2nd Precinct PAC: August meeting notes

The meeting was called to order at 6:10, with 17 in attendance.

A bit of history: To many of us, 311,  the portal to most non-emergency city services, seems like it’s been around forever.  Actually it took until 2003 before technology advanced enough that 311 was even possible.    Before 2003, Minneapolis had more than 20 call centers, but no way to link them.  Coordination was impossible.  Once the mayor and city council decided to move forward, a new telecom platform was installed, and the program began.  It’s still evolving.

Our speaker was Leah Skjefte who is the 311 Program Aide who takes care of community engagement and keeps the office running smoothly.

Ms. Skjefte began by listing  the current 311 call center data:  hours have expanded so we now have staff taking calls  M-F 7AM – 7PM, S/S 8AM to 4:30PM.  All other hours staff out in the field check incoming messages left by the public.    311 now has language prompts to handle calls coming from our diverse city.  There are now 25 agents including 6 agents who work from home (which is the backup plan in case the main office can’t be used for some reason)  The center also has 3 supervisors and 3 part time analysis who also run reports for other city offices..

311 agents field some 360,000 calls a year as well as 40,000 email reports and requests.  All calls are recorded and kept for 6 months.  Complaints are kept for 7 years.  It’s reassuring to hear that about 70% of the calls are people seeking knowledge, not people with complaints or problems.  (“How can I find …?”)  Texting will soon be added as a means of communication with 311 agents.

Good news:  Minneapolis information records and databases are being brought online.  Open Data Portal is already on the city website and live.  Soon the 311 knowledge base (KB) will be open to the public and accessible from the website.  Citizens will be able to search and find the documents the agents are using to answer incoming questions.

Calls and complaints are seasonal and pretty predictable:  In winters people are concerned about icy or unshoveled sidewalks; in the summer  people report tall grass and weeds.  There are even predictable “Cute” events:  a big surge every spring and summer is calls about ducklings that need to be rescued from storm sewers.  (They take off the grate, put on their waders, step down and reach for the ducklings.)

The difference between 911 and 311 is:  If a person is in danger or a crime is in progress, always call 911 immediately.

The biggest groups of calls are vandalism, landlord issues, graffiti, potholes, abandoned vehicle, reports, and a very special program called “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” which supports military members who are finding it difficult to transition back to civilian life.   Clearly, the 311 agents can’t actually offer social services, but staff is able to start the ball rolling to get these people access to the several resources they need and deserve.  There’s a little more about the program here:  http://www.beyondtheyellowribbon.org/minneapolis.html
Police Reports with 311 – Vandalism:  If you find your car was damaged overnight, and the damage is less than $5000, 311 can handle it.  You’ll still have the case number you need to file an insurance report.   In every case, the agents at 311 will break a call down to see if you need MPD or not.  Everyone in  Traffic Control has an iPad and they have the “nearest officer respond” rule.

Landlord issues:  These should often start with a 311 call or email.  The agents will walk you through the steps but if you want city response/action for your problem, you must file a complaint.  If there is no complaint, the city can’t act.

Graffiti and pothole complaints: these are good for mobile apps because  you can easily  send a picture.

Reports of abandoned vehicles:  only about 5% really are abandoned.  Towed vehicles are held for 15 days in the city impound lot; after that, the vehicles can be auctioned, but Ms. Skjefte quickly added that the Impound Lot is willing to work with a person who is trying to get his car back.  Be aware that storage fees are $18 each day, after the cost of the tow.

STATE OF THE PRECINCT: Inspector Loining announced staff shifts are continuing in the MPD:  John Delmonico will be moving to the 4th Precinct.  Jack Kelly will be in the Juvenile Division.  Lt. Mike Sandeen from Robbery will be taking Delmonico’s position on the night team.  Lt. Witzman is coming the Second after working on the mounted patrol.

Crime in the Eastside is down by 1.42% for the year, with the profiles generally following U.S. trends.  Sexual assault is up by 11% and the question remains if people are reporting more than they used to report because of the city’s effective outreach to victims.  Robberies are down compared with 2015.  Agg. Assalt is down 5.5%; Burglaries down 4%, Domestic calls are down 15%.  In the last 2 weeks, there have been 4 robberies in the precinct, including 2 by juveniles.   August 3 saw a strongarm robbery but the next night there was a robbery at gunpoint by two adults in their early 20’s at 724 Central.  The month also saw 4 assaults, including one of an officer, and a sexual assault in SE that began with an interaction at a NE bar.

Ending on a very good note, an officer working at Central & Lowry returned a stolen bike to its owner and arrested the thief — good police work!

Inspector Loining thought the Open Street event went well. Officers, CPS and attorneys were busy people at many NNO events.

Inspector Loining shared the calendar of community events with PAC attenders. Amplified sound is scheduled (so far) at 12 events between July 29 and Sept. 25.  More may be added.  Officers are  busy monitoring protests and marches, welcoming students back to school, leading off dog walks and other charitable events, monitoring Gopher events, brewery taste nights, church festivals, and more.

New developments:  the Second Precinct will be issuing a quarterly newsletter about the Precinct.  He didn’t suggest the date of the first issue.  The  MPD has 2 classes graduating by the end of the year with a total of 52 new officers, so we’ll be seeing some new faces at the Second.

Anthony Bilges has completed jail time, but Ms. Becker recommended keeping him on the watch list for a while longer.
Cody Corbin has a hearing on 08/15 and is still trespassed at the Lincoln St. address.  Kevin Foster has 3 open cases and has a pretrial on 09/01.  Jarid Jovanovich is still in custody waiting for omnibus hearing on 09/06.  Dae Nisell pleaded  guilty and will be sentenced at the end of August (still need impact statements from victims).  Ryan Pilarski did not  respond to his bench warrant.  Michael Weston-Rose has an open bench warrant.  Ashley Sage has a hearing coming up.
Osman Amin has completed his jail time, remains on probation to 06/15/2017.  James Zaccardi remains on probation until 10/23/16.  Michael Zaccardi is on probation until 10/20/17.
There were no updates on Jerome Darkow, Johnny Hall, Daniel Heacock, Bryan Holmes,  Curtis Laroque, Albert Moen,  Jason Tucker.

July Minutes: approved.  Treasurer’s report: $1058.84.

Old Business:  None

New Business:  A NE Neighbor reported a frustrating incident in which a neighbor had a recreational fire late at night and near a combustible wooden fence.  The MFD did show up to put the fire out, but one of the firemen said they all they could do was put fires out, not file complaints. Because this does not seem to fall in line with a handout shared by our CPS’s, after the meeting, Emilie Quast asked Inspector Loining and CM Reich and Gordon to help us understand the city and state directives.  When I get some responses, I’ll send them along.   FFI: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@fire/documents/webcontent/wcms1p-091363.pdf

Adjourn (forgot to note the time, sorry) 7:30 or so


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