Feb. Report, Part 2: Introducing Inspector Sean McGinty and State of the Precinct

Our speaker tonight is Joni Hodne, 911/MECC Assistant Director for the City of Minneapolis Emergency Communications.

[Here, Emilie had to leave to handle an administrative issue. In the meantime…]

CPS Ali reported on response to “noisy parties” motorcycles, and a long list of similar issues. Before, complaints went from 911 to the Crime Prevention office, which can’t issue citations or impose penalties. Complaints are now going to “Environmental Health”, which can measure noise and send out citations.

Dan Miller offered CPS Ali an update on Stinson Parkway speeders, a project they had worked on together. Miller responded that speed is down. With the city 20 MPH limit, if someone is driving that that no one else can go faster, but with the new limit, people are now driving 25-30 MPH, instead of 35 and up.

QQ about deploying squad cars: the construction on 15th Avenue SE on the former McDonald’s site, is now pumping concrete. He often sees a squad parked there all day just to keep traffic away from the truck access. Is that part of the program?

AA Insp. McGinty: this is happening all over the city. Utility and construction companies hire off duty-officers to keep their workers safe. So, “Does the City pay officers to guard private property?” The answer is no. They are being paid by the private companies because they are off duty. BUT there’s a bonus. If an officer is working for a contractor and a Priority 1 call comes in nearby, the officer signs off the private job to respond to the Priority 1 call. This is a good way to have more cops nearby in the precinct.

QQ Because of construction, sometimes streets are blocked all day. Do they have to have some kind of a permit for that?

AA: Sometimes they may need to just pop out their orange cones as if there’s an emergency situation. If it’s a question of long term activity, they apply for a permit with the street dept. For a big pour, like a slab, trucks may be rolling in all day.

A compliment to CPS Rashid Ali, who conducted a security review at the Village Townhomes, pointing out places where a landscaping change could improve residents’ safety. Thank you, Rashid! The townhouse committee will be acting on your suggestions.

QQ: Some neighbors are concerned about shopping at the Quarry. Crime has been reported in the paper. Is any of that connected to the camp at the SW Corner of the parking lot?

AA: CPS Ali: There have been events, but the people there just want to “have a place” and to be left alone. The camp will be disbanded, but there’s no date of that yet. It’s an ongoing conversation. The MPD is concerned with keeping all people safe. We’ve worked on trash removal and similar issues. One goal is to make sure these people can qualify for subsidized housing which will solve the camping issue. So far, the camp has not had major problems.

STATE OF THE PRECINCT

Inspector McGinty: Current state of the Precinct and plans for the immediate future.

Inspector McGinty: We’re at 50 patrol officers, which is half of what we had two years ago. We have no one on the community response team, only 2 people working on property crime, 1 Crime Prevention Specialist. Each shift has only 15 persons, so we have 6 or 7 to patrol the entire Second Precinct. We have no extras to cover people who are out for extra training or for sick leave.

Lt. Nelson and Inspector McGinty have expanded overtime details and use our crime analysis unit to deploy resources intentionally. We don’t want officers just driving randomly around.

Hiring is a challenge for all police forces around the metro area. We have authorization to have trainee classes of 40. Not enough people sign up to apply, and some of those who do sign up don’t pass their background checks.

A lawsuit has been filed against the city to get to 735 and we’re a long way from that number. Finding recruits is not made easier by public by comments from some elected officials and others. All officers want to know they have the support of elected officials.

The current officers have been working without a contract for nearly 33 months, which makes it harder to attract recruits. Entry pay is in the mid-$20s to low $30s, which isn’t attractive. A contract will tell people what they’re signing up for. Hopefully the city will sign that contract by the end of the month so things can start to move up.

My job is to make sure our 50 cops keep working for the 2nd. Lt. Nelson and I will create an atmosphere where officers feel they are supported. The 2nd Pct. is a place where officers will meet the standards set by Chief Hoffmann, Lt. Nelson and I for treating our citizens with respect. We’re also watching so officers don’t take on too much overtime — they need to be rested and healthy so they can step up to doing their difficult job in a professional manner.

Right now, if you take senior officers (20-30 years’ experience) out of the equation, the average officer is 1.5 to 2 years in the Department. They are well-trained but still relatively new to the MPD and to the Law Enforcement profession.

The Inspector and Lt. Nelson met with the three new City Council members in early February; we feel the meeting was productive. CMs Rainville and Payne have worked for the city in the Office for Performance and Innovation; all three seem eager to make good things happen in the Second.

Inspector McGinty will attend neighborhood meetings in the coming months to meet people and create new relationships. He wants to hear your ideas, so bring them. He has no problem attending difficult meetings or answering difficult questions. We have to work together to figure out how to use the resources we have to make the good things we want.

We are aware that the Second Precinct grows by more than 40,000 people every year as students come to the U of M. We need to maintain our professional relationship with the UMPD to keep those people safe, on Minneapolis property or on campus. UMPD Chief Clark is a former MPD officer; we have worked together before.

Inspector McGinty announced that Lt. Nelson will be going to the FBI academy this summer. She’ll be gone for 3, 4 months. Congratulations Lt. Nelson!

Quast relayed Crime Statistics for the 2nd Precinct for the period 1/11-2/13, 2022, as reported on the MPD dashboard:

Part 1 Violent Crime: Homicide = 0; Rape = 6; Robbery = 24; Agg. assault = 31, of which 9 were domestic assaults. Total = 61

Part 1 Property Crime: Burglary = 26; Larceny = 231; Theft from MV = 142; Auto theft = 81; Arson = 1 Total= 339 All Part 1 total = 400

The Second Precinct reported 13.47% of all city crime, but that percent is about 60% higher than our normal numbers

CPS Ali: 2nd Pct.residents could cut our crime rate by half if we stop giving people opportunities to commit crime. 70% of car thieves use the car keys left by owners. Most theft from motor vehicles is stuff left visible in the car. None of that needs to happen. Take the keys, clean out the car, and park in the garage if you have one.

Catalytic converter theft can go down if people had cc-locks installed on their converters. Manufacturers are offering new prevention devices including an alarm that is installed on the converter. Another alarm reacts the sound of the converter being sawed off. One alarm lets out 115-120 decibels, enough to stop most people.

Winter “always” brings crime down, but this year, our numbers are going up. Much of that crime can be prevented by residents if they’re willing to take simple steps, now. Know that crime will go up when spring arrives.

Quast referred to a story in the MNDaily that some students don’t want to see people in uniforms on campus (UMPD or MPD). Those of us who have been around longer do not want to see the work coordinated by the two police depts. lost.

Inspector McGinty assured us that the MPD/UMPD professional coordination and friendship will not be dissolved.

Probation Officer Ihrke reported on the success of law enforcement lobbyists in the State House. The MN Senate passed a bill supporting $1Million to support recruiting and incentives. There are other items involved with this bill; front line worker pay is tied up in there also. It does give hope. The $1M bill has passed the Senate and is going to the House.

Back to business in the 2nd Pct.: In the last month there were 21 felony assaults, 1 felony burglary, 5 felony drug cases, 1 kidnapping, 2 crim-sex, 1 property damage and 1 felony theft. That’s 32 felonies charged in the 2nd Precinct last month. Additionally, there were 57 arrests in January.

The courts are figuring out how to streamline the court system. They use in-person sentencing only where there is a presumptive sentence. Jury trials and hearings leading to a conviction are being done on Zoom. The 4th Judicial District courts are catching up.

Adult corrections population is down to about 80 people. Two years ago, we had almost 400 in there.

Probation is being re-evaluated, however. Minnesota spends about $600,000 annually on probation and supervised release. Unfortunately, 70% of the people going on probation ultimately go back to jail because their probation was not successful.

There are a lot of problems with the process and we expect a lot more changes in the future. Minnesota does save money by not incarcerating people, but people are not making a lot of progress. More change is coming because of this.

Lt. Nelson reported for Mpls. Attorney Okoronkwo that everyone on his charge list has been charged. He is waiting for Court dates.

Adjourn at 8PM. Find Video at https://youtu.be/dzAMtJi1OvE

Emilie Quast, Board member, MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council e-quas@umn.edu

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