How will MPD keep Minneapolis streets safe this summer

On Jan 9, 2023.  6:35 PM,  we opened with 11 attenders

“How do we keep streets safe when  . . . ”   and “Why did they . . .?” and “What were they thinking?” are questions Eastsiders ask when we see news about our neighborhoods.** 

Inspector McGinty opened the presentation.   The Inspector doesn’t understand why people shoot fireworks at other people, either.   Roman candles are dangerous enough, but now they’re shooting things like mortars at other people; fireworks can seriously hurt or kill people.** 

When the Eastside  has events, they’re big:  The Northeast Parade, Spring Jam, U of M Homecoming,  July 4 fireworks on the River. The hockey team is highly ranked, so we may get some action there.

The Inspector, Lt. Nelson, and people from the city are developing plans to contain and tamp down the mayhem. 

It’s important to know that we have a map:  these events have happened before, and we know where they’re likely to emerge again. For example, Main Street was the site of a lot of action in 2022. Last year’s events brought in hotrodders,who raced up and down streets and circled through neighborhoods.  We reduced traffic, directed it away from that area, turned a through street into a cul-de-sac. 

Some residents near Main Street would prefer we turn that into a cul-de-sac again when the weather gets warmer. The redesigned park on the Main Street bluff draws foot traffic to our end of the Stone Arch Bridge.  Residents want that park to draw in people on foot and on bikes.  No one should be dodging cars to get through the area.  The Second Precinct needs resources to handle this;  it’s the Inspector’s job to make sure we get those resources from the Chief and the Commissioner.

Minneapolis has investigation teams that work all over the city.  The teams rarely have to cross the river, but the Inspector and Lt. Nelson will be bringing them over as events get scheduled.*

A new local restaurant and bar, Stepchld [sic], and Hyde sometimes have events that  get disruptive. We haven’t heard much from them lately, but in spring and summer 1st Ave and NE at University is often a site of loud events in lower Northeast.   We expect that again this spring.

We succeeded in closing a nightclub at 308 East Hennepin.   It had opened as a boutique, but actually was an unlicensed strip club and bar. With a lot of help from community members, working with city licensing and with CM Rainville, the 308 was shut down.   They have not resurfaced yet — at least not in the Second Precinct.  [EQ: the new protocol for Precinct-related 311 calls, like loud parties in bars,  sends community member 311 reports directly to the Second Precinct.   This gets info to the right people right away.]

The cycle starts up soon, opening with hockey, then Spring Jam, Graduation and on.    We know who acted up last year are likely to come back this year.   We have to stay ahead of this.

Focusing on the University area, the Inspector and Lt. Nelson meet with the University of Minnesota Safety Coalition every other week, to exchange info with the Coalition and the UMPD.***

We want people to come back to the U of M to celebrate successes, but to do it safely.  We don’t need people shooting mortars and we don’t need 14, 15, 16 year old kids just tooling around.   We want people to come in and safely enjoy our restaurants, bars and more.  Street races are not part of that.  We want to build Minneapolis back to where it was with entertainment districts and more.  We want these districts to flourish.  Entertainment in Northeast and Southeast is a big part of the Second Precinct.   We want it to be safe.

QQ: Operation Endeavor is working well Downtown.  Is that pulling any of your officers away?  

ANS: Endeavor was built by the Commissioner.  The Gun Investigation Team was a big part of that at first, but they have a new “React Team” that goes out with the Gun Team to bolster that unit.  They’re also training my “younger” cops [i.e. officers with only 2-7 years on the force] who want  experience.   Two officers from the Second go over for 90 days.   They get extensive training.   The team has an embedded city attorney who teaches the officers to write reports that will get cases charged.  They learn how to write up the cases differently and better.  It’s a great trade off:  I lose two cops for 90 days and they come back better trained and excited.   They pass that on to the others.  The first two just came back, and we sent two more.   We’ll continue to rotate officers through the program.

Two 4-week public reports are available here:  https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/mayor/issues-and-priorities/public-safety/operation-endeavor-report/

REACT was covered in FOX-9 report here:https://www.fox9.com/news/inside-operation-endeavor-how-minneapolis-pd-is-working-to-fight-crime

QQ How’s recruiting going?

ANS: The Chief and Asst. Chief are starting an outreach, going into communities, offering culturally specific citizen academies.

MPD is trying to get into the schools.   Teachers and parents want the next generation of officers to look like the people who live in the city.  Where do you recruit?  In the schools.  The catch is that the Teachers’ Unions don’t want MPD in the schools.

QQ: Bike Cops for Kids program was a recruitment tool.  Will it be revived when there’s enough staffing?

ANS:  The funding stopped when the program couldn’t be staffed.   The truck was sold.

BUT

The Chief has a new idea for a similar program:  He’s talking about getting a similar vehicle and sending that to encampments with social workers, medical and addiction help and more.  NARCAN distribution might be part of that.  It would be a one-stop shop vehicle for the homeless, similar to Metro Transit’s HAT program.

About the Quarry Camp closing.  When the camp was closed, there were six people actually there.   It had been more of a daycamp.  The closing went smoothly; there were no confrontations at all. [https://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-clears-homeless-camp-near-quarry-shopping-center/600239634/]

Two days before, the camp had people with machetes, wearing masks and shields and so on, which is why the chief pulled back. Those were NOT people from the camps; they were protesters who came when they thought we were coming.   When they didn’t think we’d be there, the protesters weren’t there.  Earlier, when the temps were deadly cold, 2nd Precinct cops were taking people into their vehicles so they could warm up; protesters weren’t there to help the campers but the MPD was.  On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there were no protesters. When the news cameras were there, the protesters were there too.   On the day we didn’t come, the protesters left at 2:30 and didn’t bother to stick around.    The Quarry is about the last “legacy camp” in the city.  The closing was very successful. 

Reference to the December 2-PAC presentation by Lt. Nelson and P.O. Ihrke which outlined all the social services that the county, the city and NPOs  bring to the camps as soon as they know about them.   The work is amped up when a closure is announced, but there is always help available.  [Find the Report: https://courtwatch2pac.com/   put  ENCAMPMENTS in the search box]

The inspector replied, Lt. Nelson and I have been working on this for over two years.    We’ve never used force or had to use it.  We’ve never arrested anyone.   There have been a lot of successes.   It’s always important that it’s the whole city [and others] involved.  It’s never just the police department on its own.   We get to know these people well. 

STATE OF THE PRECINCT

Crime Dashboard report for previous 28 days from Jan 9

Crime20222021
Assault5578
     Incl.Domestic Agg. 714
Burglary1824
Vandalism prop.destruction4239
Homicide, non-negligent00
Homicide, negligent00
Larceny theft141170
Robbery430
     Incl. carjacking08
Sex offenses43
Stolen property offenses14
Weapon law violations36
Gunshot wound victims02

In the December 12 2-PAC, we called attention to the significant drop in crime as reported to the MPD Dashboard.  On January 8, the Star Tribune page 1 headline also called attention to the drop in crime in Minneapolis.

Inspector McGinty:  If we could do something about theft of Kias and Hyundais, the numbers would be down further.   66% of our stolen cars are those two, over 2000 in Minneapolis since the TicToc video on stealing Kias and Hyundais came out.  The MPD has clubs [steering wheel lock] and will be giving them out.   Lock your cars.  If you have a garage use it and lock that too.

QQ any chance we’ll have an open house this year?

Ans:  I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t.   We had the parade last year, and it’s a positive thing for the 2nd Pct to do.

QQ from CPS Ali, Have you heard, or do you know anything about 4 neighborhoods in NE Merging?

ANS from Karl Smith past president of SE Como:  The city has reduced n’hood organization funding.  N’hoods are considering joining with others so they can support at least one organization director.   The support had been over $50K a year for each n’hood, so they could support a director.   It’s now down to $10K   It still varies a bit depending on the size and needs of the n’hood.

Historically, n’hood organizations were volunteer organizations.   It’s going back that way, which is more difficult for n’hoods that have high transient populations like student renters.

An Audubon resident added:  the Work for Teen Challenge and the Audubon Association are working to get grants.

QQ: About Kias and Hyundais, and about catalytic converters: what would make them harder to steal.

ANS   Kias and Hyundais are easy to steal because there’s a USB port in the steering column for cars from 2014 to 2019.   The manufacturers haven’t done much about it.  Locking the cars up, preferably in a locked garage with a club steering wheel lock is the best we’ve got so far.

Converter thefts go up and down.  We’ve tried to get some legislation passed to make scrap yards more responsible.   People are pulling up with 30-40 converters for sale.   Unless you own a muffler shop, you have no reason to have that many.   That didn’t get traction in the last legislative session, so we’re trying again.  Senators  Dziedzic and Champion are trying to get legislation to deal with the  hot rod exhibition drivers.   If we can’t stop the behavior with impounding vehicles and issuing fines, we’ll go with  legislation.

COURTWATRCH   HCA Sandra Filardo reporting.   We’re transitioning because we have a new County Attorney, Mary Moriarty.  [https://www.cbsnews.com/minnesota/news/mary-moriarty-pledges-transparency-when-she-becomes-hennepin-county-attorney/] That’s going well. 

Mpls City Atty Nnamdi Okoronkwo:   pretty much the same thing.   The new city attorney is  Kristyn Anderson.  She is deep into civil side of the office.    Generally, it’s still business as usual.  [Kristyn Anderson info:  https://www.startribune.com/kristyn-anderson-to-serve-as-minneapolis-city-attorney/600204956/]

QQ:  subject for consideration:  Paul Welch and KARE-11 have been reporting on people who have committed felony crime, been arrested, negotiated release, and continue to commit felony crime.  We’ve had discussions at 2-PAC about how people who are in jail can’t do much work toward rehabilitation.   We had a discussion about having to empty the jail because of Covid (in 2020 and on). 

Ihrke:   The news media report the failures, but they don’t report the successes.   They are not giving the public the full picture of  what is happening.    BUT  Probation is redesigning  a lot of policy.   There is a push in the legislature to give Community Corrections more money this year to expand programs for which we have evidence of effectiveness. 

She added that the Dept. of Community Corrections is adding more domestic units.  That will lead to approximately 20 more officers assigned to domestic cases, felony and gross misdemeanor cases.   Because of the results Hennepin and Ramsey Counties are producing, the legislature is looking for money to get these programs out to the rest of the state.

*https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/departments/police/investigations/

**https://kstp.com/kstp-news/top-news/july-4-weekend-ends-with-mayhem-in-minneapolis-7-hurt-in-boom-island-shooting/  ;  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9v0fmJZYsw  ;  https://www.fox9.com/news/police-3-women-were-injured-by-fireworks-on-university-of-minnesota-campus ; https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/minnesota/articles/2022-07-04/18-year-old-man-dies-in-minnesota-fireworks-explosion

*** History of the Coalition: https://mndaily.com/273986/news/umn-parents-hope-to-combat-officer-shortages-show-support-for-police/ ; the Coalition’s home page:  https://campussafetycoalition.org/events-and-initiatives

Youtube video of the Zoom meeting https://youtu.be/FU2CKk7oSQc

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s