Minutes of the 2PAC meeting, 14, Sept, 2015

Start:                            6:15 pm

Introductions:              22 in attendance

Minutes:                      Minutes approved

Treasurer’s report:      NR

Our Speakers were U of M Police Chief Matt Clark, MPD Second Precinct Inspector Kathy Waite, and Kendre Turonie, Coordinator for Off-Campus Living at the U.

Chief Clark joined the UMPD on July 1, coming  from the MPD, where he was second in command.  The UMPD has a complex jurisdiction which includes both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campus.  UMPD is a presence in three Minneapolis police precincts, in Falcon Heights PD, and in one St. Paul precinct. Additionally, Hennepin County and Ramsey County Sheriff’s offices and the State Patrol can be called in to assist in a situation.  To coordinate all this requires excellent communication tools and skills.

UMPD is responsible for some 280 buildings, 3000 cameras (includes Morris and Duluth), 4000 security card readers (card locks).  The UMPD is currently staffed with 51 officers (adding 2 more very soon) and about 160 security guards who are assigned to building security and who serve on the 4-WALK teams.  Headquarters is on Washington Ave., and they have a satellite office.

Student safety is important on and off campus.  Five days a week, there are 75 to 80,000 people on campus, yet the crime rate is relatively low: about 0.2% of the population will be challenged by violent crime.  A weekend may see more than 50,000 people on campus for a game and most people will never be touched by any crime.

When trouble does happen, though, it will be handled on several levels.

The multiple, coordinated police forces that cover the campus areas increase presence and rapid response to 911 calls.  When an emergency occurs, squads respond on a “nearest, first” basis, though the final responsibility for an event belongs to the Police Department whose jurisdiction includes the place where the event occurred.

Additionally, the University holds students to a high level of conduct, whether they are on or off campus.  This has become an effective deterrent to misbehavior.   Rules of conduct are set out in the Student Conduct code.  Violators of the Code of Conduct may be told to leave the U, as some key people in the last Dinkytown riots discovered  (See http://oscai.umn.edu/know-code/scc-simplified for an outline of the code)

Chief Clark identified several focuses for the UMPD: Personal crisis, active shooter, bias, crowd management, sexual assault response.

One of his focuses is dealing with people in crisis.   When he arrived to speak to us on Monday night, Chief Clark and another officer had just talked a jumper off the Washington Avenue bridge.  In this as in other crisis situations, his first “tool” to de-escalate a situation is communication.  This jumper felt he was out of options, an idea Clark succeeded in turning around.  He notes that college age students face many more crisis situations than other adults.  He and his force must be skilled at handling people in crisis.

A second focus is active shooter preparation.  Officers and other first responders personnel can stage practices for this among other emergency situations.  Non UMPD  University staff members are educated with talks and videos.

A third concern to Chief Clark is “Implicit Bias” training.  The premise for this is that, without being aware, most people are biased in many ways.  Once you can identify those biases, you must neutralize them so that you can handle situations evenly.  The training program, “Fair and Impartial Policing”, a program developed by Laszlo and Fridell, opens this topic  [FFI see http://www.fairimpartialpolicing.com/people/  — ejq)

Crowd management is a constant on the U of MN campuses.  There is a crowd event almost every week on the U of MN campus.  That the public rarely hears about them is due to UMPD successful crowd management.  If nothing much happens, there is no story for the papers.

Another topic that is receiving focus is sexual assault on campus.  The University is required to investigate all reports of assault; there is an on-call investigator to make sure this happens.  The “U Can Tell Us” program has been strongly promoted because of the belief that sexual assault is under-reported on all campuses, not just the U of MN.

Inspector Waite’s report on the Second Precinct.

Inspector Waite continued with a reference to the increase in rape cases, noting that the majority are situations involving known offenders.  She hopes the increased in reporting of rape is due to the empowerment of victims and the programming in place to support these victims.   Thus the number of incidents has probably not increased, but the number of reports has increased.

Inspector Waite also noted that the crime rates in SE Minneapolis do not follow the city trends.  In SE, crime increases in the fall but drops during summer.  This is exactly the opposite pattern for the rest of the city.  MPD flexible response means that the Second Precinct is getting more help from the other precincts during Fall Semester.

Because most students live off campus, crimes against students tend to happen in the areas patrolled by officers from the Second Precinct.  Most violent crime occurs between 11 PM and 3AM.  Frequently, the victim’s awareness is impaired by alcohol.  Many have their cell phones out, which serve as a beacon light to people who want to steal them.

Inspector Waite would like to educate parents of U students so they will  help educate their kids to practice safe behavior.

Kendre Turonie, Coordinator for Off-Campus Living at the U, spoke to Inspector Waite’s comment, reminding us that Student Engagement office runs an education program during orientation.  She added that there is a Parent Communication Program, which is a good  route for messaging, especially for the first year parents as they are often in close communication with their student. Typically, this is done by email. It is harder to reach students after the first year when they move off-campus. Off-Campus Living is trying to do more outreach via social media to current students as door knocking is not as effective with this group.

Turonie further explained the on-campus housing situation:.  There isn’t enough room for all 40,000 University students to live on campus.  Only 6900 student beds are available, and the 6500 freshmen are strongly encouraged to live there; 80% of the freshmen do.

Nick Juarez has received training for a new program on personal safety.  Contact him at nicholas.juarez@minneapolismn.gov  to find out his schedule.

Second Precinct Court Watch Summary – Sarah Becker, City Attorney

Removed : Evans was removed from the watch list.  Becker found no one to add to the list.

Old business:  None.

New business: PAC Chair Larry Ranallo reminded attenders that the annual December 24th dinner for first responders is coming. This will be our 32nd meal event.  Last year we served several hundred of the first responders who were working on December 24th (and 25th).  We begin working on this event very early in December and need volunteers to make phone calls, pick up food donations from commercial kitchens, and more.  Watch these announcements for first notice of a planning meeting or contact Emilie Quast to volunteer (e-quas@tc.umn.edu).

Next 2PAC meeting: Oct 12th at 6 pm.

Adjourn: 7:42 pm


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