2PAC Minutes, August 10, 2015

2PAC 10 August 2015 Meeting

START: 6 PM – Wings and stuffed mushroom caps from Moose on Monroe (Thank you, Larry!)
INTRODUCTIONS: 22 in attendance
MINUTES: July minutes – approved
TREAS. REPORT: $777.84

Special Weapons and Tactics team is a volunteer unit within the MPD. All officers have additional assignments in the MPD. Our speaker, Sgt. John Scheneman, is assigned to the Second Precinct.

Sgt. Scheneman opened by pointing out that most of what television and movies depict about SWAT operations is not true. The primary goal of any SWAT operation is to diffuse dangerous situations. A successful operation is one in which no one is hurt. Their best tools are experience and training in special tactics to achieve those goals. As a mark of their success, the Minneapolis team is called in for as many as 400 operations each year, and rarely is any operation “news-worthy.”

SWAT normally has 53 officers divided into four teams: Logistics (trucks, ladders, cameras, computers, hard gear), Rifle (primary function is surveillance and reporting, but these are snipers), Entry (close-quarter operations), Chemical placement specialists (tear gas and other chemicals). Negotiators are in a separate unit; Inspector Waite noted that the Second Precinct calls for negotiators every week.

Organization: SWAT members are on call 24/7. They assist special units in the area and also assist the Dept. of Homeland Security. There is a special operations center in the former Emerson School, but most members are now based in the precincts, so a fully trained SWAT team member can partner with precinct officers to head off or contain problems before they escalate.

Before Columbine, street officers were not trained for building entry tactics; now they have some training because trained rapid response saves lives. At Columbine, precinct officers were trained to seal off and stay out of the building until the Special Force could arrive, which took 60-90 minutes. During that time, people were being killed in the school. Current tactics would have officers in the building much sooner, before so many lives had been taken.The statistics underline how important this is. In this country, a person is killed every 30 seconds by an active shooter. Only 2% of these situations ends with a surrender of the agent. The rest end in suicide or are stopped by the police team.

The operating principle is the “Priority of Life Matrix.” If someone is in danger, this team is expected to act first to preserve a citizen’s life. Sgt. Scheneman has combat medic training as do many other members of this team. The team is trained to the highest national standards, including training to combat terrorists.

Every officer is issued standard equipment including a helmet with high tech microphones (sensitive to whispers). Their bulletproof vests will take four direct hits before the garment is penetrated. Additionally they carry field medic kits. (The man who had both legs cut off by a Green Line train was saved by a SWAT medic kit). Other special tools include assault weapons which are designed for police work, not military. Glow sticks are used as silent markers in a building. Noise-distraction devices (Flash-Bangs) are carried for defense of the team; they give an officer 3 to 5 seconds of time to re-position.

Other duties assigned to members of this team include public building risk assessment: identifying risks that would make a building easier for invaders and harder for staff to defend. Many of those suggestions are simple, like “don’t leave security doors unlocked from the outside.”

Sgt. Scheneman and Inspector Waite both affirmed that training and tactics change in response to events like Columbine, terrorist risks, and similar events. Officer training and tactics assessment are ongoing constantly.


There has been a slight rise in violent crime in the Second Precinct. Inspector Waite is especially concerned about Theft from Motor Vehicle and stated the crooks don’t break into cars that don’t have something valuable clearly visible. Additionally, thieves are taking spare tires off the back of Honda CR-Vs and stealing parts from air conditioners. Catalytic converters are also being stolen again. Regarding Burglary of Dwelling: there are several groups of people who don’t report immediately; thus when the officers arrive, it’s a cold case. This is especially true of students, who first talk to parents or friends before they call 911. Latinos also hesitate to call for help. There were 6 aggravated robberies, 2 apparently by the same 4 people. There’s speculation that some of this may be by people who were just released from jail; Probation is tracking them closely. Aggravated assault is also up as victims have been drinking or are on their phones and not paying attention to their surroundings. After dark, cell phone lights are easily tracked by people who want to steal them. Finally, the Second Precinct is getting ready for University move-in issues.

Second Precinct Court Watch Summary

Our new representative from the City Attorney’s office, Sarah Becker, reviewed the current list of people being watched.

She had no recommendations for removal from the list.
Reviewing the new cases in our area, she found no cases that merited addition to our list.

Old business: – None
New business – None
Next meeting: Sept 14.
Adjourn 7:56 PM


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