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March Report, Part 1

The meeting was called to order at 6:15,  17 attending

MPRB Police Chief Jason Ohotto joined us to present an updated overview of Park Police responsibilities in the changing environment that is Minneapolis.  He last spoke to 2-PAC in June,  2016.  A lot has changed since then. 

Chief Ohotto has been in the MPRB Police for the last 24 years, the last 7 years as Chief.  He’s worked mostly in south Minneapolis, but now he’s actually a Second Precinct resident, so he’s one of “us”.

Briefly, the Minneapolis Parks system includes 180 parks covering more than 6800 acres. They are serviced by 49 full-service recreation centers (“the crown jewels”) and 55 miles of parkway.  The MPRB recorded  26.3 million visits in 2018 and was the site of 2000 permitted special events, most happening Thursday through Sunday, April through October.  About 400 of those events require direct policing:  Twin Cities Marathon and Pride each pull over 300,000 people,  Aquatennial events are huge and all over town, July 4 is a multiple location event. This is in addition to uncounted visits to the playgrounds, wading pools, homework help services, ice rinks, soccer, baseball fields and so much more.  In 2020 MPRB had a budget of $126.2 million. 

Since 1887, the Parks have had their own police force, rather than relying on MPD and UMPD to cover the territory.  This is in part because the Park Board is independent of city governance, which is a leading factor in making our park system the winner that it is.  Nine elected Park Board members are elected separately from the City Council.  The Park Board has the charge and the authority to acquire, maintain and develop the parks.  This has resulted in the creation of one of the very best parks systems in the country.  [EQ:  for a statistical comparison of  Mpls., St. Paul, and  the rest of the country:  https://tinyurl.com/snxcogn]

For one example of how the Twin Cities handle their parks differently, in 2008 recession, St. Paul closed some recreation centers; some were later privatized and leased off to NPO’s to operate.   Mpls did reduce hours, but never closed the recreation centers.  For this and other reasons, Mpls neighbors know our parks are the hearts of our neighborhoods.   Neighbors trust that their kids will be safe there after school, on weekends and all summer long, for preschool programs, organized sports programs, pickup games, and more.  Cities, just like people, act to protect what’s important to them.  If people had to rely on the MPD for concerns about parks, those calls would be important, but would have to be prioritized with all the other calls the MPD gets.  The Parks police have one highest priority: safety in the parks; for the Parks Police, a park call has the highest priority.

MPRB Police staff is very lean.  34 sworn police officers include Chief Ohotto, 2 Lieutenants (Patrol and Investigation), 6 Patrol Sergeants and 2 Investigative Sergeants, and 23 Police Officers (divided into 2 shifts 7A – 4P and 4P to 1A; between 1AM and 7AM, MPD takes any emergency calls).  There is 1 Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator working to make sure the Parks youth violence programs are in step with MPD and similar programs.  MPRB PD includes 15-25 Park Patrol Agents, similar to community service agents.  Most are aspiring police officers, retired police officers, or law enforcement students.  Patrol Agents are in grey uniforms, have limited ordinance enforcement, and have the same arrest powers as any other citizen.

Service averages over years 2016-2018 and limited to sworn officers:

  • 9192 calls for service (85% park related, and 15% emergencies outside the park)
  • 4680  recreation center stops
  • 2367 offense or incident reports

Budget  is shrinking:  2020 budget is $6.4 million – about 5% of the MPRB total budget.  This is down from $6.6 million in 2019,  resulting in one officer position and some programs getting cut.

CRIME AND SAFETY ISSUES IN OUR PARKS:

Parks are generally safe places to be, and they are intentionally open spaces.  Parks draw people who are looking for peaceful, uncrowded natural surroundings.   Although parks comprise 18% of Minneapolis area, less than 2% of Part 1 violent crime occurs in the Parks.  Parks are also places where people can go if they have no other place to go.

Mental Health and Suicide –  Suicide has increased by over 50% in Minnesota over the last 20 years, rising from a complicated list of factors.  Also increasing is the number of non-fatal self-inflicted injuries that needed hospital-treatment.  While parks are not the dominant place of incidence, they are increasing there, as in other places.

Serious Aggravated Crime in the Parks –   Part 1 crimes (murder, aggravated assault, rape, robbery) — Chief Ohotto brought a chart summarizing Part 1 crime incidents in greater Minneapolis vs Minneapolis parks over 8 years.  [EQ:  contact me for a copy of  this chart]   Brief summary:  Minneapolis comprises 30565 acres not including parks @ 6811 acres.  The 8-year average of Part 1 crime in Greater Minneapolis =  4158 ~ 98%.  Parks = 88 crimes, just less than 2%  

Theft from motor vehicles is the most frequent report, and, like city-wide theft  from motor vehicles, is the most easily prevented if owners will just take their possessions with them.  Credit or debit cards stolen from the cars can be taken and used to the max before the owner gets back to the car and finds they are missing.  This is a very organized operation:  the crooks use spotters to avoid detection.  The spotter reports what he sees.  Then a second person comes up, breaks in and is on his way in under a minute. The credit cards may be used in half an hour — before you get back from your jogging, your meeting, or from picking up your child.   

Addiction and Substance Abuse:  Park police began carrying Narcan in late 2018, reporting 7 successful interventions since then.  2019 saw 1 OD death, but the number is probably higher because cause of death is often “undetermined”.

Homelessness:  As homelessness is on the rise across the country, our parks see more and more of this also.  According to the Wilder Foundation, in 2019, the Park Police documented 127 camps, usually involving single adults or couples.  Contributing factors include a lack of affordable housing and shelter beds, but also include mental illness, drug and alcohol  addiction, all of which are interconnected.

Chief Ohotto shared the frustration officers face when a call comes in because someone has passed out or is living in a park.  The cause is likely based in a mental health problem.  Mental health is not and should not be a primary policing function.   There is a failure in our community to provide the resources necessary  to combat the trends Chief Ohotto is describing.  Officers can not provide shelter.   They can’t provide the special medical care that people need to manage their condition.

This impacts the livability of our city.   You’ve seen the statistics that prove our parks are safe —  there are fewer than 100 serious violent crimes over a whole year, but he still hears from residents who are afraid to go to their neighborhood parks because they see people who are drunk, on drugs, having a mental health episode.  This has a direct impact on the livability of our city. 

QUESTIONS: 

RESPONSE TIME:   MPS EMTs, MFD, and Park Police share  911 communications, which is why 15% of Park calls for service are not in parks (Parks officers were closest to the incident 15% of the time).  If it’s a reported medical emergency, EMT or Fire personnel are likely to get there first.  Dealing with crisis response: Parks police are familiar with the Police Co-responder Program, and access that program through the local Precinct.

MISSION: There is also a difference in long term missions:  Park Police work closely with recreation staff with a goal of spotting issues while they are still amenable to redirection.  It’s important to understand that, in contrast to city services which provides police, fire and EMT response, the Park Police does not exist to provide general public safety services.  Everything we do is focused on parks and recreation programs and to support those services. 

COVERAGE:  Our park system has grown tremendously in the last 20 years.  We have begun adding more land every year and there are more people living in the city  (50,000 more people are now living downtown that weren’t  there before).  Add to that, we now have more programs and special events.  We’re now responsible for serving the Commons Park adjacent to the stadium.  We have more land in the southwest sectors.  The more we add to the park system, but don’t add to the public safety resources, the more our service levels are diluted.

Officers in squads used to be able to give pretty even coverage or our large parks area.  We can’t do that anymore.  The demands of downtown are so great that we have to push more of our effort to the downtown area.  The Eastside (2nd Precinct) has lost the most service time, because the  Eastside has the lowest number of calls from the parks.  We’re not getting resource levels to maintain service levels that we enjoyed in the past.   

PARK POLICE AND THE SCHOOLS:  We no longer supply school officers, but our officers know what’s going  on because the juveniles who need attention are in both the schools and in the parks.   Park Police funnel what they know into the MPD information chain so everyone has it.  The Parks Police division partners with colleagues in the Parks Recreation Division with an initiative called Straight Reach.  This program has trained  youth workers who collaborate with us on intervention strategies, behavior issues.  We bring  these Straight Reach workers to all our special programs. They are the first ones to contact when there is disruptive behavior or fighting.  We went from having issues at Pride, and July 4 on the River, to having no issues last year.  It’s an effective program. 

HOW DO YOU PLAN FOR BIG EVENTS?  Practice and stable administration:  it’s the same people planning the programs year to year and building on what they have learned.  We’ve hosted the Final Four, Super Bowls and other very big events; we’ve had a lot of practice.  Planning in Minneapolis also responds to events that happen elsewhere, like the Boston Marathon bombing.  We talk about it and plan to prevent it.

We do L.A. programs on an Omaha budget.  Think about it: the entire state of Minnesota has 10,000 to 10,500 officers.   The city of Chicago, alone, has 20,000 officers.    [EQ:  Efficiency!]

March Report, Part 2

The meeting was called to order at 6:15.  17 attenders

MPRB Police Chief Jason Ohotto, brought us up to date.  He last spoke at 2PAC in 2016.  His presentation is summarized in Part 1 of this report.

COURTWATCH:  Nnamdi Okoronkwo, Mpls City Attorney presented. 

  • Richard Breen –  On April 2, he was placed on a health and welfare hold as he is unable to care for himself; so far, he is doing OK and has a Restorative Court pretrial on April 22.
  • Tanner Dewitt is in custody  HCJ, review hearing scheduled March 25.
  • Kelli Durow (aka Tamera Hoveland) has 7 new trespass complaints at the U of MN, this year alone.  Her arraignment was scheduled for March 18.  A lot of her  charges get dismissed because she is unable to participate in her own defense
  • Samuel Haase is in HCJ.  He has a hearing on April 14,  felony trespass.
  • Johnny Hall was scheduled to be discharged from probation on  4.4.19.   He has a new (1.16.20) charge of 5th degree drug possession, pretrial is 4.21.20.
  • Daniel Heacock was recommitted on 2.4.20 and has a review hearing on 8.11.20
  • Paula Heille graduated from Chemical Treatment Court on March 9!
  • Cody Horton remains on probation through 11.19.21 and had a review hearing on 3.12.20
  • Christian Klockeman had a hearing on 2.10.20 for Veterans’ Court but failed to appear.  Active bench warrant.
  • Joshua Poplawski  has been deemed competent to participate in his defense and his cases are going ahead.  He is in Homes Court to obtain housing.
  • Kirk Robledo is back in custody in Washington County.
  • Miles Shaw is in custody of the Dept of Corrections – his release date is 4.27.20.
  • Leslie Wade has a pretrial on 4.2.20 for his third trespass on U of MN property.
  • Michael Zaccardi  remains on probation until 1.31.21 for misdemeanor trespass.
  • Spencer Hermes remains on probation until 5.23.22 but (per his parole officer)  is unlikely to reoffend and is dropped from our watch list.  His 5th degree drug possession was his only police contact in the city since 1995.

STATE OF THE PRECINCT:  Officer  Nelson reported that theft from cars is still rising.  This is  from parking on the street, or restaurant or similar parking lots.   When the criminals see “something”, like a bundle or a bag,  break into the car and take it.  Clothes or a laptop, they will take it and find out what they’ve got later. 

Another issue is rising theft of catalytic converters.   If you hear a saw sound late at night, call immediately.  Rashid received a couple of calls that people had heard a saw sound late at night and didn’t know what to do about it.  The answer is call 911 immediately!  This theft can be a one or two person team:  they know what they are doing and they are very quick. QUESTION:  don’t the metal recycling people notice and report this?  ANSWER: it’s about the same deal as pawn shops.

Attempted abductions in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood.   There have been three incidents;  the victims have worked with sketch artists and seem to be similar features on all three sketches.  Officer Nelson assured us we have a senior  detective working on this and he is very good.  The Second Precinct is in the information pipeline.  There are extra patrols in the area for this and for the catalytic converters.  [EQ : the sketches appeared in the Star Tribune on March 13.  Check here:  https://tinyurl.com/r3dbtfs

Reminder:  OPEN HOUSE AT THE PRECINCT Monday May 11, 4-7PM.  Food off the grill, sides, beverage and dessert with sit down eating, Patrol Horses, K-9s, Bike Cops for Kids with drawing for give-away  bikes, the mobile command center and a lot more.  It’s rain or shine, and they have canopy shelter if it rains.     Join us!

Emilie Quast, Board member

February Report, part 1

The meeting was called to order at 6:17;  20 attenders.

Our speaker was Judge Lisa Janzen, Fourth Judicial District.  After several years as an assistant public defender in the 7th and 1st districts and managing attorney in the 1st District Public Defender’s Office, Judge Janzen was appointed to the bench in June of 2016 by Governor Mark Dayton.  After 3 years handling felony cases, she requested a rotation into treatment courts because she had a background working in treatment courts as a public defender.  Her assignment to Hennepin County Mental Health Court began in January 2020.  She also presides in Veterans Court. 

The  Minnesota Judicial Branch supports Treatment Courts throughout the state.  Hennepin County currently has 4 treatment courts within the criminal court system,  Adult Drug Court,  DWI court,  Adult Mental Health court and Veterans Court.  Judge Janzen  explained that Treatment Courts began approximately 20 years ago and are now in place in courts throughout the country.  The practices of treatment courts are based on an approach in criminal justice called “Evidence Based Practices.  In other words,  the practices of the courts and probation are based on an extensive body of research throughout the criminal justice system which concludes that treatment courts lower the recidivism rate.  Treatment courts are an alternative to incarceration in prison or jail; research shows there is a substantial cost savings to the criminal justice system when a defendant is successful in treatment court.    All treatment courts are now expected to apply what is termed, Best Practices.   Treatment Courts in Minnesota are overseen by State Court Administration.

Note:  when treatment courts are started up in a county, it is an extra court — an addition to the normal court load.  Frequently treatment courts apply for grants from the Department of Justice and other agencies to assist with costs.   The Minnesota Legislature also allocates funds specifically to treatment courts in its budget to the Judicial Branch.   In smaller counties, a treatment court may be scheduled for perhaps an afternoon each week, managed by one judge.  Hennepin County now has a large enough program to have two full time judges assigned to Treatment Court.

A Treatment Court is

  • A voluntary program — that is,  the defendant is admitting the charge against them and looking for help and support to change their behavior;  the defendant must voluntarily agree to abide by the terms of a treatment  court,
  • An alternative to the normal progress of a criminal case,
  • Offered to defendants who are at high risk to reoffend and have high needs such as chemical dependency, serious and persistent mental illness and may also             need assistance finding housing and getting other social services in place.
  • A collaboration among many professionals:  the courts, probation officers, social services, the county attorney and the public defenders offices.
  • A program that holds the offender to strict, intensive probation standards and holds them accountable for missteps. 

Hennepin County offers four treatment courts for adults: 

  • Mental Health Court is a court-supervised treatment program for adults who have committed felonies or misdemeanors AND have been diagnosed  with a serious and persistent mental illness,  Traumatic Brain Injury, or who have significant cognitive impairment.
  • Veterans Court serves veterans charged with a criminal offense and works in tandem with services being offered by the VA or Veterans Centers.
  • Drug Court is for people with adult felony level drug violations who are at high risk to reoffend.
  • DWI Court handles repeat driving under the influence offenders who need extra support to remain sober and crime-free. 

GOALS OF MENTAL HEALTH COURT

  •    Promote stability in the participant’s life, and to
  •    Facilitate access to services and resources, which should lead to further goals:
    •    Reduce recidivism,
    •    Reduce hospitalization,
    •    Increase compliance with probation,  and all of those goals likely will lead to
    •    Reduce jail sentences (jail can be in conflict with their need for support)

Who can participate (specific to Mental Health Court):  Adults with felony or misdemeanor charges, who are  diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI), traumatic brain injury or substantial cognitive impairment. The SPMI  may include a major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder.  This must be diagnosed by mental health professionals.

·         Who can’t participate:            

  •   Persons guilty of  criminal sexual conduct or registered as a  Level 3 registered sex offender.
  •   Persons on supervised release or parole from the Dept of Corrections.
  •   Persons who are NOT residents of Hennepin or Ramsey Counties; this is a transportation issue, not a residence issue.
  •   Additionally, the County Attorney can veto a person’s admission to Mental Health Court, after conference with law enforcement and others.

People who want admission to any treatment court in Hennepin County go through a screening process.  The screening team includes probation officers and licensed social workers.  Each applicant is evaluated for risk and needs level based on court and medical/mental health records.  The screening team ultimately advises whether a defendant meets the criteria for treatment court and recommends which treatment court would be the best fit.

Participation in a treatment court involves a much higher level of probation supervision and many more requirements than routine criminal probation.  So why would a defendant chose to participate?  If they complete the MHC program, they have done a lot of hard work and have made measurable progress.  Thus, they are likely to get a more favorable plea offer such as a downward departure from sentencing, including no jail time served.  Their charge may be reduced from a felony.  If their charge is a misdemeanor they may get  a stay of adjudication which ultimately results in a dismissal of charges.

How is success defined by the court?  The participant remains law abiding, maintains complete sobriety,  takes medications as prescribed, complies with their individualized care plan, obtains stable housing (many are homeless), obtains employment or enters an education program or a social community program or activities.  The time span is expected to be 12 to 18 months unless there is a relapse, which resets the procedure, starting with a new treatment plan, with closer oversight by the probation officer.  

Progress is monitored frequently in the beginning of the program with frequent court appearances and meetings with probation officers, who may mandate frequent and random urinalysis and/or chemical dependency treatment, and may require attendance at meetings like AA or NA.  Research shows that being held accountable, not just by the probation officer but also by the judge, is an effective way to ensure compliance.  With that level of contact, if a person misses an appointment, a U.A. or another requirement, the Probation Officer knows right away. 

Each participant has an individual care plan, agreed upon by mental health professionals, probation officers and other experienced, credentialed people.  The plan may include taking medications as prescribed, keeping appointments with mental health providers, participating in cognitive behavior programs where people learn how to make better decisions.  Participants may be required to live in supportive housing, if, for example, their usual home is also the residence of someone who has a detrimental lifestyle.  Some people may qualify to live in a group home.  Some may qualify to live in an intensive residential treatment home.

Mental Health Court programs are completed in 3 phases.  A participant can advance to a higher phase only after meeting the requirements of the prior.  The participant receives a “Phase Completion Certificate” which is awarded in court with applause and congratulations from the judge who monitors their progress through the process.  Incentives for staying in the program through all three phases include praise from the judge and probation officer, fewer court appearances and probation officer meetings, fewer urinalysis tests, fewer travel restrictions. 

On completion of all three phases, a participant must file a Graduation Petition.  If it is approved, the participant is presented with a diploma at a special hearing at which the participant and all team members may speak, talking about how much has been achieved. It’s not unusual for the participant to speak to others in the room who are still working to complete a phase — the members support each other and listen to each other.  After Graduation, a felony-level participant is placed on Administrative Probation, which is unsupervised probation (BUT the probation officer does a criminal check every six months, until the probation period runs out.  If a violation appears on the record, it  would restart the program.)

If someone messes up, the likely sanctions include written assignments or reports, an increase in the number of court appearances, probation meetings and or urinalysis tests.  A participant may be  required to do community work service or a “Sentence to Service” requirement (where you work for the county).  Alcohol monitoring or electronic home monitoring may be imposed, with a curfew.  Incarceration is a last resort because it impacts other areas, like holding a job, participating in treatment or counseling, losing contact with children, and more.  Some participants may need to return to jail to be held until a place can be found in an in-patient facility.  At worst, the participant will be terminated from treatment court and the original sentence will be imposed. 

The Statistics (as of April, 2019) -908  people have participated since January 1, 2013.  The current numbers (January ’20) are Felony=147 and Misdemeanor=24.

Graduation rates:  Mental Health Court  about 50%; DWI=80%; Drug Court = 56%; Veterans Court = 52%

Mental Health Court demographics:

                        Felony-   African American=54%; Caucasian=35%; Native American=6%; Multi-racial/other=4%; Asian=0%

                        Misdemeanor-  African American=33%; Caucasian=38%; Native American=13%;  Multi-racial/other=8%; Asian=4%

          Gender distribution – Felony-  Male=76%; Female=24%.  Misdemeanor- Male=58%; Female=42%

QUESTIONS from attenders –  

1) How does this differ from Civil Commitment?  ANSWER – In order to begin a civil commitment, a medical professional, a psychiatrist or psychologist must say they are a danger to  themselves or others, “right  now”.  A lot of the people in Mental Health Court do not meet this criteria.  It is possible that people in MHC are also in civil commitment.  The court processes are completely separate.

2) If people want to observe these courts  they are open court.  Monday morning is Veterans Court, felony Mental Health Court is on Tuesday and Thursday morning, misdemeanors are Wednesday morning.

3) What are Special Courts recidivism rates vs general court?  ANSWER – We don’t have stats for Hennepin County right now.  On the national level, Special Courts recidivism rates are  25 to 30% less than for general courts.

4) How do you get sober housing?  ANSWER –  If a person qualifies for chemical dependency treatment,  part of their funded treatment plan may include residing in a Sober Home after completion of primary treatment.  This housing would be put in place and approved by a county social services Case manager.  Other housing options might include a Group Home or an Intensive Residential Facility.  Whether a defendant is able to reside in these housing options depends on whether they meet certain criteria determined by the Department of Human Services and their county Case Manager.

5) Is there adequate staffing to keep up with MHC treatments? ANSWER –  The amount of support, resources available in Hennepin County is incredible.  Of course it would be beneficial to have additional probation officers, social workers and case workers, but looking around the country, we are fortunate to have the level of resources dedicated to treatment courts in Hennepin County and incredibly talented, dedicated and hard-working professionals helping M.H.C. participants.

6) What happens if a judge can’t make a court day (if they’re on vacation or need a medical out day).  ANSWER – There is a certain amount of money available for retired judges to come in for a day.  One retired judge used to preside in Drug Court and he comes in frequently. 

7) What is missing from the system to improve MHC?  ANSWER – We need more housing and treatment facilities for people.  There are not enough group homes or intensive residential treatment centers.  There are not enough crisis beds. For people who fall through the cracks — are not at the commitment level —  there are not enough services available for their level of need.  People may have to wait two months to see their psychiatrist to get their meds.  

That is not the courts’ issue; that is social services and the mental health system resource issue.  Some progress is being made.  For example, one facility in Minneapolis was only a detoxification center in the past.  It’s now an emergency mental health center, with crisis beds and walk-in mental health assistance.  It is an alternative to jail for law enforcement to bring someone they find in a mental health crisis.  Also, if they know about it, people can walk in and ask for help.   There are social workers, mental health and medical professionals on staff, crisis beds and medication services available.  This is at 1800 Chicago Ave.  

EQ – FFI  Special Courts are available in many Minnesota counties.  For a brief outline of state-wide special services available click here:  https://tinyurl.com/wjf5ktm

February Report, part 2

The meeting was called to order at 6:17; 20 attenders
Our speaker was Judge Lisa Janzen, Fourth Judicial District.  After several years as an assistant public defender in the 7th and 1st districts and managing attorney in the 1st District Public Defender’s Office, Judge Janzen requested a rotation into treatment courts because she had a background working in treatment courts as a defender.  Her appointment in Hennepin County Mental Health Court began in January 2020.  She also presides in Veterans Court. That presentation is summarized in Part 1 of this report.It will be released no later than Wednesday.


COURTWATCH presented by Nnamdi Okoronkwo, City Attorney’s Office
UPDATES
Richard Breen had a hearing on Feb. 12, in Restorative Court
Tanner Dewitt has a hearing on 2-21 for felony auto theft

Kelli Durow is charged with misd. trespass and interfere with a Police Officer.  She has been found incompetent and has a May 12 competency hearing

Samuel Haase has a Feb.25 hearing on 3rd degree burglary, but had been doing well.

Johnny Hall is under supervision after conviction.  He’s trying to get back into chemical dependency treatment.

Paula Heille violated probation on 11/19/19 and was sentenced to 180 days, with furlough to treatment after Rule 25 at the workhouse is complete and a bed is available. 

Christian Klockeman had a hearing on Feb.10 for felony threats of violence on 11/11; trespass at U of M on 12/14/19.  There is a note about Vet’s Court.

Joshua Poplawsi was found competent on  Feb.2 and had a Feb. 7 hearing
Kirk Robledo is in Ramsey County workhouse to Feb.29, but had a pretrial hearing on Feb.14 for a trespass on U of M campus

Miles Shaw had a Feb.12 hearing for trespass, possession of drug paraphernalia on U of MN campus; on Feb.18  will have a default hearing.  N.B. 5 incidents on U of MN campus.

Leslie Wade: had a Feb.6 pretrial for  U of MN trespass – is now on warrant status (bench warrant?)

Michael Zaccardi  remains on probation for 3rd degree assault until 4/5/22.  He was convicted for misdemeanor trespass and is on probation for that until 1/31/21.
NO UPDATES OR GOOD NEWS
Heacock was recommitted on Feb. 4; next hearing is Aug.11Spencer Hermes: no updates so is probably doing OK

Cody Horton: no updates so is probably doing OK

James Zaccardi has successfully completed  the terms of probation so far.  There is a comment:  Looks like he graduated from Mental Health Court.   He remains on probation until May 24, 2021 

PRECINCT  REPORT Sgt. Christie Nelson was beaming when she reported that the 2nd Precinct, working with the 4th Precinct, caught the BB gun vandals.  They were in a car and taking random shots at house windows, parked vehicles and other targets including the owner of Wendy’s House of Soul (restaurant).   One shot shattered a car’s side window and drove glass into the face of the woman next to the window.  The story was carried in the Star Tribune the next day.   http://www.startribune.com/four-arrested-in-string-of-bb-gun-shootings-in-north-and-northeast-minneapolis/567744302/
We still want more people to take our brief survey.  It is completely anonymous; we’ll never know who you are.  You can find it here:  https//tinyurl.com/qrlypcu

In March, MPB-PD Chief Jason Ohotto is bringing us an overview and an update.  Chief Ohotto last spoke to us in 2016 when we had a different Mayor, a different Chief of Police, a different Sheriff, and a different Transit Police Chief. 

January report, part 2

Our speakers this month were Cathy Perendy and Jeff Starr, the 2nd Precinct Co-Responders Team.
COURTWATCH-  Nnamdi Okoronkwo, Minneapolis Attorney’s Office brought the updates. 

–Samuel Haase had an arraignment on 1-16 for 11-21 trespassing and a pretrial on 1-21 for 4/9 and 4/10 trespassing. 
–Daniel Heacock had a hearing on 1-14, Atty Okoronkwo expects he will be re-committed.
–Spencer Hermes was to be on supervised probation until 5/23/22, but has just been charged with civil trespass at the Uof MN–Cody Horton will be on supervised probation until 12/19/20 after misdemeanor tamper with motor vehicle. 
–Joshua Poplawski was released from the workhouse on 10/30/19 and cited for trespass on 11/7/19 and 12/14/19. Attorney has filed an “Intent to prosecute”; there will be a hearing on Feb 4
            in Mental Health Court. 
–Kirk Robledo has a 2/14/20 pretrial for trespass and for theft (from Target Express).  Ramsey and Washington Counties also have charges against him.–Miles Shaw is being held by the Dept of Corrections, with a release date of 4/20.–Michael Zaccardi had a 1/17/20 hearing about a trespass charge on 10/05/19.
–Johnny Hall has now achieved administrative probation status (meeting conditions)
–Paula Heille is in outpatient treatment.–James Zaccardi is doing well with his mental Health Court agreements; review hearing on 2/4/20.
Five names were proposed to  add to the watch listRichard Breen, 2 new trespass chargesTaner Dewitt, 1 shoplifting and 1 auto theft
Kelli Durrow, 5 trespass charges at the U of MChristian Klockeman, 4 trespass chargesLeslie Wade, 2 trespass charges

PRECINCT REPORT –  Inspector Loining:  Congratulations on the 2nd Precinct Holiday Dinner.  Generosity, sharing, giving and sharing, community building, we had it all.
In 2020, we will emphasize taking care of each other, sharing the road and the streets.  Traffic needs slowing now.  We’re going to be focusing on bike theft especially around the U of MN which has a large percent of thefts from students (not by students).    MPD and UMPD will be working to gain community support and trust. 

Question about Marcy-Holmes shooting:  Answer:  the team gathered all information possible, and there is nothing that can be shared yet. 

From the 2-PAC Board – PAC is looking for attenders from each neighborhood in the Second Precinct.  Cody Hoerning prepared a quickquiz for people to let the board know who is really out there, how many of them know about 2-PAC, and what  safety and security topics they are curious about.  The quiz is absolutely anonymous.   Be a beta-tester and take the quiz at  Tiny URL  https://tinyurl.com/qrlypcu

On February 10, our speaker will be Judge Lisa Jenzen who will explain what she and her colleagues expect from the Specialty Courts, like Mental Health Court that seem to be making a healthy difference to some of the people listed on Courtwatch.  Join us at 1900 Central Ave NE, in the Monroe Village Apartments Community Room.  The doors open at 6PM, call to order at 6:15.

January report – The Co-Responders Program

The January 13 Second Precinct Advisory Council was called to order at 6:17, 17 attenders. 

Our presenters were Cathy Perendy and Jeff Starr the MPD Co-Responder team assigned to the Second Precinct. 

In Sept., 2017, a pilot project was launched at the 3rd and 5th Precincts, intended to change interactions between people with mental health issues and MPD first responders.  The scenario the S’Trib reported too often ended with  “[person] taken into custody and transferred to HCJ” —  a response that offered no long term positive outcomes — people were simply housed in HCJ  with no treatment until “a bed could be found”.  It is part of Chief Arradondo’s broadest goal to give people with mental and emotional issues help to find the services they need.  Two years later, the pilot project was successful enough to be granted a line in the city’s 2019 budget insuring permanent support and expansion to all 5 Precincts.  The program was begun in other precincts based on the number of mental health calls logged per precinct.  The Second Precinct program began in June, 2019.

When someone’s actions alarm family or bystanders, when a person’s health professionals feel a person may be heading for crisis, or when a person feels overwhelmed, a 911 call is the quickest way to get the help needed to stop a situation from going any further.  But that is as far as  MPD officers’ training goes. 

Assessing someone’s needs and facilitating their access to the right social services is best handled by trained and experienced Mental Health Professionals (MHP),  like those found in Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies (COPE)  [See an explanation of COPE at www.hennepin.us/mentalhealthcrisis]  Note that there is a separate program called Child Crisis for people age 17 and under.  Services from both programs are available regardless of a person’s ability to pay.  Both programs are available 24/7.  The Cope line is 612-596-1223  and the Child Crisis line is 612-348-2233.    

The Co-Responder Program pairs a Mental Health Professional from COPE with a police officer who is dressed in a “soft uniform”  (dark trousers and a polo shirt) which helps dissipate the tension triggered by sirens, flashing lights and full-uniform police first responders.  After the first responders have declared the situation “safe for civilians”, the Co-Responders arrive in an unmarked official car:  no insignia, no siren, no flashing lights. 

As soon as they arrive, the Co-Responders begin their assessment.  The First Responders leave when everyone agrees they’re not needed.  Possibly the first need is to calm the situation further, so the client feels safe enough to share what was going on.  Possibly a person had not been taking their medications for a while and the officers need to stay longer, in case they’re needed.  The MHP has the training needed to provide a provisional diagnosis,  knows what services are available to meet the immediate needs of the client, and can get the client immediately into the service stream, if that is what is needed.  This is a way for fragile people to “jump the waiting line” and quickly get support — they already have a diagnosis so they’ll have more rapid access to treatment. 

If the MHP determines that a client  is a danger to themselves or others, or if they are not caring for themselves to the extent that the Co-Responders have a concern about the client’s immediate well-being or safety, the MHP can write a “transportation hold’ with the purpose of keeping everyone safe from harm.  A transportation hold means that the person must go to the hospital, but can be transported in the team’s  vehicle.  They can’t leave the hospital until they’ve been assessed by a psychiatrist.  (This is not the same as a “72-hour” hold, which is a different document.)

The MPD “Inside MPD” page on the co-responder program is out of date (as of 1-14-20), but does provide a  statement of intentions. [See https://www.insidempd.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Focusing-on-Procedural-Justice-Internally-and-Externally-2018-5.pdf]     However,  just this month (1/2 issue), the MINNPOST printed an extensive background article — https://www.minnpost.com/metro/2019/01/how-co-responder-teams-are-changing-the-way-minneapolis-police-deal-with-mental-health-calls/elfchg   or tinyurl – https://tinyurl.com/snco6nq
How it works — The 2nd Precinct Co-Responder team is on site Monday-Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM.  (services are available 24/7, see above)  On Monday morning,  the calls received over the weekend are printed off and those suspected of being mental health related are flagged.   Ms Perendy then begins making phone calls to contact the first caller, relatives, neighbors, friends and others to find how if further contact  or assessment is wanted or needed.  She noted that people do express satisfaction that someone is following through — her calls are evidence that the police do care about the client’s well-being.   The team also calls people who have not been taken to a hospital, to find out how things are going for the client and for others.  She leaves her phone number and the COPE number with people the team has contacted.   Note that COPE can provide all the services that the co-responders provide but may call for help if a transport is needed.
Ms Perendy emphasized that people don’t know how many services are out there, or how to contact those services.  She can let people know about those services and put people in touch with them.  Additionally, since Perendy and Starr are in the Precinct, officers have gotten to know them, and officers also have started asking for the co-responder team to show up.    Officer  Starr pointed out that when first responders show up, they’re there to stop an event.  When the C-R team shows up, they introduce themselves make it plain they are there to listen and to understand so they can find and provide help — it reframes the situation.  
QUESTIONS from the floor:  HOW MANY CALLS DO YOU GET?  Number of calls vary day to day and season by season  —  holidays seem to be triggers.   Sometimes a family member or friend can be a bridge, assisting with access and helping a person accept help.  Sometimes, Ms. Perendy will coach a relative  or friend on what to say when they call 911 so they don’t leave out critical information.QUESTION – do people call COPE to “get back to a neighbor” with whom they’re having a dispute?  The person (COPE or Co-Responder) answering the call will steer the conversation back to the person who is being reported.  They determine what the relationship is between the caller and the target, and what is actually going on.  If someone seems to be at risk due to mental health issues (of either party)  Cope or the Co-Responder will follow through as it seems appropriate.
OPIOIDS AND Other drugs – If there has been an overdose, that person needs to get to a hospital.  There isn’t as much a mental health professional can do until the person is out of danger.  The team can follow up and offer treatment, and leave follow up information, but the person needs to accept help.    She will try to contact after the incident. 
QUESTION – Are persons from other cultures more resistant to accepting help.  ANSWER — That has been true in the past, but Ms. Perenty believes that has started to change.  They are beginning to have cross-cultural conversations.   Every culture promotes family, love, belonging, wanting to help. 
MORE QUESTIONS??  Send them to Emilie who will forward them to Ms Perendy and Officer Starr.  [e-quas@tc.umn.edu]I have the info handout on COPE and CHILDCRISIS and will get you a copy if you contact me at the above email address.  Please don’t just reply to this mail.

December Report, part 2

COURTWATCH:  Sandra Filardo, Hennepin Cty Atty’s Office and Nnamdi Okoronkwo, Minneapolis Atty’s Office reporting: 

UPDATES
–Samuel Haase has a pre-trial hearing on January 21 on his trespassing charge. 
–Daniel Heacock  was recommitted on July 19 but is no longer in custody and has a hearing on January 14 to see if he is now competent to stand trial. 
–Paula Heile committed a probation violation and will be in the workhouse until March 17; she can get a furlough for treatment  when a bed is available. 
–Cody Horton  had a review hearing in December 12, but seems to be meeting probation rules. 
–Joshua Poplawski was released from the workhouse on 10/30, but picked up on 11/07 for trespass and has a January 7 arraignment. 
–Kirk Robledo has an arraignment on Feb 4 for his theft from Target Express in Dinkytown; he has been sent to treatment. 
–Miles Shaw is in custody of the Dept of Corrections and his release date is Apr.20, 2020. 
–Michael Zaccardi was found trespassing on a construction site on October 5; his arraignment was on Dec. 10.

–Johnny Hall  remains on probation until 9/21/20, but has zero updates, meaning he is meeting the conditions of probation.   
–Spencer Hermes will be on supervised probation until May 23, 2022.  
–James Zaccardi  has been doing well in MHC treatment and has a review hearing on January 7, 2020.


THEFT PREVENTION OVER THE HOLIDAYS:
CPS Rashid Ali offered some strategies for preventing package theft.  It seems like some package thieves are following the delivery trucks, BUT  Amazon offers lockers in many locations around the Metro.  I tried this and the one most convenient for me is in Rosedale.  Here’s the link for you https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_200689010_findlocker?nodeId=201117850
UPS – https://www.ups.com/us/en/services/individual-shipper/ups-access-point-deliveries.page
and, USPS – https://gopost.usps.com/go/EPLAction!input
Spread the word!

More convenient yet —   A block club leader who works from home has a standing arrangement with members of her block club.  She accepts deliveries at her home for her neighbors and notifies them when a package arrives.
Inspector Loining asked people to (of course) make sure the house/garage/car are locked up over holidays and every day.  He added that if you will be out of town for a holiday trip,  you can register your home at the Precinct.  You’ll be asked if you have any regular visitors (like pet sitters), if you have lights that are on auto and if so, when they are timed to go on and off.  Do you know your neighbors and are they people you’ll be trusting with a key.  The idea is that a squad on patrol will have a  “empty house check” note so the officers will  drive past to see if all is as you have written.
The meeting adjourned.  People involved in the December 24 dinner stayed to check progress (and it looked pretty good so far)
Emilie Quast, Board MemberMPD Second Precinct Advisory Council

e-quas@tc.umn.edu