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May report: 911 today, more changes coming

The meeting was called to order at 6:15, 27 people attending.  

In 2019, 2-PAC heard a presentation on upgraded procedures being used at the MECC — Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center (911).   The events that marked 2020, understaffing, pandemic, protests, riots, and more, suggested that the system had to be changed again, which is exactly how our Emergency Services reacted to vastly increased calls for services.  

Joni Hodne, 911/MECC Assistant Director (Interim), confirmed the systems have been  upgraded a lot — and there are more changes coming.  

911 no longer uses the systems described in 2019.   The communication systems  used at that time  had restrictions that hampered the ability of operators to “fluidly” handle police calls.   Improvements are happening on several levels now, and will be further tuned in coming months.  

Briefly:  dispatchers had been using a scripted list of questions which didn’t yield the kinds of information that response teams wanted.    Instead, dispatchers are now trained to ask callers for information that will better guide responders to the location where they’re needed, and with information that offers the most safety for everyone involved.

Last summer’s high incidence of requests for help taught MECC where the greatest  communication problems and bottlenecks were.  Responses during times of high incidence of calls for help were not  working well during times of high call volume. The Central office needed to greatly improve communications with the dispatch centers outside the city.  

Last summer, the various centers (suburban, county and other response centers) were not able to communicate directly with each other.   When MECC phone lines were overloaded, new calls rolled over to a response team in a surrounding agency, but that  response team couldn’t freely communicate with the geographically closest responding agency.   

While the several command centers are still not all able to communicate on the same computer system (and are probably still several years away from that), the agencies identified the problems of overloaded phone lines rolling to the other agencies.   They developed a workaround that involved a dedicated radio channel for centers to communicate emergency information to other centers.    They also set up phone lines that were available  only to other agencies which allowed calls to flow from agency to agency more quickly than they could in the past.

Developing this relationship with other dispatch centers is helping today.   It will help in the future for both the city of Minneapolis and  for the surrounding agencies when they are the ones who need help to manage a crisis.

An important part of the new changes is new public information programs teaching people when to call 911 for police, fire and emergency services and when to use alternate resources such as 311 (612-673-3000 outside the city) both on the phone and through the city website https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/government-data/request-public-data/  and https://www.minneapolismn.gov/report-an-issue/   and tip lines (612-692-tips).

The agencies are still working on creating a new pilot program for crisis intervention.  This program is in the very early stages of development.   Ms Hodne has offered to return to 2-PAC in a couple of months to give us a further update.   [The invitation is already extended — EQ]

In answer to citizens who’ve called but not seen a response, that does not always mean there was no response.  Unless you’ve seen officers come to the area, you may not notice that they have come, handled the situation and left for the next call.   You probably won’t know what the outcome of the situation is.  

Calls are prioritized, and calls reporting people in likely danger or property damage happening, will always get highest priority.   It’s always people’s safety and property protection at the top of the list.   “Noisy party” is disturbing the peace, but no one is actually in danger unless or until the noise turns into heated arguments and threats of aggression; that makes it time for a second call to 911. 

Generally, responses will be handled  more quickly if injury or property is at risk.  You can always wait a reasonable amount of time based on the type of service needed and call again if the disturbance is still occurring or escalating.

The operator can’t give out information to anyone who didn’t make the original call, so if you want to find out what happened or what the officers reported, don’t ask your neighbor or spouse to call for you.  Operators are not allowed to release that information to a different caller.  Certain information will still be private.   [Our CPSs are willing to look an incident up and release public information to you as time allows.   It’s very helpful if you have your Case Number to share with the CPS — EQ]

As mentioned above, Ms Hodne will be coming back with an update on 911 systems and services after the new procedures have had time to jell a bit.    I’m hoping that we’ll reach that time this coming fall. 


QQ:  Do you work with COPE?

Hodne:  Minneapolis is just one law agency that works with COPE  [FFI: see the opening paragraph here:  https://www.healthyhennepin.org/stories/cope   COPE stands for Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies — EQ]

QQ: another attender offered this important announcement:    Violence Interrupter Contract. The Council has approved contract extensions with the Corcoran and Central Area Neighborhood Development Organizations to June 30, 2021, for continued violence interruption services under the MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative. More details are at https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2021-00278  

EQ:  Thank you very much!  That is a very interesting document!


QQ: We’ve called 311 to report unusual activity in a public park and gotten no response.   We ended up calling 911.

EQ: I contacted Chief Ohotto.  If you have general questions or inquiries, contact: 
parkpolice@minneapolisparks.org    or   612-230-6550 (Park Police Office)
or  612-230-6400 (MPRB Customer Service)IMPORTANT:  All calls for service should go to 911You can request a supervisor’s attention, but that will probably get you a slower response, because Park Police are not on duty 24/7. 

Park Police cover all the parks in Minneapolis, but not residential areas.  When they are not on duty (late nights), MPD is supposed to cover the parks. [EQ:  To complicate matters, MPRB voted to sever ties with MPD last June.   I do not know how that has played out for calls for service in the city areas adjacent to parks property.]

COURTWATCH:   Nnamdi Okoronkwo  City Attorney’s Office, reported that Joshua Poplawski remains in HCJ, waiting for his Rule of 20 hearing.  

STATE OF THE PRECINCT
In the two weeks ending May 9, the Second Precinct reported 32 violent crimes including 13 robberies, 19 aggravated assaults and 5 domestic aggravated assaults.   This is 16.75% of the city-wide total.   We also counted 22 burglaries, 107 larcenies, 36 theft from motor vehicles (including catalytic converters) and 28 auto-thefts.  

Our Year-to-date numbers are 173 violent crimes, which is 11.2% of the city-wide total.
Hot spots in the Second remain Marcy-Holmes, and along University Avenue in both directions.   15th Ave SE and Lowry were also busy. 

Emilie Quast, board member
MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council
Minneapolis MN 55418
e-quas@tc.umn.edu

May 2021 meeting report

The meeting was called to order at 6:15, 27 people attending.  

In 2019, 2-PAC heard a presentation on upgraded procedures being used at the Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center (911).   The events that marked 2020, understaffing, pandemic, protests, riots, and more, suggested that the system had to be changing again, which is exactly how our Emergency Services reacted to vastly increased calls for services.  

Joni Hodne, 911/MECC Assistant Director (Interim), confirmed the systems have been  upgraded a lot — and there are more changes coming.  

911 no longer uses the systems described in 2019.   The communication systems  used at that time  had restrictions that hampered the ability of operators to “fluidly” handle police calls.   Improvements are happening on several levels now, and will be further tuned in coming months.  

Briefly:  dispatchers had been using a scripted list of questions which didn’t yield the kinds of information that response teams wanted.    Instead, dispatchers are now trained to ask callers for information that will better guide responders to the location where they’re needed, and with information that offers the most safety for everyone involved.

Last summer’s high incidence of requests for help taught MECC where the greatest  communication problems and bottlenecks were.  Responses during times of high incidence of calls for help were not  working well during times of high call volume. The Central office needed to greatly improve communications with the dispatch centers outside the city.  

Last summer, the various centers (suburban, county and other response centers) were not able to communicate directly with each other.   When MECC phone lines were overloaded, new calls rolled over to a response team in a surrounding agency, but that  response team couldn’t freely communicate with the geographically closest responding agency.   

While the several command centers are still not all able to communicate on the same computer system (and are probably still several years away from that), the agencies identified the problems of overloaded phone lines rolling to the other agencies.   They developed a workaround that involved a dedicated radio channel for centers to communicate emergency information to other centers.    They also set up phone lines that were available  only to other agencies which allowed calls to flow from agency to agency more quickly than they could in the past.

Developing this relationship with other dispatch centers is helping today.   It will help in the future for both the city of Minneapolis and  for the surrounding agencies when they are the ones who need help to manage a crisis.

An important part of the new changes is new public information programs teaching people when to call 911 for police, fire and emergency services and when to use alternate resources such as 311 (612-673-3000 outside the city) both on the phone and through the city website https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/government-data/request-public-data/  and https://www.minneapolismn.gov/report-an-issue/   and tip lines (612-692-tips).

The agencies are still working on creating a new pilot program for crisis intervention.  This program is in the very early stages of development.   Ms Hodne has offered to return to 2-PAC in a couple of months to give us a further update.   [The invitation is already extended — EQ]

In answer to citizens who’ve called but not seen a response, that does not always mean there was no response.  Unless you’ve seen officers come to the area, you may not notice that they have come, handled the situation and left for the next call.   You probably won’t know what the outcome of the situation is.  

Calls are prioritized, and calls reporting people in likely danger or property damage happening, will always get highest priority.   It’s always people’s safety and property protection at the top of the list.   “Noisy party” is disturbing the peace, but no one is actually in danger unless or until the noise turns into heated arguments and threats of aggression; that makes it time for a second call to 911. 

Generally, responses will be handled  more quickly if injury or property is at risk.  You can always wait a reasonable amount of time based on the type of service needed and call again if the disturbance is still occurring or escalating.

The operator can’t give out information to anyone who didn’t make the original call, so if you want to find out what happened or what the officers reported, don’t ask your neighbor or spouse to call for you.  Operators are not allowed to release that information to a different caller.  Certain information will still be private.   [Our CPSs are willing to look an incident up and release public information to you as time allows.   It’s very helpful if you have your Case Number to share with the CPS — EQ]

As mentioned above, Ms Hodne will be coming back with an update on 911 systems and services after the new procedures have had time to jell a bit.    I’m hoping that we’ll reach that time this coming fall. 


QQ:  Do you work with COPE?

Hodne:  Minneapolis is just one law agency that works with COPE  [FFI: see the opening paragraph here:  https://www.healthyhennepin.org/stories/cope   COPE stands for Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies — EQ]

QQ: another attender offered this important announcement:    Violence Interrupter Contract. The Council has approved contract extensions with the Corcoran and Central Area Neighborhood Development Organizations to June 30, 2021, for continued violence interruption services under the MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative. More details are at https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2021-00278  

EQ:  Thank you very much!  That is a very interesting document!
QQ: We’ve called 311 to report unusual activity in a public park and gotten no response.   We ended up calling 911.

EQ: I originally suggested this person contact Chief Ohotto directly because she is clearly leading a safety initiative in her neighborhood.   I have since contacted Parks Police Dept. Chief Ohotto who wrote the following: 
People with general questions and inquiries should contact: parkpolice@minneapolisparks.org   or   612-230-6550 (Park Police Office) or 612-230-6400 (MPRB Customer Service)
All calls for service should go to 911.
Callers can/should request a supervisor’s attention if they don’t get a satisfactory response.   They can ask for the Park Police Chief, but that may get them a slower response.

Park Police cover all the parks in Minneapolis, but not residential areas.  Park Police are not scheduled 24/7.  When they are not on duty (late nights), MPD is supposed to cover the parks. 

COURTWATCH:   Nnamdi Okoronkwo  City Attorney’s Office, reported that Joshua Poplawski remains in HCJ, waiting for his Rule of 20 hearing.  

STATE OF THE PRECINCT
In the two weeks ending May 9, the Second Precinct reported 32 violent crimes including 13 robberies, 19 aggravated assaults and 5 domestic aggravated assaults.   This is 16.75% of the city-wide total.   We also counted 22 burglaries, 107 larcenies, 36 theft from motor vehicles (including catalytic converters) and 28 auto-thefts.  

Our Year-to-date numbers are 173 violent crimes, which is 11.2% of the city-wide total.
Hot spots in the Second remain Marcy-Holmes, and along University Avenue in both directions.   15th Ave SE and Lowry were also busy. 

Emilie Quast, board member
MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council
Minneapolis MN 55418

April report, part 1: Keeping kids on track and out of trouble

The April topic, the new Youth Justice Council, was presented by Judge Mark Kappelhoff, 4th Judicial District. Judge Kappelhoff has extensive experience in the U.S.  Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division, prosecuting cases of human trafficking, police misconduct, and hate crimes.   He was joined by Adesola Oni, Hennepin County Juvenile Probation, Lisa McNaughton, managing attorney for the Juvenile Court Division, Public Defender’s  Office, and Tom Arneson, Manager of the Juvenile Prosecutions Division, HCAO. 

The Youth Justice Council is a collaborative effort among stakeholders, community members and law enforcement.    They are committed to creating an equitable, fair and effective justice system that produces positive outcomes for youth, for their families and for their communities, which improves public safety. 

Their mission statement:  “To improve and reform the juvenile justice system by eliminating the unnecessary  use of secure detention, eliminating disparities based on race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and providing resources to create effective community-based and culturally appropriate  services for youth and their families.”

The initiative is based on past events in the Hennepin County Courts Systems.   Hennepin County brought in The Annie E. Casey Foundation to help assess what was happening.  In 2005, Reform Juvenile Court Policies, Procedures and Practices led to the creation of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) 

Adesola Oni:   The late 1990s was a time when, all across the U.S., juvenile crime was rising in numbers, and much of it was violent crime.  All across the United States, youth were being locked up for any number of offenses.   The Annie E.  Casey Foundation began to challenge courts to look at what they were doing to youth and what they hoped to gain from it. They found evidence of an over-reliance on detention and institutional responses.   Eventually, they created JDAI, which looked at some of the sites across the country and began the work that led to reducing the numbers.

In 2005 in Hennepin County:

  • About 100 youth per day were put in detention.   As many as 500 youth were in out-of-home placement,   Annual numbers were over 4000 juveniles in detention in a system that didn’t have enough space for that many people.   People were put into detention just to ensure they’d show up for a hearing, as well as those who actually posed a safety risk.
  • There were significant racial disparities  in detention and outcomes, 
  • There was insufficient community or evidence-based programming,
  • There were inconsistent standards for detention/out-of-home placements,
  • There was inadequate data collection, collaboration, analysis,
  • There was little family and community engagement.

The JDAI Key Reform Objectives were to

  • Reduce reliance on secure confinement,
  • Reduce racial and ethnic disparities,
  • Redirect resources to effective community-based  and culturally appropriate  services for youth and their families,
  • Enhance collaboration among court & community partners.

Atty. McNaughton commented that, years ago, when she went into the center, she’d see kids sleeping on pallets on the floor because that was the only space they had.  JDAI made attorneys consider how thoughtful they were being about the kids, and to reconsider how they were processing their judgment.  Atty. Arneson added that in 2005 violent juvenile crime was at a peak in Hennepin County.  Later Judge Kappelhoff commented that today, a portion of the Juvenile facility is not being used because of the substantial reduction in population. 

JDAI Results: 

  • 80% decrease in numbers of youth admitted to JDC.   From 4,500 to 908 (2005-2020)
  • 65% decrease in average daily population at JDC. From 95 to 33 (2005-2020). The 2021 daily population has dropped to the teens!
  • 64% decrease in Out of Home Placements for youth in DOCCR (2009-2020)   

Results of Reform Efforts in Hennepin County:

Arneson:  “Diversion” is a broad topic; it involves keeping kids out of the Juvenile Justice System at any point including pre-charge.  Hennepin County has had a Diversion Program that goes back to the 1990’s but that has been substantially expanded in the last five years.  Today, the county has many different “diversion pathways” that can take place before a youth enters the Juvenile Justice system or commits a chargeable offense. 

  • It can be having a different response to kids’ behaviors in school.  Not everything that happens in school calls for a police response.
  • It can be having formal diversion programs, like restorative justice programs.  The HCAO works with programs in the community that are based on accountability for behavior.  This may start with intervention as a response, trying to address what is behind the behavior so it doesn’t happen again.    We’ve seen nationally and locally that diversion can produce better results, and produce them sooner than the courts systems responses. 

The power point presentation noted these two developments as a result of the JDAI program:

  • HCAO reinvested funds no longer needed to support the reduced jailed populations into community-based services for youth.  This was a 93% increase to over $4,446,000 by 2017.
  • By 2017, 63% of youth desisted from crime in the two years following their probation start.

In 2019, probation brought in an outside team of experts from the Robert F. Kennedy Resource Center for Juvenile Justice to conduct an independent review of probation and the Hennepin County Juvenile Court system. After complete its review, the RFK issued a report with its findings and recommendations.

In recent years, as a result of a collaborative effort among the Juvenile Court stakeholders, the number of Out-of-Home Placements have been reduced substantially, as well as the placements of youth out of state have been reduced.  This is the result of realizing that moving youth out of their home and community severed their ties to family and community support.   Planners also considered that youth would be returning to their communities at some point.

From 2012 to 2017

  • National levels for all youth in the U.S. dropped 25%, in Hennepin County that drop was 54%
  • National levels for  African American youth dropped 22%, in Hennepin County, the drop was 53%

From 2014 to 2017

  • National all youth dropped 8%, which matched the African American youth drop, nation-wide.
  • In Hennepin County, all youth dropped 42%, and African American youth dropped 45%

From 2016-Q1 to 2020-Q4, Out-of-Home placements dropped from 195 to 73, including placements in Greater MN, Hennepin County and out of state. 

Kappelhoff: while recent efforts among the juvenile justice stakeholders have produced a dramatic improvement in number of youth in the juvenile justice system, we continue to have a problem with disparities. The juvenile justice stakeholders are committed to addressing these disparities.   With this in mind, the court stakeholders, along with community partners have come together to create and launch the Youth Justice Council.  The Youth Justice Council drafted a charter with the following core principles:

  • Promoting and enhancing community safety through a lens of recognizing, and investing in the strengths of youth, their families and their communities, while ensuring access to resources and opportunities;
  • Decisions regarding who should be held in secure detention will be based on objective criteria and a validated Risk Assessment Instrument (RAI); and No youth shall be disparately impacted at any stage  of the juvenile justice system, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability;

The Youth Justice Council is chaired by representatives from the Humphrey Institute (Dr. Brittany Lewis), Juvenile Court (Judge Kappelhoff), and the Juvenile Probation Manger (Jerald Moore).  

The executive steering committee consists of representatives from HCAO, the Public Defender’s Office, a Community Representative, Juvenile Probation, DOCCR Administration, District Court, Human Services, Sub-Committee Chairs and Juvenile Facilities. 

Reporting directly to the steering committee is the Youth Justice Council Workgroups, Committees and Governance Coordination (Adesola Oni). 

Four focus sub-committees include: Eliminating Racial Disparities, Assessment Tool Workgroup, Underserved Youth Committee, the Youth Advisory Board (which includes 6 youth representatives.   These subcommittees are now meeting quarterly, the next meetings will be on June 9, September 8, December 8.

Eliminating Racial Disparities:  This is a place where representatives from county and city governments, law enforcement, the judiciary, HCAO, public defense, public education, philanthropy, community youth serving agencies, community advocates, parents and youth work together to eliminate ethnic and racial disparities in Hennepin County.   Open to the public.  FFI  contact:

Youth Advisory Board: This sub-committee advocates for positive change in the Hennepin County Justice System providing support for initiatives to improve the support and outcome of youth in the juvenile justice system and to prevent more youth from entering the justice system.    FFI contact:

Underserved Youth Committee:  Addresses disparities of treatment of underserved and vulnerable youth in the justice system, including LGBTQ+, youth who have been trafficked or exploited, girls, youth experiencing instability, homelessness, mental health issues, and others with complex needs.   For information and to participate contact:

The Youth Justice Council website is found at https://www.hennepin.us/residents/public-safety/youth-justice-council 

Questions:

QQ:   It seems like you are working to take negative labels off kids.  

Kappelhoff:  We are trying to help the youth in our community. With this in mind, we are trying to center youth in the conversation regarding the juvenile justice system and meet them where there are to provide better outcomes for them. 

McNaughton:  Yes about the labels, and it’s about dealing with trauma.

QQ:  A successful MPD Community Outreach Program, Bike Cops for Kids, discovered that a majority of the youth sentenced to Red Wing were from Minneapolis, so BCFK had a program that involved spending a day just hanging out with the boys.   One of the things the Bike Cops discovered is that many/most of the boys there “Had no path” for their future.    Is this lack of path/plan/life-goals something you are addressing directly?

Kappelhoff: We have a number of diversion programs to provide youth services and divert them out of the juvenile justice system. One of those programs is run by Headway, which has shown positive results for the youth who have participated in this program.  The goal is to identify a youth’s needs and to provide the services that will address those needs.

QQ:  When a person has a Police record, that is a public record, and it is available to anyone who wants to look for it.   That is a huge burden.   Is there anything that is going on that will “lift” that label from a person?

Kappelhoff:   Expunging the prior juvenile court records of youth who were in the juvenile justice system can be helpful for the youth as they seek future employment or other opportunities. The Youth Justice Council has a working group to identify and implement ways to improve the expungement process.

CPS Juarez:  Attending community meetings, it seems that people are talking about people getting back on the streets so soon after committing a crime. Is there something you can offer to let people know how the system works? 

Arneson: When a youth has committed [for example] a car-jacking and is caught, they are taken into detention.  In juvenile court, the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, just as in adult court. If the evidence is there, the HCAO will charge them.   Something close to 90% of youth brought to detention on Carjacking offenses ended up being charged.   One issue is that what the attorney’s office sees, is just the tip of the iceberg.   There are many crimes that are not solved and thus do not end up with an arrest or a charge.   But when a youth is arrested for a carjacking offense, they are held in detention until charged and they appear in court. What happens down the road depends on many factors, including the youth’s age, history, and the circumstances of the crime.   We had one case involving an 11-year-old; they will be treated differently than a 17-year-old who has a significant record.   We can and have asked that a 17-year-old be tried in adult court, because the older youth has a series of cases or more serious cases.  A difficulty in explaining the juvenile system to the public is that we often can’t release details about a particular person or case. 

McNaughton:  Some people get confused about terms, car theft vs car-jacking, for example.   Law professionals have to be very careful how we describe these situations. 

QQ:  Is there any “presumptive” measure to determine the risk of releasing a juvenile — as number of similar incidents, that would figure in holding or not holding?

Kappelhoff:   In deciding the detention status of youth, the court uses a “Risk Assessment Instrument” (RAI). This is a validated instrument that ensures that neutral and relevant criteria are used to decide the detention status of youth who are arrested and appear before a judge. The RAI also is validated to ensure that detention decisions are not racially biased.   

CPS Juarez:  What support do you need from the community?   Is there anything we can ask from the public that would make the courts’ jobs easier?  How can community members step up, take on a bigger role to support your work.

McNaughton:   I want to see that our programs are vibrant and working for our kids.  I want to see that we have people who are connected to the kids, and who are sure these programs work for them.  That would be family members, community members, teachers, anyone who knows these kids.   

April report, part 2: Courtwatch and State of the Precinct

COURTWATCH:  Nnamdi Okoronkso, HCAO reporting

Joshua Poplawski was picked up on April 6 for trespassing on the U of MN campus.  This time he’s being held for a competency evaluation per Rule of 20 guidelines*, because he is not likely to show up on his own for that evaluation.

If Poplawski is found incompetent, Atty. Okoronkwo believes there will be a push for civil commitment.   The HCAO knows he will continue to trespass, placing himself in danger.   It’s been noted that in the time since Okoronkwo has been watching this list, several habitual trespassers have been assaulted or died from various causes.    Current HCAO interactions with Mr. Poplawski have not triggered a change of behavior and the bottom line is that this person is putting himself in danger by continuing to trespass.  He also uses a lot of resources without affecting his behavior.  

Atty Okronkwo related that Heidi Johnston, a former HCAO attorney who presented 2-PAC  Courtwatch cases several years ago, is very familiar with Joshua’s history and is working for solutions that will move him off his present trajectory.


STATE OF THE PRECINCT:

Jory Wiebrand, a serial rapist who preyed on women in Southeast and near Northeast Minneapolis for years, was given a sentence in late March to almost 46 years.  He may receive conditional release after he’s served 2/3 of his sentence, but conditional release means “under close supervision”.   He will be required to register as a predatory sexual offender, will be on conditional release for the remainder of his life, and is ordered to pay restitution to the victims.**

In the two weeks preceding April 12, Pct 2 had 29 violent crimes total which was less than 13% of the city data.   So far this year, 2nd Precinct officers have responded to 9417 calls for service.  Of these, 15 calls resulted in use of force which is 0.16%

Dinkytown remains the site of much of the 2nd Pct crime, including one murder on March 28.   Marcy Holmes is still the most active area, especially in the Dinkytown neighborhood, but it’s also creeping up along Broadway and NE University. 

Expanding on that, CPS Juarez reported that we’ve seen 10 robberies and 2 carjackings.   One thing that stood out was that the robberies are happening in the daytime, between noon and 3 o’clock.   For a long time, robbery time was around bar-closing, but that dynamic has changed for a variety of reasons.  

One thing they’re seeing is that people are just handing over their phone when someone asks to make a call or something, and the bad guy just takes off with it. 

There was a homicide in Dinkytown, in the street between the Chateau and the pizza place.   There were many observers and it was very traumatic for many people.  Officers found 12 casings on the ground, so there were a LOT of shots fired, not just two people exchanging one shot, each.  

This has been the pattern for this year, starting with the New Year’s house party on 15th Ave SE, and continuing in SE Como where multiple shots were fired at a house.

Calling 911 and 311:

In response to a flurry of comments on NextDoor, I asked two people who reported they’d called 911 and gotten case numbers.   Sadly, both incidents were closed without action:   Case #1 –  the report did not have enough suspect information for officers to follow.  Victims could not identify the possible male suspects.   Case #2 – there is no police report on file because the original call was about a driver who was yelling at cars.  

CPS Nick Juarez offered suggestions for making a 911/311 call that will get action. 

Be descriptive:   SAY what you are seeing that made you call 911.  

If there’s a car involved, tell the color, license plate number, make, model and any other information that will point to the right car. 

If there’s an individual out there:  male or female, race, size, clothing, anything distinctive in any way
When you are making a police report, you are telling a story.  Everyone the police interview is telling that story from their point of view. 

For example:   you can’t just say, “My bike was stolen.”     The officers need to know where you left the bike, what color and model it is, was it locked, what kind of lock, did you find pieces of the lock or of the bike on the ground, and anything else that will tell the officers what to look for.

The reason for all that detail is that it is the depth of detail that moves the report up the priority scale.   The report about someone yelling at cars, gave no indication that anyone was in danger or might be in danger of harm.   DO follow up with a second call if the situation changes.   If the guy shouting at cars starts throwing rocks at cars or at people, phone again!   (“I just called in about ‘that’ but now this guy is doing ‘this'” — that raises the priority of the call.)

The call takers are typing your words into the computer report, and the more description that appears on that report, the more officers have to work on.  Additionally, the call takers are assessing whom they should send:  EMT, Squad, Fire??

Juarez offered that everyone reacts differently to stress, but this is the time you have to take a breath and just focus on what you are seeing, tell your story so the operator can completely visualize that situation from your description. 

We have a lot of security cameras out there, but a suspect needs to be looking at the camera when it snaps.  Officers can take a recognizable photo around to other residents on a street, but again, that only works if someone knows the person.  If the suspect is someone who drove in from a suburb, that photo might not help much.   And, we don’t use facial recognition software.

*https://www.revisor.mn.gov/court_rules/cr/id/20/
 **https://www.startribune.com/serial-rapist-sentenced-to-nearly-46-years-in-prison-for-preying-on-women-in-minneapolis/600039194/

Coming in May:   we’ve heard about changes in 911 service, and will get an update on May 10.   Join us at 6PM by Zoom to hear the news at 911.


Emilie Quast, board member

MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council

Minneapolis MN, 55418

March report, Part 1

Cody Hoerning and Andrew Norton, Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA), presented a neighborhood proposal for increasing neighborhood social cohesiveness.   Strong neighborhoods are best able  to respond to neighbors in need.

Members of SECIA have been rethinking SECIA’s role as a community organization, as a neighborhood organization and as a platform to promote  cohesiveness in the community.

Conversations began over several years at various community gatherings like National Night Out.    Neighbors and elected officials shared ideas about how people can expand the sense of community that we feel on NNO and other neighborhood-wide events.   In 2020, after the death of George Floyd, protests turned into riots, and neighborhood conversations about public safety and other issues became intentional. 

In October 2020, people began brainstorming about how this could come together.  They brought their ideas to “New Projects Night”, an event where SECIA members present proposals to develop proposals and gauge interest.   In breakout meetings they discussed the logistics of moving this forward. 

Identifying  Issues and Challenges: Neighbors in Need

  • Lack of social connection
  • Mental health issues
  • Unsheltered neighbors (homelessness)

Lack of social connection:  In Como, residents are increasingly concerned about lack of connectivity.  This is more apparent in SE Como than in other parts of the city  because of the high numbers of student neighbors, who intentionally leave at graduation when they find a career job. 

But this is a national trend.   In his book “The Upswing” Robert Putnam defined “Social Solidarity” as an aggregate of trust, sharing, caring, donating  and joining that communities share.   From 1880 to 2020, indicators of social solidarity started low, peaked 1955-1965, and then fell faster than it had risen.   In 2020, American solidarity had fallen to the 1910 level.    Not surprisingly, the “Lack of Social Connection” chart has almost a negative correlation to the first chart over the same time span.  The second data set was derived by charting so-called Deaths of Despair, deaths associated with depression, alcohol use, other substance abuse.  On the right side of the chart, you see a sharp rise in deaths attributed to cocaine (and similar) use (2000 and on)  and Covid-19 in 2020.

The group identified some issues that SE Como has  with the traditional block club model.   The highly transient student population has been mentioned.   Additionally, people’s comments could be summarized as “I don’t watch my neighbors, I just see them”.     People reported they feel safe if they perceive a connected community and they feel safer on “active streets”.  Van Cleve Park is perceived as a safe place because of everything that’s going on there. 

For background, data reported by the National Institutes of Mental Health,  the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported in 2017 that at least 432,161 adults in Minnesota experienced serious psychological distress in the 12 months surveyed. This included 256,729 with serious psychological distress, 119,807 with bipolar disorder, and 12,836 with schizophrenia. Some people have multiple diagnosis;  additionally, there is overlap with people who are homeless and who engage in substance abuse.  All of these issues were adversely affected by the pandemic;  the 2020 statistics are certainly higher. 

Growing concerns:   In Minnesota, between 1991 and 2018, a one-night count of  homeless people rose from 3,079 to 11,371, statewide.
[EQ: in 2017, Minnesota’s population was 5.6 million people; SE Como’s population was about 6000 people.   Projecting the numbers, 4.6% of MN residents displayed serious psychological distress.   0.2% were homeless.   Those counts are pre-Covid-19.  Undoubtedly more people are in distress in 2020-21.]

IDENTIFYING ISSUES AND CHALLENGES:  NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATION

  • SECIA does not really have a safety group.  
  • Many crimes in SE Como are preventable, following recommended practices. Cody worked with CPS Nick Juarez sharing after-incident prevention strategies.
  • Victims of crime reported that they received little follow up, restitution, or justice:
    •    MPD data indicate that about 1 in 3 violent crimes are cleared.
    •    MPD data indicate that 1 in 2 homicides are  cleared.  

[EQ:  A crime report is “cleared” when investigation leads to a charge.] 

What can a Neighborhood Organization Role Be?  Assuming the Neighborhood Organization  has developed a cohesive social structure, it can assist:
Pre-crime:  The association can help with prevention by coaching awareness of safety strategies, and the importance of watching out for each other.   It can consider if a welfare strategy might be needed.   
Crime event: handled by police.
Post-crime:  The association can offer support and improve safety strategies if there is recurrence.
There is evidence that support does matter, even in extreme situations.

Homelessness:  A 2013 report in the American Journal of Public Health, “Effectiveness of case management for homeless persons”, by Renee de Vet,  (v. 103:10, 13-26)  indicated that case management to prevent recurrent homelessness in people with severe mental health illness after leaving hospitals or other shelters led to a  60% reduction of homelessness. 

Gun Violence:  Advance Peace and similar programs identify and then surround a small number of people with intensive customized support  found that after a two-year program, all “A-P Zones” reported a 22% reduction in gun assaults and homicides.  El Paso Heights AP Zone reported a 39% and the Oak Park AP Zone reported a 21% reduction.
Social Determinants of Health:  These are conditions that occur in the environments in which people are born, live, and age, that affect health, functioning, and  quality-of-life outcomes and risks.  They include economic stability, education, social and community context, health and health care, neighborhood or built environment.   Como Cares believes it can work in two primary areas:

  • Neighborhood or built environment, including  access to healthy foods, crime and violence, environmental conditions, quality of housing.
  • Social and community context, including civic participation, discrimination, incarceration, social cohesion.  

SECIA has already done a lot to improve social and community context.   We offer the annual Como Cookout, gardening opportunities (native prairie, pollinator protection, vegetable gardens in SE COMO), participation in SE Seniors (an age-in-place volunteer organization that assists SE Minneapolis residents), Community Good Neighbor Fund (which supports music, art and dance events), community projects and town halls with elected leaders, coordination with the MPD Second Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist, an active Zoning and Development Committee, pollution and groundwater protection committees, and activism through Como Green Village.   The new Como Cares approach will continue to bolster these efforts.

Summing up: 
Our current approach in SE Como to organizing and public safety  is not working for a variety of reasons.

  • Community members feel safe when they have a network of support and are connected with neighbors.
  • Mutual-aid networks and events/projects to build community connectedness were popular in discussions.
  • We now have more neighbors who need help with mental health and shelter.

Actions to date and on-going:

  • Neighborhood and Community Relations meetings on safety
    • Team members have attended city meetings about safety
  • Activist and outreach worker meetings
    • Team members have attended meetings and presentations by organizations like LINC  MPD150, Coaching Boys Into Men
    • Coordinated with organizations which already help unsheltered neighbors in Mpls.  [listed below]
  • Distribution of food and hygiene kits
    • Supported and organized a local neighbor drop in day

Some of the organizations the Como Cares team is currently collaborating with include U of MN Off Campus Living, University Baptist Church, University Lutheran Church of Hope, SECIA, First Congregational Church — United Church of Christ, The Aliveness Project (future date for harm reduction training)


COMO CARES — CURRENT GOALS  

1.  Reach out to long-time and new neighbors to let them know they are a part of a caring community.  
Some long term residents may not have as many   connections as they would like.  We want to also reach out to short term residents, like students, and try to bring them into the conversation.

2. Care for neighborhood community assets and resources. 
This can range from sharing food and other resources, doing trash cleanups, making sure the street lights are on, finding resources to help with property repair. 

3. Provide neighbors in need with direct community support through a network of block/neighborhood communityassistance programs.

4. Bring a community-centric and racial justice approach to public safety and reduce calls for service from the police department.a. As we build healthy social structures, provide support for neighbors, we could reduce police presence in the area.
 b. This is taking the MPD150 idea to a neighborhood level.   [For information about MDP150, see https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=MPD150]

LEVELS OF ENGAGEMENT

Entry Level – Be a part of a caring community.  Build organic social cohesion on your block. Stay connected to neighbors.
Time commitment = low

Example: take a walk with a neighbor.

Event-Level – Respond when available and when help is needed locally for specific events

Time commitment = low

Example: shovel your neighbor’s walk if they need help with it.
Project- level – Support for specific longer-term projects
Time commitment = moderate

Example: Weekly park activities with local teens.

Team level – Participating in long-term care initiatives

Time commitment = high

Example:  Supporting unsheltered neighbors through regularly-scheduled drop-in days
Leader level – Communicating with neighbors, understanding hyperlocal needs and coordinating response
Time commitment = very high

Example: Neighbor communicates need after kitchen fire, works with team on response, facilitates response.


OTHER ENGAGEMENT OPTIONS:  Some individuals are unable to give their time due to commitments.  Other ways to support include:
Donations of goods to people in need.

Administrative and communication support.

Monetary donations.


COMMUNICATIONS: How will we communicate with neighbors?

  • Personal verbal communication:
    • Say “Hi!” when you see someone
  • Written communication:
    • E-mail
    • Write for E-Comotion and Tidbits
    • NextDoor
  • Social media
    • Groupme, messenger, discord, Facebook….
  • Assemble and deliver welcome packets to new neighbors
  • Apartment buildings:  we need ideas for outreach into apartment buildings. 

Como Cares needs ideas for recognition gear.  
How will people recognize us as a team   (suggestions:  t-shirts, vests?)
[EQ: Jeremiah Peterson’s Safety Walk teams had bright red vests to ID walk members.   Those vests disappeared several years ago.    Maybe someone with institutional memory can recall who paid for them.]

TRAINING – What types of training should we offer Como Cares team members?
First Aid

Mental Health

First Aid Anti-ViolenceAnti-Racism

Conflict resolution

Narcan training 
Harm reduction 101

Your suggestions??

Como Cares, current and future projects:In Progress Now:

  • Building team and networking
  • Training
  • Drop-in days for unsheltered neighbors
  • Hygiene and  food kit delivery to those in need

A story about the successful first Drop-In Day, a Como Cares event, appeared in the MN Daily newspaper:     https://mndaily.com/266140/news/dinkytown-organizations-offer-haircuts-and-more-to-unsheltered-neighbors/
Continuing projects:

Caring for public utilities (gardens, street lights, litter pick up)
More social cohesion events and New social cohesion events.   Offer your ideas here

SE Como mutual aid  network  in development:
Mental health and trauma-support events

What Questions do you have?   Send them to Emilie to forward to Andrew and Cody.   We’ll get the answers to you.
QQ  Do you have any funding for this?    Answer: We have written two grants, one to the Good Neighbor Fund supported by the U of MN, and one to AARP which offers a challenge grant.   The first Drop-In Day brought donations of skills and time (hair cuts) as well as supplies, clothing, food.The city has opened up some anti-violence funding.
QQ  Have you contacted Hennepin County about your project.   AA: Good idea!  Please suggest people to contact.
QQ  An attender remarked she had gotten a lot of help from Commissioner Irene Fernando and recommended meeting with her.  Would you be interested in presenting to another n’hood?   Answer:   Yes, eventually.   We’re only about 5 months in so far.  

QQ Next drop in days?   Answer:   We’re going to try to rotate locations.   We have a need for showers, which University Baptist may  be able to offer so that will be a place.   U of MN and the Parks have Covid-19 restrictions right now but those will be lifted eventually. 

QQ How do you let the homeless people know about these Drop-in events?   Answer:   There are parishioners in some of the churches that work directly with the homeless.   We went out to some of the sites and gave out information.   We also know of some of the homeless in Dinkytown and just gave them the information.  Also, The Aliveness Project does outreach and we know some people in that organization. 

Como Cares will be doing a Harm Reduction workshop with Aliveness in the near future.   Cody will try to get that info out to us. 

QQ:  What is “social solidarity”?   Answer:   Cody:  There are books on this, but it’s basically “connectedness”.   It’s when you give of yourself to the greater whole.  Andrew:   It’s how individuals come together to enhance each other’s lives.   [Referencing the studies Cody showed]  There was a peak in the ’70’s and then it started declining.   It’s really hard to create social solidarity in our area because of the high student-transient population.  We’re trying to rebuild the solidarity the n’hoods had back then [in the 70’s].   The way we’re trying to do that is reaching out to bring together. 

Cody:  After the George Floyd event, we saw a lot of people popup and come together.   People started to ask how neighbors can keep this going. 

QQ:  [Response to statement that in the University District, two-bedroom apartments are rented to four people.  The population is more than a bedroom count if you want to know how many students are living there.]   How do you know how to contact all these people?   Answer:  Andrew:  That’s what we’re working on.   We try to find a person in this [apartment] community to bring others together and create a larger community.    Cody:  we hear about people who have roommates going through a crisis and the contact person wants to know what to do to help.   If we can have the “tools” for appropriate response, hopefully we won’t have to bring in the city.  We’ve had some success with welcome packets in the past, but need a fresher approach.   CPS Juarez:  We get information to property managers and train staff to watch for “behavior change” or other markers; especially at mid-terms or finals.   Offer information for the tenant who comes in and wants to know what to do about someone who is changing.  If nothing else, a concerned person can contact MPD/CPS on behalf of that student.  We’ll go with protective services and take it from there.
Emilie Quast, Board member

MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council

Minneapolis MN 55418

March report, Part 2

Como Cares is a new community-building safety initiative that is just several months into development.   It’s being organized by  Cody Hoerning and  Andrew Norton, SECIA members, and Jessica Focht-Perlberg, SECIA Executive Director.   Como Cares progress to date was  reported in Part 1 of this report.

The  story about the successful first Drop-In Day, a Como Cares event, appeared in the MN Daily newspaper:     https://mndaily.com/266140/news/dinkytown-organizations-offer-haircuts-and-more-to-unsheltered-neighbors/

COURTWATCH
The new format for COURTWATCH was presented by Probation Office Holly Ihrke.  A group including P.O. Ihrke, Cody Hoerning, CPS Juarez, a Lt. from the Second Precinct.  

The new format will involve looking at incident locations, identifying what types of crime neighborhoods are experiencing,  and then following the higher profile events that may have elicited community impact statements, and giving updates on where these cases are in the court process.

Looking at the Second Precinct incident reports for February, Marcy-Holmes and Prospect Park were two high-incident areas.  There were seven felony charges in the Second Precinct, most were assault or felony theft related.   Both Zaccardi brothers are back in custody.    Scott Dennis Brozek is also back in custody and has pending charges.
Atty. Okoronkwo reported that he’s charged all the cases that have come to him.   Most are trespass cases from a parking ramp  in Stadium Village — 501 Washington Avenue, which is also the address of U of MN Parking and Transportation.  Likely those people were sheltering from the cold in a ramp stairwell.  505 Washington is the mail address of UMPD.

Using the MPD Dashboard to examine crime in the Second Precinct (or across the city) presents some “difficulties”.   Emilie explained that she can get the totals of Part 1 crimes from one place on the dashboard, but when she looks at the interactive incident map, the same symbol can be used for two different crimes or the same crime can be reported by two different symbols.  Plus, the symbols overlay so it’s difficult and not always possible to get down to the particular incident you want to look at.   She was concerned that a homicide was reported on the city in one viewing, but had disappeared from the map the next time she looked. 

CPS Juarez replied that the map symbol is fixed when a crime is first reported.   Some [perhaps] never get corrected if the charge changes.   A reported death may have first been called a homicide, but later changed to DOA, which would get corrected on the map. 

CPS Juarez gave a report of downtown activity on the first day of the Chauvin trial, and, happily, it was quiet.   He received no notices of  downtown activity. 

  From Nnamdi Okoronkwo to Everyone:  06:23 PM
https://mn.gov/doc/victims/crime-victim-rights-statutes/

2-PAC In April:   Over the last several years, 2-PAC has presented speakers from several of the 4th Judicial District’s Specialty Courts, which combine support, encouragement, and an expectation that the target will accept intense supervision and treatment.   In April, we will hear from Judge Mark Kappelhoff and some of his colleagues who will tell us how they are changing the Juvenile Courts  to improve outcomes for young people they see in their courts.

Emilie Quast, Board member

Feb. 2021 Report, Part 1

Echoes of War:  Combat Trauma, Criminal Behavior, and how we can do a better job, this time around. 

Brockton Hunter served as an Army Recon. Scout and sniper in the Gulf War, 30 years ago.   When he returned to civilian life, he initially found he had trouble fitting back in.  He graduated from college and then Law School, and has been practicing law in Minneapolis ever since, primarily in criminal defense.  He devotes a large part of his practice to working with veterans, and works as counsel for a non-profit, The Veterans’ Defense Project,  which focuses on policy, education, and advocacy,  to ensure that the courts in Minnesota, and across the country do a better job than they did for Gulf War veterans, and better help our current crop of veterans return to productive life in our communities.
In 2008, he helped pass the original Veterans Sentencing legislation and helped found the Hennepin County Veterans’ Court in 2010.   We now have about a dozen courts around the state.   Mr. Hunter is now revising the Minnesota statutes, and hopes that will be passed by this Legislature. 

In his presentation, Mr. Hunter explained why we see so many veterans come into the courts; what combat trauma looks like from the perspective of the veteran; how the courts are now doing a better job for our veterans than they have in the past; how they can do even better.

THE MINNESOTA MISSION
To improve the way the Minnesota justice system deals with troubled veterans,
by increasing understanding of the nature of combat trauma, its ties to criminal behavior,
and how criminal charges can serve as intervention opportunities to leverage
veteran offenders into needed treatment and help them become assets,
rather than ongoing liabilities,
to the communities they once risked their lives to protect. 

The Coming Storm:  Escalating numbers of veterans are entering the criminal courts in Minnesota, and across the country.   History tells us this will continue for the foreseeable future, creating  an increasing public health and public safety threat.Looking back to our recent history:

Lessons from Vietnam:   Of the 3 million  Americans who served in Vietnam, 1 to 1.5 million suffered psychological  injuries.  A decade later, followup revealed that, of those treated for psychological trauma, half had contact with the criminal justice system and been arrested at least one time;  over a third had been arrested 2 or more times; nearly 12% had been convicted of felonies.

Vietnam veterans faced more hostility when they came home.  They were actually blamed for fighting in an unpopular war.  They were called “baby killers” and worse.   The attitude was even more apparent when they encountered the justice system.   Veterans were actually treated more harshly than people who had not served but had committed the same crimes.  40 years later, hundreds of thousands are still incarcerated, chronically homeless, or addicted.  Some 58,000  Americans died in Vietnam, but at least that many or more committed suicide after the war.   Not all suicides are apparent, and experts suggest that as many as 150,000 contributed to their own deaths, when you include drug overdoses and other self-destructive behavior — that’s half of those who served.

Who gave service in Iraq and Afghanistan: so far, over 3,000,000 Americans have served there.  In 2012 the Institute of Medicine issued a report,  “Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in military and veteran population: initial assessment.”(1)   The report first suggested that returning veterans revealed a similar profile.  As of 2012, over 500,000 were displaying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).   Another 500,000 have traumatic brain injury (TBI)  Less than half of those have reported or requested treatment.   Experts are certain that these numbers are low, not accurate.
Additionally, over 300,000 women have served  in Iraq or Afghanistan.  They are now serving in combat roles, and are in the pipeline to become Navy Seals, Green Berets, and other frontline missions.  Right now, 20% have been diagnosed with PTSD, no doubt more have not received a diagnosis.   Women face additional stress:   they also are targets of military sexual trauma, committed by a peer or a superior — someone they are supposed to entrust with their lives.  Many of the women who come through the courts report sexual trauma, whether they’ve seen combat service or not.

How our current veterans are different from those 40 years ago.    The   Vietnam war was fought by draftees, who served one 12-month combat tour.  After that single tour, 90% went home.
In contrast, our current army is made up of volunteers and is much smaller.  To make up for the smaller army, the current army serves in multiple deployments.  Many have now served 2 or 3 combat tours, some have served as many as 8 full, year-long deployments.   Special Operations, Navy Seals, Rangers, and special teams will serve even more.  These will be shorter deployments but much more intense, since they are the “tip of the spear.”  Some Special Ops have had even 20 deployments.  

Experts agree these multiple deployments will lead to the highest rates of PTSD that we’ve ever seen.   PTSD is now referred to as  “exposure injury”.  

Civilians need to understand:  this is a warrior culture.  Focused service and self-sacrifice training doesn’t have a parallel in civilian life.  Warrior culture teaches that a soldier’s goal is completing the mission and taking care of the team, with little regard for self.   Mr. Hunter suggested the culture of selflessness is a barrier to accepting help when it’s needed.

Post-Vietnam Paradigm Shift:

Citizens no longer “Blame the Troops” as they did.  Today, we support our troops, whether or not we support the wars they fought.  Citizens accept that “we the people” elect the people who create the national policy to wage war.  

The goal of  the Veterans Defense Court is to turn the “Support the Troops” mentality into real, effective support for the troops who come home but struggle to reintegrate themselves into our communities.  Troops are aware they are not coming home to the hostility that ‘Nam veterans faced.   They are frustrated, however, that they are coming home to a public that does not know or much care about their sacrifice and courage, and isn’t interested in learning.   News stories are sanitized, if they’re printed at all. No one looks further. 

A piece of graffiti appeared on a wall at a base in Iraq:
America is not at war. 
The U.S. Marine Corps is at War. America is at the Mall.

When returning  troops meet indifference, they shut down, adding to their isolation.   Many turn to self-medication, or acting out, which finally leads to behavior that ends up in the justice system. 

People believe that since the U.S. has “only” lost 7,000 troops,  compared with other wars, this is a minor conflict.   Our low casualty numbers have a lot to do with high tech body armor, vehicle armor, battlefield medical advances which treat injuries that would have killed in earlier wars.  The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is brutal, close and very personal.  The following statistics were gathered by the US Army from troops returning from their 1st deployment to Iraq.    

94% of troops “received incoming small arms fire” — someone intended to kill them.86% knew someone seriously injured or killed.68% of troops had seen seriously injured or dead Americans.51% had personally handled human remains.48% had personally killed an enemy combatant.28% were responsible for the death of a noncombatant. 

The last group is particularly vulnerable.   Perhaps a child was caught in a crossfire or mistaken for an enemy combatant.  Enemy troops do attack our troops in heavily populated urban areas where civilians are likely to be “martyred”. Urban areas are also where the enemy uses suicide bombings as a weapon of choice to overcome our technical superiority.  Our troops must be on high alert:  friend/foe? friend/foe?   Miss a foe and your squad will die. Mistake a foe and an innocent person dies.  Military psychologists have a special term: Moral Injury — a special kind of trauma which occurs when someone believes they have done something morally wrong. 

It’s disturbing for us to think about these numbers or look at the pictures [which are in the youtube recording], and more difficult to put ourselves in these troop’s places.   But it’s very easy to understand why,  if this has happened in a person’s life, they’ll find it easy to turn to self-medication to find a temporary peace or perhaps dreamless sleep.

Combat experience can lead to criminal behavior:
Some self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.  Some engage in self-destructive, or reckless or violent behavior against the communities they risked their lives to protect.
Some have dissociative episodes or “flashbacks” in which they are reliving combat — this leads to armed confrontations with police who are perceived as “enemy.”
All have military training which can condition them to perceive an innocent event as a threat: Friend/Foe?”  Their training triggers violent response.
Mr. Hunter pointed to historical research which documents that this kind of trauma has been around as long as we have written history.  Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”, some 3000 years old, depict a classic case of combat trauma, exactly as it manifests in today’s returning warriors.  Scholarship has clearly revealed veteran-caused crime waves after every major conflict as veterans return.   After the Civil War, U.S. prisons were filled with returning veterans who had brought their war home with them, and had ended up “at war” with the community they’d fought to protect. This actually led to the first prison reform movements as families of the prisoners petitioned for better treatment and consideration of the veterans’ war service.  World Wars I and II led veterans to the rogue motorcycle culture across the U.S.  As the older veterans disappeared, they were replaced in the 1960s and 70s by returning Vietnam veterans and that pattern may repeat with today’s returning veterans.
A modern treatise on veteran criminal behavior comes from the Military:  the 2009 Fort Carson EPICON Study.   EPICON is “Epidemiological Consultation”.   The study concludes that “Post-deployment violence is most often tied to a combination of pressures of multiple  deployments and exposure to combat,   that is, it’s the number and intensity of deployments. From the report, “Survey data from this investigation suggest a possible association between increasing levels of combat exposure and risk of negative behavioral outcomes.”  This study was launched after a significant rise in incidents by returning troops: one returning brigade (2000 individuals) was responsible for over a dozen homicides and hundreds of violent assaults in their first year after returning from their second deployment. 

The rising numbers of homeless people in the U.S. is another link to combat-related trauma.  A 2006 Wilder report on homelessness in Minnesota uncovered that 24% of Minnesota’s homeless males were veterans and more than half of those had “serious mental illness.” (2)   A further study explains how PTSD and TBI link to criminal behavior.   For further reading, see the Baker and Alfonsi study linked below.(3)  

Solutions, so far:  Changes are happening in legal response on the federal, state, and local government levels.    The federal government has made service a cause for sentencing departure.(4)   California and Minnesota started in 2007 and 2008 by passing legislation that permits a judge to take military service into consideration and permitting a closely monitored probationary treatment — much more likely to result in a change of behavior than a jail term with no treatment.  [See MN Statutes, 2006 revision, footnoted below (5)]   The bill opened the door to prosecutors and judges growing awareness that military veterans’ war experiences were life changing.   The next year, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling in Porter v. McCullom war experience should be considered a mitigating factor in decisions.(6)

In their ruling, the Justices cited the Minnesota and California laws.   This is where the Veterans’ Defense Project got its real start.   People from other states began contacting resources in the two states to find out how they could add this defense in their states.  Volunteers formalized their policy, and started writing “Defending Veterans”(7)   

Over the last 10 years, one of the responses across the country has been the development of Specialty Courts — Drug Courts,  DWI Courts, Mental Health Courts — based on the understanding that drug use or trauma is driving repetitive criminal behavior.  If you address the issues driving substance abuse and root those issues out, the clients won’t keep coming back to the court.   The Project got started in Hennepin County, and now includes over a dozen of the 87 Minnsota counties, but all counties do not offer uniform response, and, of course, most counties have no program in place.  The outcomes of the different programs are very different. 

Most court programs offer the client a legal incentive to get into the program and see it through. These programs are not a “Get Out of Jail, Free” card.  The Client is offered a “legal incentive”.  While in the process, the client will be subject to intense monitoring and accountability and the requirement to  cooperate with treatment.  In turn, the client will avoid jail time and this conviction, whenever possible.  This is not yet true in all Veterans Courts, and where it is NOT true, veteran participation declines. 

As time passed, Mr. Hunter and others became aware that some MN veterans courts were starting to fail.   With help of a MN grant, they organized a working group that included Chief County Attorneys of Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington Counties, the MN Public Defender, leaders from the VA and the MN Dept. of Veterans Affairs.  This group had monthly meetings at the State Supreme Court discussing/arguing over what could be seen to work and what was not working for these people.  Findings were distilled into a list of best practices, The Disposition Issue.  The client will be given an opportunity to earn their way out of a conviction, especially, a felony conviction — something that will stop them from improving their lives in many significant ways.  In summary:
Pre-Conviction Ajudication

  • Recognizes the service and sacrifice of the veterans on behalf of their communities.
  • Helps re-establish the broken trust between veterans and their government and communities.
  • Incentivizes commitment to complete traumatic treatment.
  • Offers hope of redemption  and the ability to once again become an asset, not an on-going liability.
  • Better protects the public in the short and long term.

These best practices are embodied in a piece of legislation now pending in the MN Legislature:The Veterans Restorative Justice Act

  • Presumptive stay of adjudication under certain conditions:
    • There is a connection between offense and military service-related condition
      • unless agreed to by both parties, a hearing must determine that connection exists.
    • Limited to Level 7 offenses (which come with a presumptive probation charge) and below unless agreed to by both parties. Level 8 and above come with a presumptive prison charge
    • A guilty plea is entered as a safeguard
      • ensures acceptance of responsibility as a first step toward rehabilitation
      • ensures swift sanctions if the veteran fails to comply
  • Transfer of Supervision
    • this provision standardizes and formally authorizes the best practices of most Veterans Treatment Courts.
    • enables the transfer of supervision from the county where the offense occurred to the county where the veteran resides, if they are different, without concerns for continuity.
  • End of Supervision Hearing
    • Dismissal of the charges is not guaranteed
    • A public hearing is required at the end of supervision
      • there is an opportunity for the prosecutor and the victim to challenge the dismissa
    • To justify dismissal, the court must find:
      • the Veteran has successfully completed conditions of probation and treatment;
      • the Veteran is no longer a danger to the public;
      • the court must consider the level of harm the veteran’s offense caused.

In summary, the VRJA addresses three major issues:  1) eligibility  for admission to Veterans Treatment Courts; 2) who will decide if a veteran meets the eligibility; 3) what will the legal benefit be for a veteran who volunteers for and completes the requirements imposed by a VTC.
The good news is that Hennepin County has a strong, well-functioning Veterans’ Court. 

(1) https://www.nap.edu/catalog/13364/treatment-for-posttraumatic-stress-disorder-in-military-and-veteran-populations (2) https://www.wilder.org/sites/default/files/imports/Homelessoverview2006_3-07.pdf(3) Baker, Claudia, MSW, MPH, and Cessie Alfonso, LCSW. PTSD and Criminal Behavior, A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet. US Department of Veterans  Affairs. Retrieved 11 August 2007 from URL: http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/ncmain/ncdocs/fact_shts/fs_legal.html?opm=1&rr=rr91&srt=d&echorr=true (4) https://guidelines.ussc.gov/gl/%C2%A75H1.11 (5) https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/609.115  Scroll down to  Subd. 10.Military veterans. (6)  https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/1756/porter-v-mccollum/ (7) Hunter, Brockton,  and Else, Ryan.  The Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court.  Veterans Defense Project: 2014  ISBN  978-1932021813
QUESTIONS: QQ: Is there any way for individuals or groups to throw support behind the Veterans Defense Project?ANSWER:  The website address is http://veteransdefenseproject.org/    The dashboard includes ABOUT, the “Minnesota Initiative” and a DONATE button, and more.
QQ: In past wars, the whole country was impacted and involved.   This eroded with the media coverage of the war in Vietnam, but again, that was staffed by the draft. Anyone’s kid could be drafted.ANSWER: Today, 1% of the population are in uniform, and only half of those are deployed, so 0.5%.   Compare that with about 16% who were deployed in World War II.  Most Americans don’t know anything about the wars in Afghanistan, and don’t know anyone who served.  This war is distanced from Americans who are thus detached from this war, and returning veterans can sense that. 
QQ: What can Americans do to help veterans reintegrate before they commit crimes. 
ANSWER: Americans need to come up with plans to re-engage the veterans.    They return with significant, demanding adult-life experience.  They have training in leadership and team building, superior technical training, and other skills that can be put to use in our communities at a time when we need those skills.   Unless they get the help they need, to get up and move down a good path, they are never going to fulfill that potential.QQ: When kids sign up, what is the picture that is presented to them, starting with recruiters? What do recruiters really tell them about what they’re walking into?
ANSWER:  Through history, the recruiting ages are about 18-22, and that is an age when you are almost physically mature, but still think you’re invulnerable.  He related his own experience: he saw enlistment as a big adventure, an exciting  way to get out and see the world.   He’d seen the movies that glamorize war, and wanted to go out and live that movie. One advantage:  kids signing up today can know they’re signing up for war because we’ve been at war for 10 years.  Some do know that.  Others are “blissfully unaware.”    We know that recruiters are under pressure to  sign up enough to fill those uniforms.   Be aware that the level of service people will face varies from service to service and from job to job.  Not everyone is going to be out there kicking down doors and getting shot at.
There is one point he finds himself addressing often.    People don’t understand why in this time of voluntary service there are unprecedented numbers of re-deployments.   Why do they keep signing up?   Why did they want to go back? This belief leads people to be “dismissive” of the veterans sacrifice and damage.  The answer is that after a person has gone through heavy deployment, it changes you.  Veterans have told him that when they came back, they realized they didn’t fit here, anymore.   The only place where they felt valued and worthwhile and the only place they could contribute was back on the battlefield.   That’s where people understand them and that is where they feel they are part of something bigger than themselves.  They have had life and death responsibility and been in charge of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, on their own, 7,000 miles away.  Back here, some can only find work behind the counter of a convenience store.  
QQ:   Someone who has traveled extensively and spent time in Spain would like to know how we can rebuild the image of America?   When we travel, people ask why America was even in Vietnam.   Why didn’t we do things differently then and now?ANSWER: He has had the same kinds of questions from people around the world.   There’s no question that our image has suffered.QQ:  She was asked  in college to get up and help make returning veterans feel comfortable.   When she asked how, the answer was by talking to people.   How often do people do that, and who are these people?ANSWER: There is a program called The Yellow Ribbon Initiative.  They ask people to get out and get involved in a variety of ways, doing outreach to veterans.   They have been great partners in helping start Veterans Courts.   [FFI: https://www.yellowribbon.mil/cms/about-us/   NB: This is for enlisted people and their families; support and reintegration are the stated goals of this organization, which depends on volunteers for much of the work.]

Minnesota also has a non-profit “Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans”.   They provide assistance with housing, employment and legal services.  They created the “Vet-Law” program, which attracts attorneys to come to the VA to participate in legal clinics for vets.  They also have a Stand-Down event at Fort Snelling once a year.  (A stand down is where many organizations come to a single spot to offer assistance and counseling to vets at one big day-long affair. The Hennepin County event can have 2000-3000 vets attend during the run of a long day.) [FFI: https://www.mac-v.org/ ]  

The Youtube recording: https://youtu.be/xO_A76aorQc


Emilie Quast, board member
MPD Second Precinct Council
Minneapolis MN 55418
e-quas@tc.umn.edu

Feb. 2021 report, part 2: Courtwatch and Precinct report

Our speaker this month, Brockton Hunter is an attorney and former U.S. Army Scout, who saw active service during his enlistment.   He has an active practice, and is also leading the push to  make Veterans’ Court the standard protocol for response to veterans of active service who have brought the war home with them.   Mr. Hunter joined us to explain how  America can restore returning veterans to productive post-deployment life by following a model of response, pending in  Minnesota legislation, called the Veterans Restorative Justice Act
Mr Hunter is the lead editor and co-author of the book, The Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court, available at www.veteransdefenseproject.org.
A report of his presentation is in Part 1 of the February report.

COURTWATCH:   Probation Officer Ihrke reported that the City Attorney’s staff is still defining what the new Courtwatch procedure will be.  She and City Atty. Okoronkwo will relay the new format in March. 

STATE OF THE PRECINCT
Per the MPD Dashboard, 14 days reported at the meeting, updated to previous 21 days on 2-13:
Part 1 Crime: 4   Rape, 10 Robbery14, Agg. assault, 8   Domestic Agg. assault
Part 2 Crime: 27 Burglary, 111 Larceny, 66 Theft from MV, 57 Auto theft.  

Additional info can be gleaned from the crime maps on the Dashboard, which sometimes don’t use official terms, so may be a bit more specific.   Be aware that the symbols on the maps are sometimes not assigned correctly.    

1 bicycle theft was reported, which does not appear as a separate category.  This is way down from bike theft reports in warm weather, of course. One of the auto thefts in PPark was a car jacking, but that also does not appear in a separate category.   I can’t tell if that counted as both auto theft and robbery or not.

New report on a problem house in Marcy Holmes at 14th St. and 15th Avenue SE:  This house has been the site of two shots-fired, party-fueled events on 1/1/21 and 1/31/21.  Nine people were shot, but no one received life-threatening injuries.  

At the landlord’s request, CPS Nick Juarez is working with the landlord toward eviction of the current tenants, who are NOT college students.  It’s fortunate that the house rental permit is up for renewal this year because that means the house is subject to inspection which may speed up the eviction process. 

The Second Precinct has significantly increased patrol in that area, to the point that one of the tenants commented to an officer about it.

Discussion: “theft of motor parts” which often means “theft of catalytic converter.”A bill was introduced in both the MN House and Senate.   The intro reads in part:  A bill for an act relating to public safety; establishing requirements for the purchase of catalytic converters;
Contact your state representative and ask them to support HF330,  also contact your state senator  and ask them to support SF206 which is the corresponding bill in the senate.

Sydney.Jordan@house.mn
rep.mohamud.noor@house.mn
karid@senate.mn
Here’s the full text of both bills —
https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=HF0330&version=latest&session=92&session_number=0&session_year=2021220 ashttps://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF206&version=latest&session=ls92&session_year=2021&session_number=0
CPS Juarez commented that a similar bill was proposed several years ago when copper theft was raging in response to high copper prices.   The recycling lobby stopped that bill on the issue of, “How does one identify who owned the copper before someone brought it into the metal recycler?”    CC-theft bills may fail on that point as well, since few car owners  put an identifying mark on their catalytic converters.

Inspector Loining added that recyclers are very quick to put  materials into the crusher.  Cars   can be moved from the lot to the crusher in just a few minutes–obliterating the VIN and other identification. 

There’s a good article on this theft here: https://www.motorbiscuit.com/why-are-thieves-stealing-catalytic-converters-in-my-town/   One of the section heads says that a thief can make $200/converter, and the recycler will still make a profit. 

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

Jan. 2021 meeting report, part 1: Criminal Justice Behavioral Institute

Leah Kaiser  holds an advanced degree in forensic psychology.   She worked on the East Coast for several years and then in Hennepin County  Juvenile Corrections, chiefly with the Juvenile County Home School.  Six years ago she moved to Hennepin County Health and Human Services.  Currently she oversees the mental health system and people living with addictions, including both operative services  (teams that deliver )  and the larger network. 

There is an intersection between mental health/or behavioral health and criminal justice which mental health and law enforcement officials are beginning to align.

Background of the current program:  

5 years ago, partners in public safety and human services began looking at the people cycling through the courts and the jails who’s mental illness was driving their criminal behaviors.  Despite the many services, interventions  and resources, a small group of people continued to cycle and show poor outcomes.  

Profile of this cohort:  They have a lot of interaction with the police and cycle through the justice system.  They have mental health or addiction issues.  They often have housing instability or are homeless. 

The County Board, along with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, launched the Criminal Justice Behavioral Initiative. 

Ms Kaiser conveined representatives from the agencies, County and City, that deal with this cohort.   People from the MPD,  the HCSO, 911, Public Defender’s Office and more have been meeting for almost 6 years. 

They started with looking at the systems in use elsewhere to evaluate what was and wasn’t working well and found the Sequential Intercept Model.   This model was developed by SAMHSA.  It suggests you divide the interaction by intercepts across the criminal justice system.  The first contact for a person with mental illness is often a police officer (usually), then jail, court, probation, community.   The model shows where, in this process, you want to have a certain kind of response.    The team could look at the Hennepin model in comparison with the national model, and see where  the Hennepin County model could improve.   They found that H.C. had a lot going on at the end of the system (policies, services, data)  but very little at the beginning, the first contact someone has with law enforcement.   

For the last five years, members of the team have been lobbying for  money to support new programs and policies, earlier in the intercept channel. 

The team started with a new kind of training, Crisis Intervention Training (CIT),  which was added to the training program for Police Academy recruits.  The Co-Responder model was developed as an alternative first “intercept” (Kathy Waite was one of the people who worked on that model).   The  program has also  put social workers in H.C. Jail and in the Adult Corrections Facility in Plymouth.  They have developed the forensic ACT which is like a hospital without walls,  which provides a 24-hour service team supporting people with serious mental illness who are also on probation.   The teams help people stay on their meds so their symptoms are managed and they don’t continue to commit offenses.

The team created the Behavioral Health  Center at 1800 Chicago, a facility where people with low level offenses can get help.  People who want help can walk in and get it (ph. 612-540-5700).   If an officer finds a person with a low level offense (open bottle, trespassing, disorderly, etc) she can use 1800 as a drop-off center.   When the officer  brings the person to 1800 Chicago Ave., the criminal system disengages and the social service system takes over.  The Center provides mental and chemical health treatment, financial, food and medical help, housing and transportation programs and employment resources.   While 1800  Chicago is intended to meet the immediate needs of a crisis, the teams have found that unless they understand what went on before the crisis and what a successful outcome will look like, the process is likely to repeat.

Ms. Kaiser reminded us that this body of work is not limited to what happens in the Second Precinct or even Minneapolis.  The strategy covers all of Hennepin County.  

Many of her team have worked on the form of the Co-Responder Program we had (pre-Covid-19) at the Second Precinct.    They are now starting to field 911 calls; some go out with an officer, but others go out on their own.   The intent is to let cops do what cops are trained to do, and to let mental health professionals do their work also.  They found that the presence of an officer,  even in soft uniform, can escalate a situation.  Also along these lines, a system with the Downtown Improvement District is being developed that involves no officers in response, but does leverage mental health professional services.   A lot of these calls involve addiction issues.

One of the programs, Restorative Court, started with the City Attorney’s office and the Judiciary.  When a person first appears in court, providing the person is willing to engage, the City Attorney’s office, Social Services and the Court discuss if Social Services can support them.   If that is in place, the City Attorney can offer a better disposition, but it is hinged on the client’s continuing to work with social services toward an agreed upon outcome.  This has produced encouraging recidivism stats:  of 144 clients who entered Restorative Court, 100 did NOT re-offend (69%),  and 84% were people of color.

Ms Kaiser emphasized that the services and programs she’s described are not the work of any one program or office.   These services have been developed through consultation and collaboration. 

QUESTION:  Is there any talk about changing the response model to 911 calls not involving weapons?  The asker has done ride-alongs with University Police; it seemed like most calls were about trespassing or livability issues.

ANSWER:  This is being discussed.  Hennepin County just passed a resolution stating that a task force will study the system and implement improvements. A year ago, they launched a pilot program with the Sheriff’s Office 911 dispatch — note that the S.O. does dispatch for its own officers and 8 cities (not including Mpls.).   A year ago, Kaiser’s team put a mental health professional into dispatch to start studying what change could look like.   There are various levels of security and privacy issues that affect how a 911 call can be handled. 

There is also a cultural habit to deal with.  Right now, citizens are conditioned to call 911 for emergencies, starting with very young children–that is the default.  Similarly, police officers are the default, and they know this and do know that they’ll be called in for situations that have nothing to do with breaking any law. 

The ultimate goal of the mental health teams is to get people the help they need in the quickest way.   We have to turn the impulse away from “Call 911” every time, to calling the response that will access the most on-point response. There never will be a one-call-fits-all number and it’s reckless to suggest that.   Similarly, it’s reckless to talk about never calling the cops because there are incidents that need trained, armed professionals.  The goal is to get people the help they need so they will stabilize and no longer need to call for help over and over to get their needs met.  We’re living in a time when we need to accelerate our efforts, but at the same time, we need to be careful that we don’t tear down something that is helpful and needed.

QUESTION: What happened to the Co-Responder program that was pulled out of the Precinct at the beginning of the pandemic?

ANSWER: We have a contract with the City of Mpls but are waiting for direction from the City about what model they want — they have several models to explore.  Additionally, the models will be changing as Covid-19 vaccines roll out.   The teams will be looking at if some kinds of service retain effectiveness with remote contact.   If some levels of service seem to require going out into the field, they’ll figure out how to do that and when it’s most needed.   

Right now, the services that were offered through COPE are still in place, but the agency has changed how they’re operated.   [In Hennepin County, Adults 18+ call 612.596.1223 – Children 17 and under 612.348.2233 – Anywhere in the state, call **CRISIS 274747 to reach the nearest County crisis team] 

Ms Kaiser added that it’s important for people to remember that they can reach out for help before things escalate to a crisis.  They can help people navigate the system, look at possible responses and hopefully forestall a crisis entirely.    Hennepin County has a call center that helps people get connected to social services.  Its called the “Front Door” 612-348-4111 and  has social workers waiting to field those calls.

For a parting note, Ms. Kaiser suggested people look at the five year report and send any questions to her. See https://www.hennepin.us/-/media/hennepinus/your-government/projects-initiatives/documents/Criminal_Justice-Behavioral_Health_Initiative_Report_2020.pdf

**EQ:  Wikipedia has an excellent  SIM page:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Sequential_Intercept_Model

Recording of this Zoom meeting has available on Youtube:  https://youtu.be/o-VQ_Lw8RDk

Emilie Quast, board member

MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council (2-PAC)

Minneapolis MN 55418

e-quas@tc.umn.edu
Attachments areaPreview YouTube video 2PAC Meeting January 2021 “Hennepin County Justice Behavioral Health Initiative”

Jan. 2021 Meeting, part 2: Crime and Courtwatch

Our speaker this month was Leah Kaiser, who leads the Hennepin County Justice Behavioral Health Initiative.    You’ll find a report on her presentation in Part 1 of this report. 

If you have any questions about anything Ms Kaiser discussed or about this part of the report, send them to me e-quas@tc.umn.edu  and I’ll get an answer back to you.

PRECINCT REPORT:   CPS Nicholas Juarez and Rashid Ali bringing updates.
On 12/23 and 12/26, someone fired shots into a house on the 2500 block of SE Como.   On the first report, 5 to 7 shots were fired directly at the door of this duplex. In the second incident, shots were fired at the same residence, at a neighboring residence, and at a vehicle.  There is no public report of the reasons for those shots.  Officers gathered 15 or 20 casings from the scene.   The tenant has asked to be released from the lease. 

On January 1 at 3AM, three people attending a large New Year party were wounded by shots fired.  All are expected to survive.   The victims and their friends refused to cooperate with officers.  The  person doing the damage is a black male, 5’5″ with shoulder length braids.    This is a problem property.   Several days later, officers had to go in for another noisy party complaint, and this was followed by a third noisy party complaint.  The property owner is not responding to requests for information.
Nick reported that auto theft is rising.   Between January 1 and 7, we had 13 auto thefts, 10 of them were cars left idling or with the keys in the car, so very preventable.   Additionally, theft from motor vehicles and theft of catalytic converters drive the numbers in the Second Precinct.   Target cars are Honda CVV, Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Cross Trek and Hyundais.  Some of these vehicles can be retrofitted with a converter lock.   See your auto-repair garage for more information.
In the two weeks since we met, the Second Precinct recorded an additional 16 violent crimes and 140 property crimes, 86 of them involving motor vehicles.   Catalytic converter thieves are now moving up Stinson Boulevard, apparently, as well as into SE Como.    Despite all that, the 2nd Precinct remains the precinct reporting the least number of crime incidents in the city.   We need to start hearing those sawz-alls.

   COURTWATCH:  Nnamdi Okoronkwo, City Attorney and Holly Ihrke, P.O.  relayed how the change to Courtwatch is coming along.  (Their meeting, joining reps. from Hennepin County was scheduled for the next day.)   The City Attorney’s office does not support the Chronic Offenders lists any more.   Atty. Okoronkwo has been instructed to assist the Precincts in following some of the more troublesome offenders.     

Atty Okoronkwo had posted updates on three people from the previous list.
Samuel Haasse is now in Vet’s Court, which offers more supervision.   The Attorney believes that the closer supervision drives the personal accountability he sees developing. This is a service that is provided because of the client’s service to the country [building on a point of pride, perhaps].   Haasse has a review hearing later in January.   The hope of the specialty court program is to reduce recidivism. 

Jeffrey Breene is now in Restorative Court, a different specialty court.  He is not picking up more cases, either. 

Joshua Poplawski is another person on this list.   P.O. Ihrke had invited Poplawski’s probation officer to this meeting, but that person didn’t show up.  Atty Okoronkwo had talked to the P.O. and heard they were trying to get Popawski a bed.   The problem is that if he isn’t in jail, he’s not likely to get to his bed, or that they’ve kicked him out due to behavioral issues.   They’re still working for him, based on a belief that he will respond to close supervision.  He was still active in the U of MN area in November and December.   Atty. referred to Leah Kaier’s presentation, suggesting that a police response to this client is not necessarily the best response.   If Poplawski has been frightening people, however, police response may be called for.Atty. Okoronkwo wants to leave Poplawski on the list, as a “gap case”: not mentally ill enough to require civil commitment, but still picking up cases.

Kelli Durow is another gap case, but  has been found incompetent before, which means you can’t move forward with a treatment plan. 

Michael Zaccardi – P.O. Ihrke reported that he is in pre-trial and IS in compliance with probation — he’s doing the best he’s ever done on probation.  His pre-trial is for a felony case; we’ll get a report next month.
Meetings will be held this month with a few stakeholders to decide how to better align Courtwatch with community concerns.
CPS Nick Juarez pointed out that when Courtwatch was organized, one in each precinct, the Second Precinct was notable because the others all had Part 1 crime.   The Second focused on theft and livability crime, because that is what we had here [and we want to return to that status, I think].