Nov. Report: Who’s Supporting our Supporters?

Our speaker tonight is MPD Officer Conan Hickey.   Officer Hickey is a  former Eastsider who was  president of the Audubon Neighborhood Association while he lived here.   He is now a  board member of the MPD Police Officers’ Federation.   He will be talking about how the Federation supports Officers’ well-being. 

We had planned to have him speak with Lt. Catherine Michal  who is in the MPD Health & Wellness Unit.  The MPD H&W directly supports Chief Arradondo’s “Call To Action” which he presented in his July 2020 report to the Police Oversight Commission.  [EQ:  Please see the url for that below this report along with  the Labor Agreement between the City of Mpls and the Police Officers’ Federation.   Support for officers’ psychological well-being has been there for a long time — it’s not anything new, but it is receiving more attention and public support now.]  

EQ wrote, “We had planned…”,  but Lt. Michal was needed elsewhere and she sent her notes  to Officer Hickey to present for her. 

Fortunately, Officer Hickey IS here to let us know what the Federation does and does not do to support officers who are having a rough time.    Officer Hickey attended PAC as a representative of Audubon, and also as a police officer.  He has served as a police officer for 20 years, seven years in the MPD.    Just this year, he was elected to the Police Federation Board.  As a Board member, he’s been doing outreach to the communities, explaining what the Federation is, what its goals are, and trying to answer questions people might have.


WHAT IS THE POLICE FEDERATION?

Basically, we are a union just like the teachers union, SEIU, and others.   The biggest difference is that we can’t strike.  I’ve heard a lot of charges against the Federation, for example: we block policy for reforms or change.   That is absolutely not true.  I’ve heard that we pushed back against body cameras, and that is not true.  

What we are doing is advocating for officers.  We’re looking out for the  well-being of officers and protecting their benefits — again, this is the work all unions do.  We do look at policy changes and proposed rules to make sure that changes don’t put officers at risk, legally or otherwise.  We look at changes to make sure new policies or changes are in agreement with what’s already there.  We don’t want officers to get into trouble for doing their jobs. [EQ:  or trying to  follow conflicting rules?]

Another Federation duty is to represent  officers in dispute, just as any other union would do.   The Officers pay dues and are entitled to representation through the union or through MPPOA (Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association) is a state organization that can represent officers. 

We are accused of defending “bad cops”.   What we do is to go through procedures and make sure that, if a cop is going through a disciplinary action, everything is being done using accepted procedure, and that any discipline that might come down is fair and equitable.   Again: this is what members of any union expect from their union.

The Police Federation’s biggest roles are  ensuring fair treatment and having Christmas dinners. 

COMMENT from an AFSCME union member:   When we voted our union in, we called for wage equity  — that University people should be paid a wage comparable with wages of people doing the same job in industry or business.   After the union was successful  in achieving that, the Library Director asked for a comparison of library faculty wages and wages for that level of work in business.   The fall out was that full librarians also got raises, because of AFSCME’s work for its members.   Union negotiations  can lead to benefits that “trickle up.”

QUESTION: Are there rules about supporting political candidates:  Hickey:  we have a bizarre situation with political candidates.   They want our help, but don’t want to have to acknowledge that help.  

QUESTION:  How many members does the union have, and does it only represent Minneapolis police?  ANSWER:  Membership is limited to MPD officers [and now Community Service Officers, see below].  We have about 280  officers, plus Sergeants and Lieutenants.  Membership is closed to MPD staff above Lieutenants, which is comparable to “upper middle management”
QUESTION:   How many members of the MPD actually live in Minneapolis?   ANSWER: The Star Tribune did a report a couple of years ago, and found that 8 or 9% of the MPD lived in Minneapolis.

QUESTION:  Was there any reaction that you can share about Union members making political statements, posing for photos or similar. ANSWER:  this is constantly being discussed because it’s a balancing act.  We have no pull with the media.  If we put out a statement, it can be twisted.   If it’s printed, the media can pull part of the statement out which will shade, if not change the message.  Our position on an event can be easily misconstrued.   That conversation is happening almost every day.

QUESTION: Does the union feel it has some work to do to change public perception after the last President’s campaign?   ANSWER: Yes.   I went door knocking for Fight for our Heroes, a group that was trying to inform voters what the real-world consequences of defunding the MPD might be. People often wanted to know how Kroll was still the Federation President! 

QUESTION:  I can relate to that.   I also started a new job and drinking out of a fire hose is the way to describe it.  Two questions:  First, are people in the Federation only officers  or are there members who have never been officers?  Second, Our church recently decided to hire an officer for safety.   Is that kind of work covered by the Federation?    ANSWER:  First, Membership is open to officers including Lts and Sgts.  We recently did open membership to Community Service Officers who had no representation.   Second, your arrangement with the officer is between your Church and the officer.   The Federation has nothing to do with it.

QUESTION: What do Community Service Officers do?  ANSWER:  They do non-enforcement work.  They wear a darker uniform with no weapons.   They do critical work that is necessary to keep things running smoothly, like taking cars into the garage for service and bringing out a replacement, taking certain types of evidence to the BCA,  helping  with search warrants, and more.  

MPD HEALTH & WELLNESS UNIT

Officer Hickey presented Lt. Michal’s description of the MPD Health & Wellness Unit which she leads.

The MPD Health and Wellness unit focuses on the MPD goal on Employee Wellness in Mind, Body and Spirit.   They are not part of the chain of command which is important.  Some officers would not approach the H and W if they thought their boss could hear about it. 

Health and Wellness rests on four important directives.  They:

1) Provide Professional Health & Wellness Support Services to ALL MPD Employees.

2) Deliver education on Available Benefits and Resources to  ALL MPD Employees.

3) Ensure Easy Access to Available Benefits & Resources to ALL MPD Employees.

4) Create and Maintain partnerships with other Health & Wellness Professionals.

Staff includes 3 paid professionals, the Lieutenant, the Mental Health Coordinator, and the Health & Fitness Coordinator.   They are supported by 42 Sworn and 8 Civilian volunteer Peer Support Team Members, whose work is to push resources to employees who need to use them.  Their time is spent conducting topic research and on-site presentations, classroom presentations, and follow-up to visits and presentations   Services provided fall into three broad categories: Training & Education, Outreach & Connections, Resource Access. 

TRAINING & EDUCATION – Psycho-education training, wellness resource education and referrals to employee benefits.   Services provided include:

  • Weekly MPD Spouse Support Group
  • Monthly Female First Responder Support Group (Police-Fire-EMS)
  • Traumatic Event / Critical Incident Debriefings (CISM) This is for when an officer is involved with a shooting, for example.  This is a debrief that is completely separate from the debrief conducted by the department.  The outline is What Happened? How did that play out?, and How is that affecting you?
  • One-to-One support Sessions
  • Defusing Sessions
  • Returning Employees Wellness On-boarding Sessions
  • Peer Support Team Training
  • In-Service trainings
  • Academy Trainings (Recruits & CSO’s)
  • Promotional and Leadership Program Training

OUTREACH & CONNECTION – Services provided include:

  • Biometrics & Flu Shot Clinics
  • Chiropractic Care Clinics
  • Weight Loss & Nutrition Programs
  • Local Physical Exercise Facilities and Services
  • Therapy Dogs Services
  • MPD Chaplain Services (13)

The Chaplain Program consists of 13 Minneapolis clergy and faith community leaders, representing a variety of cultures and faith traditions.   Their mission is to provide spiritual care and support services to members of the Minneapolis Police Department, and to their families, in times of need.

RESOURCE ACCESS – The MPD Wellness App (CORDICO) is the main platform for providing access to wellness resources.   The Wellness Unit monitors and updates this platform on a regular basis to ensure it is operational and up to date.

2021 INITIATIVE HIGHLIGHT – Free Mental Health Care through MEDICA Insurance — 10 free Mental Health Care visits for all MPD First Responders and for each of their dependents.

This new service has helped officers and family members process exposure to the following:

Repeat calls involving traumatic events (Suicides, shootings, child victims, etc.)

Critical Incident Calls

Illness and death of family members and/or co-workers

Social issues

QUESTION: How do you move someone who may need help but  sees accepting help as displaying weakness, to actually accepting help or perhaps seeking it?    I’m thinking of the reports of suicide by officers who failed to keep the January 6 protesters out of the U.S. Capital, but that is only the most recent (and widely publicized) example of  warrior culture gone toxic.

Hickey:   Yes, there is a barrier and I’ve had that.  Since I’ve gone through that experience, I use my experience and my stories to help other people through that barrier.   After the riots, I was working with people several times a week telling them  “You need to talk to somebody.”   If they said they didn’t want to talk to anyone, I’d let them know I had an appointment with [someone he trusted] the next day, and offered to introduce this person to the person he was concerned about. Even if they just spent the time staring at each other, Hickey’s goal was to start the process.  He believes that it’s very important for a person to hear a peer saying “I’ve done this.   You need this.  Just go in and get it started.”  He believes that for some officers, the only way to get them started is to hear that a peer has done it and knows what “talking to somebody” can do.

——————————————————————— 
EQ: 
As background for this meeting, I pulled up several documents including Chief Arradondo’s report in July 2020 to the Police Conduct Oversight Commission.  https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/Download/CommitteeReport/1383/2020.7.14%20PCOC%20Full%20Minutes.pdf  or tiny URL  https://tinyurl.com/5fktvajx   See especially Chief Arradondo’s comments on the Early Intervention System (EIS), History of EIS, pages  3-9: “designed to provide intervention and/or wellness tools”, city phones have an ” MPD wellness app”,  which “provides resources … [access to] trusted therapists, peer support, MPD health and wellness unit, chaplain support, medical support, human resources support”  and continues.  Startlingly, Chief Arradondo noted the  prevalence of suicide by First Responders across the U.S.  He commented on the need [eq: since met] to find funding for equipment like body cameras and similar recording devides.   He noted that these health  resources are available to all MPD employees, sworn officers and civilians. 
I also looked at several clauses in the Labor Agreement between the City of Mpls and the  Police Officers’ Federation, which speak to psychological well-being.   I will say that the contract strongly supports any officer who feels a need to step back.  This contract expired at the end of 2019 but since a replacement hasn’t been accepted by vote, it is still in effect. Article 26 speaks directly to officer response to critical incidents.  Several other articles are supportive of officers who need to step back.  See:    https://www2.minneapolismn.gov/media/content-assets/www2-documents/departments/wcmsp-200131.pdf  or Tiny URL
https://tinyurl.com/hns335u7
Additionally, people have contacted me to suggest resources including a few that civilians can contribute to.   Check the Minnesota 100 Club  (https://mn100club.com/) ;  Heroes Helping Heroes  (https://heroeshelpingheroesmn.com/) ;  the Minneapolis Police Foundation  (https://www.minneapolispolicefoundation.com/) ;  the Minneapolis Mounted Police Foundation  (http://www.minneapolismountedpolicefoundation.org/)
QUESTION:   How does one rise to Lieutenant level?   First you rise to Sergeant level, and then there’s a battery of tests: written, an interview,  and an assessment where you are presented with a series of scenarios: “What would you do if you had to resolve this situation?”  “How would you set up this schedule?”     You work at the Sergeant level for 5 years, shifting around to get different experiences, like patrol, investigation experience, and others.   Then you take  tests to be considered for rise to Lieutenant. 

Minnesota requires a 2-year college degree for admission and then you go through a “post program” which is another two years.   “POST” stands for Police Officer Standards and Training.  [He started  in California, which is different.]  When you are POST Certified, you can apply to be a police officer.   If you are hired by MPD, SPPD, Highway Patrol, you next go through their training, which is another 6 months, to cover their firearms training, their defense training, state laws and city ordinances, information systems, record keeping, and more. 

Thank you Officer Hickey and Lt. Michal.
If readers have more questions about this presentation, please send your questions to me and I’ll forward them to the Officers.

STATE OF THE PRECINCT


Per the MPD Second Precinct Crime Dashboard for 10/9 to 11/7/2021:Violent Crime:  (0 murder)
Rape           4; Robbery     27; Agg. Aslt.   19   (includes domestic Assault 7)        
Total           50 

Property Crime:  (0 arson)
Burglary         47; Larceny        202; Theft fr.MV     91; Auto theft       55

Total             304  but my calculator says 395.   Apparently either multiple crimes happened at certain incidents OR officers changed the charge but didn’t erase the first report.

Our city wide percentage puts us at  only reporting 7.74% of the city total,  but just  looking at violent crime, we are reporting twice the number we had in 2018.

Crime concentrations are highest in Marcy Holmes along University Avenue all the way to St. Paul.   Additionally there were reports along 10th Ave SE.

In NE Mpls, the incidents were highest along 1st Ave NE, and following  arteries out of the Precinct, especially University Ave NE.

Rashid commented:  There is a portion of crime that we can control:    Burglary,  Larceny,  Auto theft.  We are  still seeing unforced entry of dwellings, theft from unlocked cars, and theft of cars that are left with the motors running.  All of that is mostly preventable.  

We need more officers on the street, that is still true, but we also need residents to take the extra steps like locking cars, doors and windows, to make it harder for criminals to commit crimes of opportunity.   We can bring those numbers down.    He’s calling for participation by residents! 

QUESTION:   Talking about car thefts. a resident was in a store and saw a car running in the parking lot.  She wondered out loud who would leave their car that way; it turned out the owner was behind her in line.  He showed her his remote system which figured into it.  Does Rashid consider that kind of remote safe?

Rashid:  There are only a few remote systems that will turn off if someone tries to open the door.  If you have one of those AND you don’t have anything valuable in your car for the thief to grab that might be OK.    He still prefers that if you want to leave your car running, get a model that can only be opened with a different key.  [Rashid didn’t like that very much either.]   The dealership must install this system.    That will cost you between $500 and $600.  He had it installed on his wife’s car, and tested it himself — it works as promised.
 
Inspector Loining added some detail to Marcy Holmes crime:  The 8th St. Market has been robbed twice in the last few weeks, and there have been robberies  in Marcy Holmes as well.

Inspector Loining gave a shout-out to Probation Officer Holly Ihrke, who has been joining  Safety Patrols in the Dinkytown area.  CPS Rashid joined in, saying “Holly has been instrumental in filling the gap that was left when CPS Juarez moved from MPD to UMPD.   She’s been  identifying our frequent flyers, and  keeping track of what’s going on.  If it wasn’t for her energy and initiative, our probation and prevention efforts would not be as robust as she keeps it.   

COURTS

P.O. Ihrke brought current 2nd Precinct updates. 

Charged felony cases for the 2nd Pct include :   13 felony assault charges, 4 burglaries,  3 drug charges,  3 criminal assaults,  2 receiving stolen property, 5 robberies, 1 theft = so 31 felonies charged total since late August.  [This report comes out quarterly, so it’s not just the last month’s numbers.]
REMINDER:  If anyone has questions about a specific felony, contact her.  She can let you know if they’ve been charged or where they are in the process.

There were no updates from either Hennepin County or the City Attorney’s Offices. 

QUESTION:  Are the Covid triggered health protocols still being followed in the workhouse and the jail?
P.O. Ihrke:  The numbers in the jail are up somewhat since the start of Covid, coved, but  they’re still using conditional release and electronic home monitoring to keep the population down.   The numbers at the Hennepin County Workhouse are down significantly; in 2019 they were over 300 and now they are about 80.  There’s been a big push to get all work-release on Electronic Work Monitoring.   Now people are only going to the workhouse  to serve straight time. 

She continued:   The nice thing about Electronic Home Monitoring is that the people don’t miss work.  It doesn’t interfere if people are receiving medical care.   Another challenge is that there is a housing crisis which affects this too.   If they want to cheat the system and drive around, it will have a negative impact on their sentencing; if they sat in custody, they couldn’t cheat, but could get and transmit Covid, which is why the protocols were written that way.  She thinks that the courts  want to get people on EHM if they have a job and housing. 
GENERAL NOTES: 

Our December meeting will also begin at 7PM.   After that, attenders will vote on which time works better for them.   Do you want Call to order at 6:15, 6:30, or 7 PM.  You’ll be the deciders.
Our December meeting will feature the MPD K-9 teams.     We’ll meet at the same Zoom address, call to order at 7PM.

Finally, I got a surprise note from the person who takes notes and writes reports for the Third Precinct (3-PAC).   I had no idea they’d even continued to meet. and there they are.  The notes are open data, and I can send on to folks who are interested in finding out what 3-PAC is up to.   Earlier this summer, I also heard that a person was trying to restart the PAC for the 4th Precinct.   It’s time to get together and figure out what we can do that will go better working together.   (Note: something like this was tried about 10 or 15 years ago, but I never heard about more than the initial meeting)


Emilie Quast, Board member
MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council (2-PAC)
Minneapolis MN 55418
e-quas@tc.umn.edu

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