The March, 2015 meeting of the MPD Second Precinct, Precinct Advisory Committee began at 6:10PM, with 20 in attendance.
TOPIC: The newly expanded Police Chaplain Program
SPEAKERS: Assistant Chief of Police Matt Clark, Second Precinct Lead Chaplain Bruce Pinke, and Second Precinct Chaplain Brett Miller.
Chief Clark began with a explanation of the revised goals of the program.
The most important goal is better use of the chaplains’ skills and time. Previously, most officers only knew one or two chaplains in the service, so there was no basis for bonding and support. With the chaplains now assigned to a precinct, the officers and the chaplains can get to know each other. Moreover, the chaplains are assigned to a precinct where they are already part of the community, so at least some of the residents already know them, which is another bonus.
Chaplains Pinke and Miller briefly shared their backgrounds and talked about their jobs.
Bruce Pinke spent over 20 years in Africa working as a missionary. Bruce serves with Hope Ave., a ministry among homeless which is hosted by Elim Church in NE Minneapolis [which will be the topic of a future PAC meeting]. He worked as an Emergency Response Chaplain in Minneapolis, doing ride-alongs in squad cars to learn about what officers’ work is like, their stresses and other factors. He was a responder when the bridge collapsed. He spends about 1 week each month doing death notification (a ride along program) offering what he calls “Psychological first aid” on those trips.
Brett Miller is a pastor at SE Christian Church on 15th Ave SE. He is very aware of the high stress in officers’ lives as they must be mindful that anything can happen in any situation, so one of his roles is to give the officers an “ear to talk to.” At the same time, residents facing a crisis also need help, and, in this role, he can serve as a bridge between officers and residents. Being an “ambassador” in the community will help the media image of the police.
Asst. Chief Clark emphasized the strong bond that can develop between chaplains and members of the MPD, and noted that his children were baptized by his Precinct chaplain.
One very important point about this program: The chaplains are mentors and coaches. The come from many religious backgrounds and are not there to promote any religion. Instead, they will ask, “Are you a member of a faith?” and “Is there anyone I can call for you?” Above all, their job and calling is to help people in need, not to promote an agenda.
Under the current program, chaplains are expected to accompany officers in their squads, to learn the officers’ opinions of what’s going on in the community. Chaplains attend roll call at the precinct but they also attend community meetings.
Another role for the chaplains in this program is to accompany officers as they enter a high tension situation, for example where a shooting has occurred. They have gone door-to-door after a stabbing to give residents a true picture of the event and to dispel misleading gossip and speculation.
The program has a 6-8 month window for integration into the precinct. The program kicked off in July, so it is now fully operational.
Assistant Chief Clark then spoke about Second Precinct staffing. We have lost staff to retirement, but after the last recruit draft, the Second Precinct is up by 2 officers. Clark commented that Inspector Waite is very good at selecting officers who will fit in. We can expect to lose another 4 or 5 people to retirement but 30 cadets are in the 6+ month program and 20 more are making lateral moves which has a shorter training program. The staffing low (several years ago) for the MPD was 776 officers but we’re now over 800 with a goal of 860 officers. Candidates are showing up who represent the cultural diversity of our city.
The MPD is very aware of the rapid population growth in the University area and others. That population growth and the department priority to achieve a response time for in-progress crime of under 3 minutes give a real push to hiring the larger staff needed to keep everyone safe.
Giving a nod to Nick and Susan, A.C. Clark emphasized we also need more CPS’s and other FTE staff.
CURRENT PRECINCT REPORT:
Four people are leaving the precinct, but the Second will be getting four new people from the recruit draft.
We had a homicide at the NE Palace Bar. The suspect and the victim knew each other and there was little danger to the general public. Two neighborhoods had an uptick in daytime burglaries, but those seem to have stopped with recent arrests.
Spring break starts Monday, and Nick is hoping for a quiet week. SE only had 3 thefts in the last week, which was a drop. Nick is working with new student housing managers, some of whom haven’t been too receptive.
The Second Precinct is watching the Frozen 4. We won’t know until the 22nd if the U makes the playoffs — if so, there will be a heavy staffing need. Spring Jam is the 4th week of April and preparations are being planned. The newly open Surly has been relatively quiet. There are more problems coming from the Green Line than from Surly traffic.
We are reminded to phone 911 for a crime in progress.
Coming events: Don’t miss the Second Precinct Open House, May 11th Monday 4-7pm. The robots, horses, bomb squad robots, and other units will be there. There will be a bike and helmet raffle, free food and popcorn. If you want to participate, please contact Sgt. Mota at the Precinct.
Block club leader training is on May 28th from 6:30 to 8PM in the Precinct. CPS will offer this program on every other month.
POLAR PLUNGE REPORT: The police plunge was the first week of March. Among the jumpers was Inspector Waite.
COURTWATCH: no names added and no names deleted.
A request for impact statements is coming in a separate memo.
Next PAC: April 13, highlighting Parks Programs
Adjourn 7:35 PM