initiative, and I am excited to introduce you to this week’s officer: Carver County Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Dascher! We always enjoy hearing about the good work our law enforcement officers do, so you have an officer, chief, dispatcher, sheriff, or deputy who deserves to be thanked, please do not hesitate to reach out at info@emmerforcongress.com!

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Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension: K-9 Sota

This Thursday, we wanted to share one of the newest additions to Minnesota’s Law Enforcement team with you! Having just joined the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, K-9 Sota has already worked 10 cases and has helped find over 21 pieces of critical evidence relating to sex trafficking and child exploitation.

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Maple Grove Police Officer Tom Chaffin

Officer Chaffin was recommended to Wear the Badge by Elk River Police Chief Ron Nierenhausen for his experience and conduct when he was serving as a patrol officer with the Elk River Police Department. Having grown up in Maple Grove, Minnesota, Officer Chaffin became a law enforcement officer because he wanted to be able to look back on his life and see that he made a difference and stood for something good. His goal as a police officer is to help people in the communities he serves and make a difference in their lives.

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Crystal Police Department

As we’ve done over the past several weeks, we’re sharing a story with you today about the important work law enforcement officers do for our communities. Though the nature of this work is often dangerous and risky, today’s story is anything but!

Tomorrow, on September 25, a baby boy in Crystal, Minnesota will celebrate his first birthday… thanks to a safe and healthy delivery made possible by a member of the Crystal Police Department, Sergeant Gabe Storz! Sergeant Storz has worked for the Crystal Police Department since 2015, and he was promoted to sergeant in February of 2019.

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Deputy Josh Langr, Waseca Sheriff’s Department

Deputy Josh Langr of the Waseca County Sheriff’s Department recently returned to work after a traumatic accident in which he was electrocuted last October. As a 15 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, he served eight years as a jail custody officer and then seven years as a patrol deputy.

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Wyoming Police Department

With the COVID-19 pandemic, police officers have had fewer opportunities to connect with the communities they serve face-to-face. However, Wyoming Police Chief Paul Hoppe has been working to ensure that his department is able to maintain their bond with the public even though the number of in-person interactions has sharply decreased. Chief Hoppe also said that following George Floyd’s unjust death, he was inspired to build trust with the public and make sure that the community knows the person behind the badge and the uniform.

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Officer Charles Adams, Minneapolis PD

Officer Charles Adams was born and raised in North Minneapolis, just north of West Broadway, 22nd, and Irving Avenue. In high school, he followed in his dad and uncles’ footsteps by playing football for the Minneapolis North Polars. However, education was always important to the Adams family, and when his grades suffered junior year, his dad kept him out for the season.

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Emmer Releases Radio Ad Recognizing MN Law Enforcement

Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) released a radio ad to help recognize Minnesota’s peace officers and the risks they take everyday to keep communities throughout Minnesota safe. The ad will run across the state for the next week and asks Minnesotans to visit ThankMinnesotaPolice.com and leave a message of gratitude or encouragement for their local officers.

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Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud

Waite Park, Minnesota Police Chief Dave Bentrud began his life in Glenwood, a small town in west-central Minnesota. Having lost his father when he was nine and his mother when he was 16, he knew at an early age that he wanted to do something to help people, particularly helping kids deal with adversity. Chief Bentrud’s journey took him to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he earned his criminal justice degree at the University of St. Thomas.

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St. Paul Police Department

We know that for law enforcement officers, building relationships with people in the communities they serve is crucial to the success of not only each and every officer but the whole department. This Friday, we’re sharing a story with you about St Paul Police Officers doing exactly that.

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Blaine Police Department K-9 Rex

Over the past four weeks, we have recognized officers, police chiefs, and a 911 dispatcher. But K-9 units are also an important part of the work police departments do to keep their communities safe, which is why we’re recognizing a member of Blaine’s K-9 unit this week, Rex!

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Eagan Police Department

Today, I wanted to share the most heartwarming story I’ve seen to date. Last month, Eagan Police Officers received a report about a 12 year old boy who had all $137 of his lemonade stand earnings stolen when he lost his wallet. Even though his wallet was eventually returned to him, it was completely empty. The officers said that his story stood out to them because he had worked exceptionally hard to earn that money and because of the theft, all of his work was about to go unrewarded

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911 Dispatcher Marty O’Hehir

On April 16, 2020 at 12:30 PM, State Patrol Operator Marty O’Hehir received a 911 call at the Regional Traffic Management Center in Roseville from a man in his mid-30s who was driving around the Twin Cities. Traveling on I-94 at 100 mph, this man told O’Hehir he was determined to kill himself by either driving off the road into a ditch or up to Duluth and into a lake.

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Lakes Area Police Department

This Thursday, my team and I are continuing our #ThankACop initiative by sharing another story about the important work our peace officers do to protect us and our families 24/7, 365 days a year.

Last Friday, a 14-year-old boy fell down into a 50-foot chimney at Chisago Lakes Middle School shortly after midnight.

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Officer Arik Matson

On January 6, 2020, Officer Arik Matson (Age 32) and two other Waseca police officers responded to a call about a suspicious person. The officers did not know on that cold and snowy night that the suspect had an active warrant for arrest relating to drug charges. They also did not know that he had previously been convicted on felony burglary, additional drug charges, and accessory to murder. And, worst of all, they did not know that he was in illegal possession of a weapon.

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Rochester Police Department

Hope Fuse is a non-profit organization in Rochester, MN that helps connect young children with mentors, and they recently sponsored a day of fishing for children in their community and local Rochester Police Officers!

As Hope Fuse’s founder Manasseh Kambaki explained, the program was meant to help break down stereotypes and allow an opportunity for children to interact with local law enforcement officers: “We want to make sure that the kids understand that not all police officers may be what we see in the TV or the news, but there are good people out there. At the end of the day, police officers, myself and people in different career fields are humans. So the goal behind us partnering and collaborating together so that the youth can build that trust within our law enforcement.”

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Chief Jim Coan

At the end of July, Centennial Lakes Police Chief James “Jim” Coan retired after serving the communities of Circle Pines, Centerville, and Lexington for 9 years. Chief Coan’s retirement marked, in total, 42 years of service as a law enforcement officer.

Chief Coan grew up in Escanaba, Michigan. His father was a police officer, and both he and his brother followed in their dad’s footsteps. After attending Michigan State University, Chief Coan earned a Master’s Degree in criminal Justice.

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Elk River Police Department

On Wednesday, my team and I launched #ThankACop to support and recognize our law enforcement officers for all they do for our communities each and every day. 

In addition to highlighting individual officers weekly as they protect their communities like we did yesterday, we will be sharing stories of the important work and service that law enforcement officers contribute to our state. 

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Officer Jason Falconer

Yesterday, my team and I launched our #ThankACop initiative to support and recognize law enforcement officers for the work they do to help our communities.

As part of this campaign, we will be highlighting individual officers each week and the important work they do to protect and serve Minnesotans. First up is Officer Jason Falconer, an American hero from my home district (MN-06).

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