A Twin Cities man didn’t even want his family to know that he was the person behind one of the most unique websites, Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages in Minnesota: mnpoliceclips.com, a site that monitored law enforcement on scanners and posted clips. It was an indispensable site for reporters, but it also was a modern-day throwback to when people bought scanners to listen to the local gendarmes.
Because nobody knew who was behind it, nobody knew that he had colon cancer.
Jeff C. Sandell, 39, died in his sleep at his home near Buffalo, apparently hours after posting his final clip — a police chase in Rogers, the Star Tribune reports.
In an interview Sunday, Nancy Sandell said her son was passionate about keeping his association with mnpoliceclips.com secret, even to the point that she didn’t know what he was doing until about a year ago, after the site was several years into its existence.
“He just told me one day, ‘Mom, you should check out this site,’ ” she said. “I had not a clue.”
Jeff Sandell used six or seven scanners to track law enforcement from a home he shared with his 83-year-old grandmother, Nancy Sandell said, adding that the fascination with police dispatches was rooted in the Sandell family home as he grew up in St. Louis Park.
“We all listened to police scanners as a kick,” she said.
As big-city newsrooms in the Twin Cities scaled back on staffing over the years, reporters and editors found Sandell’s work valuable in assessing an incident, sometimes making decisions on coverage based on what was heard.
Sandell’s father also died of colon cancer.