February 2-PAC notes

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 by chair, Larry Ranallo; 27 people attending.

Our speaker this month was Sgt. Chris Karakostas, who leads the Cold Cases unit in the MPD.

Sgt. Karakostas opened with a bit of background:  he worked in the Second Precinct a while ago, in Property Crimes.  He then moved downtown to work on Robbery, and worked on a case that he couldn’t stop thinking about.  That persistence finally led him to Cold Case investigation.

Starting with a definition: no case is “cold” until the Homicide Unit stops working on it..

What re-opens a case to the Cold Cases unit?  One thing that will bring a case out of the files is new technology that did not exist when evidence was gathered.  If new tests can show something that wasn’t apparent before the case went “cold”, those tests should be run.  Many of the cases C.C. investigates are 15 years old. A lot of technology has been invented in that time span so there is a lot of new evidence now available, waiting to be looked at.  Whether or not it points to something is a different question.

Question:  Is a lack of staff a problem?  There is always plenty of work to do, but lab testing is what takes time.  Most lab work is returned in a 3 to 6 month window.  A 6-week return is really lucky.

How cases work in the current environment:  Before 1990, all police work was done on paper.   Cases were physically “handed off”– the paper folders files changed hands.   Reports were often held in someone’s office in a grocery box, and sometimes the grocery boxes went home with an investigator who  wanted to put  in additional time as he could, or because he was afraid something might get lost in storage.  Consequently,  Sgt. Karakostas’ first task  is to find the complete report.

Then, because officers think about cases, he will interview the officers who handled a case.  That sometimes leads to recovery of memories, suggestions, or notes.  Witnesses think about those cases too, and when  they can be located, Sgt. Karakostas will interview them again.

All Bureau of Criminal Apprehension  reports must be retrieved and reviewed so that Cold Cases knows how evidence was tested.  Destructive testing used to be the norm,  but newer technology requires samples even microscopic in size, so is less destructive. It’s still not possible to test “everything”: think of all the places DNA could be found on a jacket.

Pre-computer record keeping was disjointed: Property Evidence kept a master inventory but Downtown didn’t have a copy.  [Now it should be a shared file–EQ]  There’s another new issue with current technology:  keeping electronic access up to date.  Like libraries and hospitals, police records must be periodically transferred to a new medium as access technology is upgraded.

What Cold Cases detectives look for:  What doesn’t fit the picture?  Sgt. Karakostas showed pictures of bloody messes, and noted that no lab can get usable data from that cross contamination, but then showed a picture of a single drop of blood on a cardboard box:  no contamination = just one source and clear evidence.  With luck, that one drop will put a suspect at the murder scene.  That’s a promising  step in finding the right person. There might be evidence that someone washed up in a sink; the sink trap will yield testable evidence.

Closing an old case, bringing closure to give people peace of mind is a satisfying event.

[Check http://insidempd.com/cold-case-files./  for cases still pending — EQ]
State of the Precinct.  Lt. Mike Sanden attended to answer questions.  The Lt. emphasized that it is important to always call, even if you “aren’t sure” because that is what reveals crime trends in the Precinct.  He emphasized that if you see something, focus on getting a description, which is the best help possible for responding officers.

Looking at  the numbers from the Second Precinct crime summary, year to date and comparison with 2016:

Part 1 crimes:

Reported Rape  for 2017 is 12 (2 in 2016) and
Aggravated Assault is 24 (14 in 2016).
Robbery is down by 50% and we have had no homicide in the Second precinct this year.  Total violent crime is up slightly, 13;95 %, at 49 (up from 43 in 2016)

Property crime is up by 8.97% especially auto theft which has almost doubled.

On the enforcement side Total Part I arrests are also up by 39%,  but Part II arrests are down very slightly, (to 119 vs 121 in 2016)    To February 13, 20 weapons were recovered, up from 6 in 2016 for the same period.  The new “foot beat” program has started, with a leap of 360% this year, from 78 in 2016 to 359 this year.  We’ll see in coming months how that works.

Courtwatch: Sarah Becker and Deb Russell were both reporting:

Jerome Darkow in custody until 5/18; Kevin Foster found incompetent, next hearing 4/17; Johnny Hall was on probation but committed a new 5th degree drug charge this month; Daniel Heacock next court date is 2/28/17; Jarid Jovanovich was found competent and has a pretrial hearing in 2/17, will stay in custody; Albert Moen has multiple warrants out; Dae Nisell is in civil commitment, Ryan Pilarski is in custody in St. Louis County and will be sentenced on 3/9/17; Ashley Sage failed a treatment program and was admitted to another program with increased supervision; Jason Tucker violated parole and has been moved into a treatment program.

No updates:  Cody Corbin, Bryan Holmes, Curtis Laroque,  Robert Schroeder.

Removed: Osman Amin, Jerome Darkow, Michael Weston-Rose

Added to courtwatch:

Kenneth Nelson (Felony Drugs: 5th Degree possession, of Schedule 4 naracotics and cocaine.  He has had 3 other contacts in the 2nd Precinct and a long conviction history including motor vehicle theft, 3rd degree burglary and felony terroristic threats)

Jason Enrico: Felony check forgery (stole checks from a roommate and cashed them) and 5th Degree possession  of heroin at 300 Broadway NE traffic stop.  He has had 1 previous arrest for narcotics, convicted of receiving stolen property.

Paula Heille: Felony 5th degree possession of meth in the SAE n’hood, 4 open driving offenses.  Previous convictions Fel 5th degree possession, MDS check forgery, Fel Burglary aid/abet.

Ismail Mahad:  Arising for disorderly conduct at Pizza Hut in Dinkytown, also traffic stop at 1700 University, used a false name, small amount of mj.  He has been arrested 5 times in 2nd Pct in one year: traffic, marijuana, false name.

Old Business:  January minutes were accepted.  The treasurer was absent.  Emilie put in another call for old timers who might remember how our December dinner was supported.  Larry suggested Bill Lloyd as a source.

No new business.


Feb. PAC: Cold Cases: Detective Work in the MPD

The Minneapolis Police Cold Cases unit is not  new, but it had not had the money it needed for several years until Sgts. Jane Moore and Chris Karakostas relaunched it in 2015.  Sgt. Moore investigated departments around the country and created a “best practices” research strategy that keeps investigations rotating.  Sgt. Karakostas had pursued a case he began as a beat cop, working it through to indictment.  After that, the FBI gave the MPD funding to keep him on  cold case work. The unit is now a joint effort of the MPD, the Hennepin County attorney’s office, and the FBI.

To learn more about MPD Cold Cases, how determination and science can solve decades old crimes, join us on Monday, February 13, at 6 PM for the monthly 2-PAC.  Sgt. Karakostas will explain why he does what he does and how he makes it work.  We’ll also have an update on the State of the Precinct, new Courtwatch cases to consider, and more.

We meet at Monroe Village Apartments Community Room, 1900 Central Ave NE.  There is plenty of free parking on Central and on cross streets.  This information meeting is always free, and we want to see more new faces.

Emilie Quast, member

MPD 2-PAC Board

2-PAC January 9 notes

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 by Dorothy Bode, 27 attenders.

Inspector Loining opened with a brief report on the Precinct:
Per the Star Tribune summary report, crime was down in the 2nd Precinct by 2.15%, and down 5.85% in the 1st.  Good 2nd Precinct work reported:  one Friday morning  4 vehicles were stolen in the 2nd Precinct–all had been left idling and unlocked.  However, within hours all four vehicles were recovered, and suspects were in custody.  One of the suspects, a juvenile, had left evidence in 5 stolen vehicles.  In a second incident, 2 officers stopped a  burglary in progress on the 1600 block of Washington NE; officers found the suspect hiding nearby with an axe (tool used for  forced entry); suspect was one of our habitual offenders.  Two officers inspected a suspicious vehicle and found an individual living in it; the person had an open warrant.  In a 4th incident a victim was approached by 15 individuals, who threatened the victim, but fled when someone driving by saw and just stopped the car.  The men fled, and an incident report went out with good descriptions of the attackers  One individual matching the description was found soon after on the light rail and had the victim’s wallet on him.
While  it is illegal to leave a car idling  at the curb, this is OK in vehicles with the kind of automatic vehicle starter which kills the engine when a random attempt is make to move the car.

Staffing is increasing after losing 11 in the last 8 months.  We now have 62 sworn officers and 89 employees, total.
Our speaker this month was Lt. Joanne Sellner, Metro Transit Police.  Metro Transit is an agency of the State of Minnesota, that is responsible for public transportation in an 8 county area; the area is divided into East and West  Commands, with the River as the dividing line.  As it has regional authority, it can over-ride local authorities.  The agency was established in 1993 by State Statute 473.407.  This was amended in 2008 giving the MTPD the authority to take law enforcement action on events that are not transit-related.  As things stand, an initial arrest is done by the Transit Police unless the local officers are told otherwise.  Investigation, in contrast, is the responsibility of the local officers unless they authorize the MTPD to investigate.  The same rule applies to both arrests and investigations – if it’s a crime related to Transit, MTPD should be handling it. The difference is that it’s easier to assign the appropriate agency after the initial information has been collected and the crime scene is under control.
The MTP has grown in the last 4 years, from 68 to 112  full time officers, from 62 to  100 part time officers.  They have 12 Community Service Officers, and 12 administrative positions.  However they are still short-staffed with only 0.4 officers for every 1000 passenger rides (contrast with MPD at 2.18 officers per 1000 residents and SPPD with 2.05 officers per 1000 residents).  They also have 6 K-9s trained for explosive detection.  A special team is skilled in crash reconstruction.

Increasingly, Metro Transit Officers are a first point of contact for many of the poor, the ill, the homeless who need social services of all kinds.  Many social agencies hand out Metro Transit free passes to their clients so they can travel from one agency to another.  If they have a crisis on the bus or train, it’s a Metro Transit officers who are likely to have the responsibility to take charge of the situation and get the individual into the service stream.  Transit authorities also have the responsibility  to provide safe and secure transportation for large groups of people after a large scale disaster or a mass arrest.  Finally, the Mpls Public Schools use Metro Transit passes to replace a lot of big orange bus service.

Cold Weather Protocol:  Don’t kick people off.    If someone  is causing problems, drivers have a direct line on the bus to request help, and passengers can also phone 911.  The response is faster if the driver reports, but the driver, of course, also has his hands full of “bus”.  If you see something, say something.  the MTP has about 150 calls/day but most are very low level.  Perhaps 20/day pertain to assault/fight/property crimes.  MTC knows which crimes to expect on what routes and at which stops.
MPS Student Transport: In general this goes well.  The MTP used video training which helped a lot, showing youth what to expect and what is expected of them.  It does put a lot of kids in a vulnerable position, and the MTP has taken precautions to minimize risk to this group.
Crash Reconstruction:  The dept now has 15 technical crash investigators and 5 reconstruction experts.  Note that when trains hit people or bicycles, this is NOT considered a “motor vehicle” incident.
Reporting incidents:  When you call to report something, observe and stay on the line.  Note if it was one or more people, where they acted, what direction they went,  and if on foot, by car or bus?  What they were wearing including hat cap, hoodie, colors, jeans, pants, skirt   Always try to see shoes because people may change their clothes but most won’t  change their shoes.   Height, build, skin color, hair color, and anything else that completes a picture.
Final thought from Lt. Sellner:  This is your community.  If you want crime to stop YOU have to help.
Contact Lt. Sellner  at 612.349.7265; (CELL) 612.290.4238, or joanne.sellner@metrotransit.org
COURTWATCH:  Osman Amin, new trespass on 12-23, arraignment on 1-25-17.  Jerome Darkow, 1-17-17 probation violation hearing.  Kevin Foster, found incompetent, next hearing in April.  Danel Heacock, next competency evaluation is 2/28/17.Jared Jovanovich,  in custody in Anoka, Hennepin issues come after Anoka’s.  Curtis Laroque,  in custody at ACF  until 1/24/17.  Albert Moen has a bench warrant out.  Dae Nisell, also found incompetent, next competency evaluation is 4/4/17.  Michael Weston-Rose, open bench warrant.  Ashley Sage, progress:  she has resolved all her cases, pled guilt to 5th degree drug possession, on a 13-month stay 3 years probation,  and has been admitted to  the Eden Program, next hearing is 1/18/17.  Jason Tucker, release & on parole to 3/17/17.
Nothing new: Cody Corbin, Johnny Hall, Bryan Holmes, Ryan Pilarski,   Robert Schroeder.
Removed: James Lee Zaccardi, Michael James Zaccardi.
Old Business:  12-24 dinner recorded over 140 guests, but 4 head counts were blank so probably there were more.  This is very good for a Saturday 12-24 since many more restaurants are open on Saturdays despite the holiday.  Commercial donors to this event out-did themselves; people who donated their time before, during and after the event were equally generous .  We also received cash donations from  some wonderful people.  If you have ideas for improvements, want to nominate new places to request  for contributions  offer personal time, or have any other suggestions, contact Emilie.  We always want to keep the event fresh.
New Business:  we’re looking for people who were involved with this event in earlier years.  Does anyone have a list or memory of who the donors were 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30+ years ago?  We’d like to give loyal donors some recognition.
Next 2PAC meeting: February 13, 6PM at Monroe Village Apartments Community Room.  Our speaker will be Sgt. Chris Karakostas of the MPD Cold Cases Program.
It’s free and interesting.  Please join us.

2-PAC January 9

Start the New Year with up to date information about our city.  Ten times a year, the MPD Second Precinct Advisory Committee (2-PAC) brings in a speaker with information about services most of us don’t know enough about — services that improve livability east of the river and services that keep our crime statistics low.

Join us this Monday, January 9, at 6PM.  We meet in the Monroe Village Community Room, 1900 Central Avenue NE.  There is always plenty of free parking on Central Avenue and on the nearby cross streets.  19th and Central is a bus stop too.

Our speaker this month is Lt. Joanne Sellner from the Metro Transit Police.  This police force is responsible for the 4th largest jurisdiction in Minnesota, working in 8 counties and 85 cities. The force includes 111 full-time officers, 76 part-time officers, 12 community service officers, 16 administrative staff, and 4 K-9s, including Merle who has his own video.  The department has a (CSO) Community Service Officer training program for people who are studying to become law officers, giving them some hands on experience before they are ready to be sworn in.  The department partners with civilian groups (MADDADS is one) and services that raise awareness of sex trafficing and  other abusive behaviors.  One more unusual service the Transit Police offer is  supplying bus evacuation and transportation after disasters or any time when other emergency responders need to move large groups of people quickly. You can find out more about the Officer Training Program and about Merle (with his human partner) here:


We’ll have time for a 10-minute Q&A period following the presentation.

Inspector Loining will present the State of the Precinct report.  If you read the Jan.5 S’Trib, you saw that violent crime in the Second Precinct fell by more than 2%.  The charts on the webpage are different, but say the same thing.  (The story is focused on scare statistics and pretty much ignores us.)

Courtwatch will resume after a month long break, so attorneys Sarah Becker and Deb Russell will help us catch up.

Our business meeting will include a brief summary of the 33rd noon to midnight  dinner for all metro area first responders working on 12-24.  We formally extended  that to include breakfast rolls and sandwich and salad lunches for people working at the Second Precinct on 12-25.

We’ll be in the start of a warmup next Monday, so join us and bring a friend.

December 24 at the Precinct

Dear Minneapolis Eastside neighbors,

The 2nd Precinct Advisory Council coordinates a special Christmas Eve event for the Minneapolis Police Officers and all other Emergency Responders who are on duty on December 24, serving and protecting Southeast and Northeast Minneapolis.

These are the people who work 365 days a year to protect us.  On this special day, when most of us are at home enjoying a peaceful day with friends and family, these people are putting in a full shift, working for us.

34 years ago, two friends were enjoying a walk on the 24th and realized that all the lights were on and people were working at the Precinct, as usual, on the 24th.  That didn’t seem right.  The friends spent the year planning how to make a special Thank You for the next year.  They contacted local restaurants and other places requesting ideas and donations.  33 years ago, it all came together with a Thank You buffet for the officers working on the 24th of December.  The event became a tradition and this year, we’re counting 33 years of Thank You events which depend on the generosity of Northeast and Southeast residents and businesses.

While the restaurants and other commercial kitchens are very generous with donations of food, it takes more than that to put on an event like this.  Right now, we’re doing our final inventory and looking for donations to fill in the gaps.  We’re short of some paper and plastic supplies, and looking for help to purchase them.  Can you or your neighborhood organization make a contribution to this fund?

This project depends on people to back up our 5-person 2-PAC Board and to back up the volunteers who have already signed up to transport donations to the Precinct and to work 2-hour shifts on the 24th.  If everything goes well we have barely enough people.  If someone gets a cold or has car trouble, we need backup.

If you find you can help by making a direct donation, please contact Emilie Quast  at the address below.

If you can donate time by picking up donations on December 23 and 24 (non-perishables only on the 23rd or before) or by putting in a 2-hour shift late on the  24th,  again, contact Emilie.

Thank you for all you do for our community. Happy Holidays to you.

Contact: e-quas@tc.umn.edu

December meeting: Plan our dinner

As always, our meeting will be in the Monroe Village Community Room, 1900 Central Ave NE, at 6 PM.

Purpose of this meeting: to inventory what has been promised so we know what we are missing and can figure out how to fill in the blanks.
People already working on donations and outreach need to report how far many confirmed donations they have lined up and how many confirmed workers.

Also, we have people who are would like to do pickups on the 23rd and on the morning of the 24th. What donations are organizers willing to give to others to pick up?  When do the donors want this picked up?

People who have signed up to do something  for the event in advance, on the day, or follow up, will want to check on how many slots are filled or begging

People who want to learn more are welcome to just come in, listen, and offer your opinions about whatever.  You’ll probably be surprised at how much you already know; we hope you’ll share that with us.

November 2-PAC report

2-PAC Meeting, November 14, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 by chair, Larry Ranallo.  21 people attending.

Sgt. Jeff Carter, who leads narcotics investigation at the 2nd Precinct, asked to give a brief presentation before the announced agenda.

The narcotics officers are is requesting more tips and reports from the public.  Unless citizens partner with the MPD in (drug) crime prevention, the police can’t be as effective as they need to be to keep our community safe.  “If you see something, say something” is the lifeline for crime prevention especially in narcotics. Remember we are all safest when we have crime “prevention”  long before anything happens, rather than “enjoying”  four minute response after something bad has already happened.

Why?  All police need information from the public so they know where to focus their attention.   To prevent drug crimes, look for:   cars stopping at a residence or a street corner and leaving in minutes; neighbors or idlers who can afford expensive items without a job; windows blocked out; unusual smells in the area; observed exchange of packets or small items.

Don’t ignore the feeling that something “isn’t  right.”  Instead: document it.  Make a log; note date, time and what  attracted your attention.

IMPORTANT NOTE: do not report suspected drug crimes to 911 or 311.  Instead, phone directly to the precinct at 612.673.5702 to leave a message for Sgt. Carter, or hand in or mail in a written report to the Second Precinct at 1911 Central Ave NE, 55418???.  You may prefer to contact our CPSs,

You are assured that however you contact the Precinct, the person responsible for drug control will get the message and your privacy is assured.  Leave a contact number because he may want to clarify something you’ve reported.  Don’t expect immediate response at the site of action, because the narcotics team must do its own investigation, which will take time. When they move, it’s a full out effort.  The point is that our officers need help from the public to know where to look, what to look for, when to look the most.  Be assured they want to be the ones on the witness stand, for you.

Drugs are very big business all over the world, including in the 2nd.  In the last year, they have made 34 arrests, confiscated $87,000,  24 firearms, and 8 vehicles.  They know they can improve on these impressive numbers if they get more lead time from citizen input.  The goal:  Drug dealers will hear that they’ll be targeted and hammered in the Second Precinct.


Inspector Loining reported that 2nd Precinct crime is down 6.5% overall.  Rape reports were up by 1 which is a statistical rise of 1.5% Robberies or people or businesses were down 4.2% with 19 fewer.  Burglaries were down by 18 which was down 4%.  Three good  pieces of police work in the 2nd this month: on 11/9 a victim was approached by four people and shot while fleeing, but gave the officers a good ID; suspects were soon arrested in South Mpls.  10th and 7th St. SE: two victims had a good ID, officers made an arrest based on the car ID.  An Officer spotted a suspicious vehicle  and rand the tags, which led to the arrest of 2 people with warrants in the stolen car.

Inspector  Loining asked that people holding public and larger private events be sure to call the precinct.  The officers want to help, to increase community outreach, to check on safety and  security issues, and more.

SPEAKER: CASIDY ANDERSON, What to do before the EMTs arrive?

Casidy Anderson:  This is the season for so many home emergencies, but what is the order of steps to take if someone chokes on food, falls off a ladder, or has another emergency?  Ms Anderson assured us that most calls for help get a response in 3.5 to 5 minutes, so the order is:

1) Phone 911 and stay on the line while the call asst. takes your information.  Know the call asst. is transmitting information WHILE YOU ARE TALKING TO THEM.  They will ask some questions several times, to verify that the information you are giving is correct, especially the location of the emergency.  Stay on the line until they hang up.
2) Make sure the Responders can get to your location.  If you are in a security building, send someone to let them in and lead them to the right unit in the building.  Put all dogs in a separate room (even the little ones)  and unlock entry doors.

3) Turn to the victim and make sure they have unobstructed airways.  If they are bleeding profusely, use a clean towel and apply pressure to the wound.
4) Check for a heartbeat.  If you can’t detect one, start chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute.  This is the action that will prevent brain and other organ damage.  Mouth-to-mouth breathing has pretty well been discredited: it does something, just not much.

5) By this time, the EMTs should be walking in the door, and they’ll take over.

Preparing for future emergencies:
1) If you are concerned that a person may be a hoarder, know that this habit can interfere with efficient  EMT response.  Advocate by reporting this to 311; your name will not be released.  Social services can help assess the situation and provide guidance if it’s needed.
2) Know where medications are kept, especially prescribed medications, so you can gather them and send along with the EMTs.
3) If a person might benefit from closer tracking, Ms. Anderson recommends looking into trackers, like Safety Net (there are several brands on the market)  This is a technology that uses GPS because people with memory issues may not recall where they live.  If someone has blacked out, or has autism or can’t respond for another reason, the GPS is very helpful.
Responders do look for the traditional Medic Alert bracelet or dog tag, though.
Miscellaneous: EMTs are stationed with the Fire Department, but, more important, all firefighters are EMT trained.  Don’t think it’s over-done if your response is by fire department truck. 70% of MFD calls are called for EMS services.
COURTWATCH: Updates from Sarah Becker:

Osman Amin was on probation but has picked up 2 new citations.  Cody Corbin faled to appear on 11-9 and a  bench warrant was issued.  Jerome Darkow was charged with Dome Depot theft and has a probation violation hearing on January 17.  Kevin Foster was found incompetent for trail and was comitted on November 8.  Jarid Jovanovich is still in custody, waiting for trial.  Curtis Laroque will do 60days time, credit for 17 days served and will pay restitution; probation for 2 years. Dae Nisell was found incompetend so civil proceedings are pending.  Ashley Sage is in custody and had two hearings scheduled in November, ,

No Updates: Johnny Hall, Daniel Heacock,Bryan Holmes, Albert Moen, Ryan Pilarski, Michael Weston-Rose still has a bench warrant issued 9-4-15 and is probably out of the state. Robert Schroeder, Jason Tucker, James Zaccardi and Michael Zaccardi.

Old Business: October minutes approved.  Treasurer’s report: $1048.84, approved.

New Business: It’s time to firm up plans for this year’s December 24 dinner for first responders at the 2nd Precinct.  A separate memo about that will follow this note.  December PAC meeting may be called to see what’s missing from the current sign-ups. and volunteer lists.

Meeting adjourned 7:30 PM

To volunteer now for our 33rd  December 24 dinner for On-Duty First Responders,  email Emilie Quast  e-quas@tc.umn.edu