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Dec. Report, part 1

Sgt. John Sheneman spoke to us in 2015  about his work on his SWAT team, which was assigned to the Second Precinct.   He next went to the 4th Precinct, where he was a patrol Sergeant on Middle Watch and then the Dogwatch (overnight) shift.  When  he decided it was time for a change of assignments, Asst. Chief Mike Jones called to tell him he’d been assigned to the K-9 team.    This was a good fit for the K-9 Team

For background, the K-9 team was established in 1971.   It’s gone through some changes through the years, so the info we heard  several years ago is not entirely valid any more.   The kennels are still near the river.   That’s the place they do their training, including training for certification.   They do have some kennel space there; if someone needs to leave their dog for a while the other officers will take care of it. 

The unit now includes two Sergeants and 10 officers.   They have 12 dogs right now.     Only two of the dogs are trained in narcotics detection; the other ten are bomb detection dogs.  Additionally, all of the dogs are Patrol  Dog Certified meaning they have passed certification testing offered by the United States Police Canine Association.    The Narcotics and Bomb Detection certification is through the same association.   We have a lot more bomb detection dogs because Minneapolis has many events that require the use of bomb dogs.  If you ever go to Vikings games or other sports events, you’ll see the MPD K-9s there.   They start doing sweeps many hours before the event, and remain on site through the event and clear the building.  You may remember a couple years ago, we had the Final Four in Mpls, which required many dogs to do the sweeps.  The Sgts who lead the team want to add one more narcotics detection dog this year, which will bump us MPD K-9s up to three with that certification. 

Our dogs come from all over, including from the U.S., from Eastern Europe, Western Europe.   We look for dogs that are appropriate for our work.   They are expensive, ranging from $10,000 to $12,500 for a completely untrained dog.   The team works with vendors they know can provide dogs that can be successful at this work. 

Once the dogs get here, they spend about a week in the kennel, are taken to the U of MN Veterinary Services for additional x-rays and other evaluation to make sure they are sound.   The dog is then assigned to a handler who takes the dog home.   The dog lives with his handler, travels with his handler back and forth, all of which starts the bonding.   The relationship between the dog and handler is a very strong bond.  Once the dog is with the handler, they complete a 12-week course together.  This is required for new and for experienced handlers with new dogs.  Sometimes you’re training both the dog and the handler.   

The dog will learn to trace/track by scent.   People are leaving scent wherever they go, shedding DNA, skin cells, etc.   The dogs can detect that scent even if it’s very faint.   You want to be able to give them a scent, take them to an area and tell them to find — whoever is leaving the scent.   The dogs will start to scan the area  until they lock on the scent; then they follow it.  One of the difficulties for a new handler is to learn to “read” his dog’s signals, to know what the dog is signaling.  It takes a lot of practice — he’s been with his dog since 2018 and still makes mistakes. 

Another necessary skill is the  “article search”.   This happens when the K-9 team is called to a crime scene.  Perhaps Officers believe a suspect has thrown a gun or other article, but they can’t find it.   The dogs are trained to search an area near the crime scene and search for an article that has the suspect’s scent.  The dogs tend to make a methodical search, sweeping the area by going back and forth.   Many dogs prefer their own pattern, but they do use one.

The most challenging part of operations for Sgt. Sheneman is apprehending a suspect.   He was 48 years old when he went to an apprehension class for the first time.  It’s the part the public wants to see, so you go through an exercise with a decoy in a protective suit, but it’s the least challenging part of the job.  We don’t train our dogs to fail [EQ: I took this to mean use unnecessary aggression.] We try to turn everything into a game, so if a dog finds the target item on an article search or a person search, the dog is rewarded by getting to play with a toy.   One game technique is to let the decoy (person in the “bite sleeve”) start to play with the dog using the sleeve.  If the decoy then takes off, wearing the sleeve (now a toy in the dog’s mind), the dog is naturally going to run after him to start playing.  MPD K-9s are taught to apprehend, meaning  stop the target person with an appropriate bite, AND to release on verbal command.   MPD K-9s are never allowed to be mean or to use unnecessary force.  [More detail in 3rd paragraph down.]

We spend time doing building (inside)  and area searches (outside).   His dog is a bomb dog.   When the dog finds  an odor he’s been taught to find, he sits. One of the detection training tools is called “pop-up boxes”   [EQ: a Google search (dog training   “scent detection”) yielded over 78,000 responses]     When the dog sits in front of the correct box, a remote “pops-up” a reward for the dog giving him a strong incentive to succeed.  

The class typically lasts 12 weeks (some last longer).   His class lasted 22 weeks because of a break in the middle of training.   Both people and animals go home sore and tired. 

To graduate from the class, the team must pass a certain number of tests.    They include an “out” — on an apprehension you must be able to verbally make your dog let go.  You must have a recall —  you send your dog after a decoy who is running away, and you verbally call them back from the chase.  Locating an object — the dog must locate an article in an “article pad”, a place where they let the grass grow all year. 

Detector certification is pretty similar.   The dog must locate a “hide”, that is, find an object that is in a vehicle, or in a bag, or concealed in a room.  It might be multiple bags or multiple rooms or multiple vehicles. 

Once a team graduates, they work city-wide.   They are not assigned to  a precinct.  They are a support unit called to support officers or investigators.   They are called to locate persons or  evidence.  They are called to help clear buildings after events or burglaries.   They get called to work in bomb detection, partnering with the bomb squads.   When they are not called for a specific task, they go out in squad cars and uniforms  to help patrol the city.   

After the  team (human and dog) has “graduated” the training goes on.   Sgt. Sheneman said that training never stops.    If you stop practicing, the human would not be good at a skill or procedure any more, but that is only true of the person.   The dog might shut down out of boredom.   This was hard for the Sgt. to work around, because his way of learning a skill is to practice until he is good.   This doesn’t work with the dog.   The teams are required to train 16 hours a month, with others.   The training sessions are good because the human on the team can get another trainer’s perspective. 

One of the challenges is to learn when you want to use your dog and when you shouldn’t.  When you are out with your dog, you must constantly assess if you’re in a good place to have your dog.   Doing a track at night, you won’t run into as many people which is good.   Doing a track in the afternoon, you may find there is too much going on.  He was once asked to track a person through a neighborhood, but when he showed up, the place looked like they were having a block party, with lots of people, unleashed dogs and more.   He refused.  Too many things could go wrong in a crowded situation.  Usually you can go around a situation.   The block party was not so.
Sgt. Sheneman related that when he started working with the dog, he was perhaps a little too cautious because too much was new.   Now, as new K-9 handlers join the team “they” go out on calls and help the new officers assess new situations, to learn when and how it’s appropriate to use their dogs.


Question:   What is an “appropriate” dog for your unit?
Answer: An appropriate dog has drive, not aggression. He has the desire to work.  We want the dog that goes when we need to go.
Question: Do you ever cross-train?   [example of a dog who had different expectations from two different people and refused to respond when both of them were present]
Answer:   We might run into that with our dogs, except we vary verbal control/leash control together.  Ultimately, when we renew certification every year with the US PCA,  it’s off lead.  You have to pass verbal commands off-lead.  You are limited to only a certain number of commands.  Because the dog knows those commands, but only from me, he would not respond to another person using the same commands.    We do use the lead in training to enforce the command we just gave.   As we train, we go to lighter and lighter leads, until we get to a “cat lead”  which is a thin line the dog can’t feel.   Then we’re ready to practice verbal control only.   

When I go on actual patrol, I go back to using the lead to reinforce, “This is what we’re doing now.”
Complete recording of the Dec 13 meeting:  https://youtu.be/N-rzRWB5TEc

Emilie Quast, board memberMPD 2nd Precinct Advisory Council (2-PAC)e-quas@umn.edu

Attachments areaPreview YouTube video MPD 2-PAC: MPD K-9 Teams

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Dec. report, Part 2

State of the Precinct
Inspector Loining sent the following chart and some good graphics, depicting YTD crime in the 2nd Precinct.   image.png

Referring to the chart “2nd Precinct reported Violent Crime 1/1 – 12/6”  the Inspector reported he met in early December with Surkyk’s  owners and separately with Jeff Meehan (2-PAC  board member).  The crime trends in the Second Precinct are in line with  the trends across Minneapolis, the MSP metro area, and every major city across the country. 

In the 2nd Precinct, we normally see 2 to 4 homicides, and this year we’ve had 3.  
Reported sexual assaults have gone down for the last two years,  so that’s good news. 
Robberies, including car-jackings are up.   In 2020, we had 163 reported robberies.  2021 saw an increase of 47% — 241 reported robberies [as of 12/13]. Back in 2019, we had 98 reports. 
Aggravated assaults (assault with a weapon.  It can also be an assault that causes substantial body harm as a broken nose in a fight — these are felonies) 
In 2019, 6 people were shot in the 2nd Pct. but in 2021 the number was 37. 

We’ve heard people blaming the rise in crime on the loss of officers.  It is true, we’ve lost about 30% of staff.  

Inspector Loining doesn’t feel this has led to an increase in crime.  Certain elements in the criminal groups are becoming more bold and more violent.  They, like the rest of us, hear that police staffing is down.  What is also true is that the consequences of crime have been watered down.   The Hennepin County and City Attorneys’ Offices do a good job of prosecuting cases.    We’ve had instances in which suspects are apprehended, put in jail, and then released.   Then they go out and commit more crime. 

The Inspector related a story shared at a meeting of precinct inspectors.   Officers had apprehended people suspected of a robbery and put them in the back of a squad car.   The squad video captured the people, who were juveniles, laughing in the back of the squad and singing.  It is very concerning that these juveniles were not apprehensive about their situation.  

So, what do we do about this?  We ARE maintaining the number of officers out on patrol every day.   We do this by requesting assistance from other precincts, we post overtime shifts.  We have a quorum of officers we must have out there every day to effectively and efficiently answer [prioritized] calls for service.  We work to meet that.   [EQ:  I can testify to that.  I wanted to drop something off mid afternoon at the precinct and it was lights out, door locked, notice on the door instructed me to call 911/311 for assistance.  I later met the day watch Sgt who told me the reason:  that officer who would have been at the front desk was needed in a squad car.] 

It is true that we’ve lost officers to medical and other issues, but the officers who are out there working, are there because they care.  They took an oath to serve and to protect, and they are upholding that oath.   

The Police Academy just graduated a new class and the 2nd Precinct got 4 of those officers on their roster.   They started on December 5.   Acting Chief Hoffman announced that 2022 will see four more academies, which points to an increase of 160 officers in the coming year.     Additionally, the MPD is sending out notices to hire experienced officers in other PDs.   If they’ve had training and experience, they can expect a shorter training requirement and they’ll be on the street much earlier than a new recruit would be.    [EQ: Officer Hickey described the shorter training requirement in November when he presented to 2-PAC]

The Inspector and CPS Ali responded to Emilie’s comment that we still need to remind and teach residents to take more responsibility for their own safety.    A comment was made that incoming University students are young  enough to still feel invincible.   Additionally they may be moving in from a suburb or other municipality where it’s normal to leave a car running to warm up, or to leave the house unlocked to run a quick errand.  In the inner city, either of those can trigger a crime of opportunity.
Headline crash info.   The story of the Dec. 8 crash at Lowry and Hayes that killed two people is outlined here:    https://www.hometownsource.com/sun_post/community/police-pursuit-of-stolen-vehicle-ends-in-two-deaths/article_b48f4548-5c70-11ec-96ae-7b764fe2377d.html  The Star Tribune’s photo is terrifying: https://www.startribune.com/teen-killed-in-northeast-minneapolis-crash-while-fleeing-police-idd/600128188/
CPS Ali pointed out that “…Every city has a different policy when it comes to pursuing vehicles.”   Later Inspector Loining clarified, “Robbinsdale PD pursued the vehicle. The fleeing vehicle crashed at Lowry AV NE & Hayes ST.   NO MPD Officers were involved.”    Thank you, Inspector. 

Court watch:
City Atty Nnamdi Okoronkwo had not been in court for a while.   He’d been setting bails for people accused of domestic abuse which is a mandatory arrest.   If the accused is not there when officers arrive, we have people to follow up with the complainant, to see if they need services, and to discuss if there is a need to plan a removal.

He commented that the things his office prosecutes, livability cases, DWIs, burglaries, and so on — the City Attorney’s Office just does not have  the big hammer that you usually have if you can’t hold people for a period of time.   This can add to the problem if people don’t see the consequences immediately, they can continue to act that way.
Probation Officer Holly Ihrke reported ongoing work in Hennepin County.   A lot of effort and resources have been dedicated to sheltering people.   Teams of health care workers and resource workers are going to encampments and trying to provide medical and housing needs.   The Second Precinct has been good at networking with those providers.  Also, the Bench has been good at seeing that warrants based on livability crimes can be an impediment toward getting into  a stable setting.  

There used to be a Specialty Court that focused on this issue, but that was shut down.      In response, P.O. Ihrke, Atty Filardo (HCAO) and Mary Ellen Heng in the City Attorney’s Office, the Bloomington City Attorneys, and the Public Defenders Office came up with a Housing Readiness Bench Warrant Resolution process.   If people are actively seeking housing services, and are working with a case manager, but they have outstanding warrants or cases that are preventing them from getting permanent shelter, a process has been created to actually resolve these cases.  Landlords don’t want to rent to someone with pending cases.   The City and County Attorneys offices and public defenders negotiated an agreement on which cases they’re willing to address.     This process was created for two reasons:  1) to fill the gap that the former Homes Court addressed, and 2) to prevent a lot of livability crimes being charged that would not happen if people had a place to go to. 

That is a bright light:  city and county attorneys are coming across and agreeing with public defenders on a program to assist unsheltered and attorneys and defenders agreeing that the point of entry can be the Public Defenders Office.   [that is a great start!–EQ]
Charges:  12 felonies were charged last month in the Second Precinct: 2 assaults, 1 burglary, 2 drug charges, 1 kidnapping, 1 property damage,  3 robberies, 1 theft.
Atty Okoronkwo commented that his office has NOT been told to not charge some of these offenses, but there is awareness that for some individuals, a charge may be a very high barrier to a person’s being able regain stability and so a charge can contribute to a person’s homelessness.

P.O. Ihrke again commented that the Second Precinct is very good at meeting people at their level, triaging, working with the workers.
Atty Okoronkwo added that he works with a lot of public defenders and believes they have a strong sense of what we are discussing here.  They want to find resolution for their clients. 

Nov. Report: Who’s Supporting our Supporters?

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

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

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

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


WHAT IS THE POLICE FEDERATION?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MPD HEALTH & WELLNESS UNIT

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

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

Health and Wellness rests on four important directives.  They:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OUTREACH & CONNECTION – Services provided include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Critical Incident Calls

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

Social issues

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

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

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

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

Thank you Officer Hickey and Lt. Michal.
If readers have more questions about this presentation, please send your questions to me and I’ll forward them to the Officers. Youtube recording: https://youtu.be/OBnZiTjNUb8

STATE OF THE PRECINCT


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COURTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Cornerstone: Rebuilding Lives. Restoring Hope.

Our September speaker, Cheryl Kolb-Untinen, is the Program Director for Cornerstone’s Prevention, Education and Clinical Services program.  In addition to her academic qualifications, she is a certified “Danger Assessor”   and a “Personal Empowerment Facilitator”

Cornerstone has two statewide programs providing services, Day One and General Crime Services.

Founded in 1983, Cornerstone serves the needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual trafficking/exploitation and general crimes. It’s important that people have information on these services and how to access them.
Mission Statement:   Cornerstone’s continuum of service helps to create communities where individuals and families are safe and children thrive.   We advocate, educate, and lead the way to social change.

First:  defining key terms
Domestic violence — Based on Minnesota Statute  518B.01 the Domestic Abuse Act, there are seven relationships types that qualify as domestic abuse:
(a) Family or household members include:
(1) spouses and former spouses;
(2) parents and children;
(3) persons related by blood;
(4) persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;
(5) persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or
have lived together at any time;
(6) a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father,regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; and
(7) persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.
(b) Domestic abuse means the following, if committed against a family or household
member by a family or household member:
(1) physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
(2) the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
(3) terroristic threats, within the meaning of section 609.713, subdivision 1; criminal sexual conduct, within the meaning of section 609.342, 609.343, 609.344, 609.345, or 609.3451; or interference with an emergency call within the meaning of section 609.78, subdivision 2.

Sexual violence — Cornerstone services are limited to adult victims and sexually
exploited/trafficked youth.  

There are several agencies in the Metro area that work with children regarding child sexual abuse including the Minnesota Childrens Resource Center at Childrens Hospital and Corner House (which does get confused with Cornerstone) both of which can conduct forensic exams and interviews.   Approximately 70% of victims of adult domestic abuse have had a previous victimization history, many in childhood or adolescence.  

Human trafficking – Minnesota law defines sex trafficking as The “receiving, recruiting,
enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution  of the individual” or “ receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from [sex trafficking].” Minn. Stat. § 609.321, subd. 7a.

Ms.  Kolb-Untinen added that trafficking involves the benefit of something of value to a third party,  whereas Sexual Exploitation can be something like survival sex, trading sex for some unmet need, like food,shelter or cash going directly to the person who provided the sexual act.
General Crime — Any crime other than the 3 listed above is referred to as General Crime Victim Services. If someone is the victim of any crime, they can seek out services from Cornerstone general crime advocates who can provide direct service or resources/referrals if needed.

Impact of Covid —
Cornerstone runs the statewide helpline for victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and trafficking/exploitation known as the Day One Crisis Line. This is a service for anyone in Minnesota who needs assistance or wants to speak to an advocate. If looking for shelter, a  victim only has to call Day One to get a referral for available space.   This is in contrast with a common situation in other states where a caller might get a list of places to contact in order to try and find spacein a shelter.  Day One can field the call and transfer it to a location where bed space is available or provide referrals where other desired services can be accessed.
Covid had a visible impact on the number of calls for shelter to  the Day One Crisis Line.  
Comparing a mid-March to mid-April tally, 2019 saw 470 calls, in 2020 they received 388 and in 2021 there were 323 calls.   The Covid lockdown had the unintended consequence of people being kept in the same residence that they may share with an abusive person.   It is significant that some callers stated they were hesitant to come into a shelter for fear of catching Covid. 

However, for the same period, the total number of all contacts (calls, texts, chats, email) were 1392, 1731, 1484 for the same period so actual calls for help rose in 2020.
In response, Cornerstone and nine other agencies applied for additional shelter funding so that clients could be put in individual hotel rooms which lessened the additional worry about contracting Covid.    There were also rooms set aside for people who had tested Covid positive to reduce the worry of Covid spread and to prevent being denied safe shelter.    These programs will be wrapping up at the end of September, 2021.

Services provided
Shelter:  Because funding comes from the Office of Justice programs, shelter is offered on a first come/first served basis to adults and their children escaping a dangerous or escalating situation.   It is focused on serving the immediate safety and support needs of individuals impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence and/or human trafficking.  This includes males up to age 18.  People can stay in emergency housing until their safety needs have been met and while seeking out a longer-term housing solution.   The reason to have some measure for length of stay in emergency shelters is that if people are not moved to other places, Cornerstone won’t have  open beds for new people who need to come in due to being in imminent danger.
Crisis support and advocacy:  Cornerstone can provide access to many resources for people who are seeking help, starting with being a trustworthy place to meet and talk about a participant’s situation and going on to offer options for possible next places and next steps. 

  Cornerstone’s 24-hour Helpline is 952-884-0330  

Adult Services:  Cornerstone offers support groups clinical services which are open to concerned persons and seasoned survivors.  Due to Covid-related stresses which triggered increasing numbers of callers for help, Cornerstone had to start a waiting list for people seeking that help.   Some support groups now meet via Zoom.  Cornerstone also offers support for concerned persons,  that is friends or family who know and care about someone who is experiencing domestic abuse. These support persons need to learn where to go for support for themselves or for the people they care about.

Seasoned Survivors is a group for women who identify as more mature and who no longer have minor children, who may have greater concerns about issues like co-parenting or custody.
A number of services provided by Cornerstone fall under the umbrella of Community and Economic Empowerment Services.   Some of these needs can include food support, crisis  advocacy, safety planning, financial empowerment classes or other service needs. 

Cornerstone  may also be able to assist with some economic needs through the Direct Client Assistance funds.  For instance, if an abuser broke into a victim’s residence through a window or door, this fund may be used to repair the door or the lock.
Cornerstone can provide criminal and civil legal system intervention, though civil services have  been in great demand.   While Cornerstone is temporarily no longer writing orders, they ARE  providing referrals to services that can assist with this.  Additionally, the court system has put a  lot of forms on-line with instructions so people can actually fill out some court papers on their own. 

For criminal intervention, Cornerstone has relationships with about 10 jurisdictions in the Metro area, including Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Richfield, Bloomington and other jurisdictions.  Cornerstone provides a liaison between the victim and the prosecutor so that the victim does not have to come into court for criminal proceedings if they choose not to, when an abuser has been arrested and charged.

Safe Harbor and other Sexual Violence Services, offer services to victims of human trafficking  and to sexually exploited youth and young adults.  Safe Harbor Services are now available to  people up to 24 years old.

Community and Economic Empowerment Services offer classes in financial literacy, and related  services including a rapid rehousing program.  A few years ago, HUD actually changed the definition of homeless to accommodate people fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence.   Until this change, there was not a good connection between identifying people as homeless due to experiencing domestic violence.
Youth services:    Cornerstone offers School-Based Services in middle school and high school  classrooms. They present on topics like dating violence, sexting, healthy relationships and more.   The school based services team created a social justice presentation that was approved by the  district and now can be offered to all Bloomington middle and high schools.
School based Services also includes advocacy to students referred by the schools or who self-refer. Not a Number is an educational group Cornerstone presents for youth at risk of sexualexploitation, though it is temporarily suspended because it can not be presented on Zoom.   We’re hoping it will resume soon.  It teaches youth to recognize what is happening when an adult may be grooming them or actually exploiting them.  [EQ; see https://love146.org/notanumber/]
Advocacy Services
Cornerstone is a resource and referral service to help people impacted by   violence.
Cornerstone offers speakers to explain the need for its services and to offer help to people who need that help.
Cornerstone offers volunteer opportunities to people who want to help others, including working behind the scenes, sorting donations and other services.
Cornerstone offers internship opportunities to people who are post-high school students studying in fields related to the participants we serve, such as social work, criminal  justice and gender and women’s studies..  Right now, Cornerstone can NOT offer Clinical Internships for Masters degree candidates, but hope to restart that soon.
Minnesota Day One Crisis Line – Day One is a network of over 90 victim- and youth-serving  agencies:  Together they provide:

  •  Support: 24-hour crisis supportive services
  •  Safety: Getting and keeping you and your family safe
  •  Housing: Providing emergency shelter and safe housing
  •  Resources:   Support groups, transitional housing, legal advocacy, culturally   specific services and more

CALL:  1-866-223-1111          TEXT: 612-399-9995

Minnesota Crime Victim Support Line.  Under Minnesota law, a crime victim is defined as a person who incurs loss or harm as a result of a crime.   A victim includes the family members,  guardian or custodian of a minor, or an incompetent, or an incapacitated, or a deceased person (Minnesota Statutes section 611A, subdivision 1)   Minnesota Emergency Crime Victim Fund can help pay for emergency costs that arise from being a crime victim such as assistance with the redemption fee for a car recovered from the impound lot, when other resources may not be  available.

CALL: 1-866-385-2699  TEXT: 612-399-9977Summary of ways to connect with Cornerstone Locations/phone numbers are:
Cornerstone  Bloomington (1000 East 80th St.  Bloomington MN)  952.884.0376
Cornerstone Brooklyn Center  (7051 Brooklyn Blvd. Brooklyn Center MN)  952.884.0376
Cornerstone Minneapolis (2249 East 38th St., Minneapolis MN)  612.374.9077
Call first, many services are in high demand and an appointment may be needed

24-hour helpline: 952.884.0330

MN Day One Crisis Line   Call 1.866.223.1111   Text 612.399.9995
MN Crime Victim Support Line   Call 1.866.385.2699   Text 612.399.9977

Websites: cornerstonemn.orgdayoneservices.org
Facebook: cornerstonemn   and  dayonemn

In answer to the question about certification as a Danger Assessor, and a Personal
Empowerment Facilitator, Ms Kolb-Untinen explained both programs.
Danger assessor certification:   

Dr. Jacqueline Campbell of Johns Hopkins University worked with and studied histories of domestic violence and domestic homicide cases.   She discovered a number of common markers for danger as a relationship goes through an escalation phase.
While nothing is 100%, knowing these markers can give people an idea of where things are heading and what safety planning might be needed. 

Additionally, the most common coping skills Ms Kolb-Untinen has found in victims are
minimization and denial.  Many times when completing the assessment with participants, they  are surprised that the assessment relates so closely to their personal experience. The assessment can provide valuable information to a person who is finding it difficult to acknowledge the extent of what is actually occurring. 

Some Law Enforcement agencies in Hennepin County have assessments they can use when they are dispatched to a domestic call.

www.dangerassessment.org is the Danger Assessment website which offers on-line training of the tool, and you can also go to https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/jr000250e.pdf  which is the Office of Justice Program PDF   There are also articles about Ms Campbell on Wikipedia.  

QQ from 2nd Precinct:   We have the Cornerstone number to hand out, but people want to know what the cost will be to them.

ANSWER:  Cornerstone referral services are free to anyone who needs them.    The only thing that would be charged for is if a person utilizes clinical therapy.  Fees for that service are on a sliding scale to make that as accessible as possible. 

Minneapolis PD has a contract with Cornerstone to provide a 48-hour phone response service, to work toward whatever the victimseems to need.
Asking about animal abuse in a troubled household, Day One has a program called MNAFAS  (Minnesota Animal and Family Safety)  through which animal care locations/veterinarians can foster and shelter an animal when a victim/survivor is going into an emergency shelter. Many  shelters are a type of communal living situation, so bringing in animals other than trained service animal is not allowed.
EQ:   Minneapolis Animal Care and Control offers safe shelter to animals in this situation also.   The complainant must have an official case file with the police or social services.   MACC will  coordinate with social services to extract the people and animals at an agreed upon time.   The  animal can stay at the MACC for a week free of charge, longer in some circumstances.   The only fee to retrieve the animal is the cost of bringing innoculations up to date and to buy a city  license if there is no license on record.

FFI: https://courtwatch2pac.com/2017/04/25/2-pac-april-meeting-report/    scroll down to 1) Domestic Violence Initiative and item 2 following.

Empowerment facilitator certification: 

Twin Cities Rise is a program started in 1993 by a former General Mills executive, Steve Rothschild, who is now a board member, emeritus.   The current chairman is Donzel Leggett, another former General Mills executive.  This North Side-
based nonprofit works with people who may have been incarcerated or had challenging life situations resulting in not much support, focus on education, and perhaps little training in job  skills. 

Ms Kolb-Untinen related that the first class taught at Rise focused on the hard skillsneeded at the jobs that were lined up.   At the end of the year, very few placed persons still had that job.  Rise officials discovered that emotional intelligence and personal empowerment were necessary components to keep the job. 

Cornerstone can offer these classes where these skills can be learned. This is of particular relevance to Kolb-Untinen because one of her interest areas is the prevention of re-victimization, which is an area of vulnerability for persons who have already experienced victimization. 

Using the Twin Cities Rise Personal Empowerment curriculum, she can helpprevent that by helping people to learn to how to value themselves, set healthy boundaries and other emotional intelligence and personal empowerment skills. (Note: Classes are not currently being offered, please see https://www.twincitiesrise.org/ for their current offerings.)
EQ Twin Cities Rise was featured in two 9/6/21 Star Tribune stories:
https://www.startribune.com/twin-cities-rise-offers-second-chances-for-the-unemployed-and-underemployed/600094269/
and
https://www.startribune.com/black-general-mills-executive-grateful-for-his-success-helps-others-
make-goals/600094270/

QQ What is the new definition of homelessness?
Cheryl :They added: fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, sexual violence or
stalking.  Further comment:  We know that one out of four women and about one out of ten men have experienced physical domestic violence.  Healing does not usually occur in a straight line, you go from here to there and you’re done. Healing is more like spiral, you do some work on the issue and then may need to re-visit parts of it when you experience a trigger or even a milestone event in life. Many people spend their life coping with the effects of victimization, [her] way of coping was using food. In deciding to work in this field,  I needed to move beyond coping and work on healing. It’s not uncommon for victim/survivors to work in the field of advocacy, estimates are that about 65-70% of people called to work in this field are survivors.

QQ: You talked about a general crime fund.   There is also a state Crime Reparations Board.

Cheryl:   We can assist people in accessing Emergency Crime Victim Funds for things like that door that got broken or the car that was impounded. 

Reparations is a little bit different.  Reparations is about longer term financial consequences of experiencing crime victimization such as lost wages, funeral/burial expenses for the survivors of a homicide victim and counseling/mental health services as some of these services can take place over a longer length of time.
Cheryl closed with a reminder that her contact information is [in this report]; if anyone needs it they should feel free to contact Emilie, who will get that to you.

Sept report, Part 2: State of the Precinct and Watching the Courts

State of the Precinct

Crime summary for the first 12 days of September: 

8 aggravated assaults, including 5 domestic agg. assaults.

2 robberies and

1 rape

Property crime – 130 incidents, including

68 larcenies

27 theft from m.vehicles

18 auto theft

17 arsons.

As usual, the Second Precinct had the lowest percent, 6.25% of all reported Mpls. Cases.

CPS Rashid Ali commented that when we talk about the lowest percent in the city, we lose sight of the

fact that for the Second Precinct, these numbers are very high.  They are going up every week. 

We just do not have enough officers on the street.   AND if we had seen those numbers two years

ago, we would be freaking out.  [EQ:  Good points!   Thank you.]

QQ: Is police attention still focused in Dinkytown?  

CPS Ali:  Dinkytown is an area of concern.   MPD and UMPD are working closely together to

bring the numbers down.   Both forces were very concerned about Welcome Week bringing new

students back to the area.   MPD and UMPD focused on putting a lot of boots on the street,

walking around, talking with students, reminding them of safety techniques (“Be aware of your

surroundings.” “Don’t focus on your phone.”)   The Second Precinct has enough funds to give

officers overtime detail keeping people safe.  

Welcome Week is particularly difficult because people new to the area perhaps don’t realize they are targets.

QQ: You have stated that crime is going up.   Is there any indication that it is starting to stabilize?

CPS Ali:  At present, we anticipate that the numbers are going to stay the same unless we get

more officers.   We need those officers walking the street.

QQ: So, this is more of a staffing issue? 

CPS Ali: To give you an example: we no longer have a Community Response Team (or “cert” for

CRT) because we don’t have the staff to offer that service.  CRT did drug enforcement and drug

investigations.   Now several precincts share a CRT team, but we used to have our own.

For another example, we used to have a Problem Properties Unit, which would address common

issues like loud parties, loud music, drugs and criminal activity centered on a single house.

Now, the strategy is to focus on hot spots — Dinkytown, Marcy Holmes and Central — because that will have the biggest impact.

The bottom line is just this:   We need more officers.

Court Update:  Nnamdi Okoronkwo, City Attorney, reporting:

Minneapolis Attorney’s Office is continuing to work on backlog cases and we’re still not able to

work from our offices.    Returning to the office was supposed to begin early in September, and

that’s now been pushed back to January.  We are triaging a lot of the cases, and trying to focus on

those in which people have been victimized – particularly accidents, domestic assaults, and

similar.  These cases are being pushed out further and further, and we’re trying to deliver some

sort of end result if at all possible.

Reform efforts: Officers no longer use expired tabs or things dangling from the rearview mirror

as the basis for a traffic stop.   Hennepin County is saying they won’t prosecute those cases. 

Recently the Legislature decided that unpaid fines or fees will no longer lead to a suspended or

revoked license.

QQ:   Is it just “on their honor” that people register their vehicles?   There doesn’t seem to be any

enforcement.  Most people would anyway, but some would not.

QQ: If they don’t get a license, they’re uninsured, right?   So, who pays if there is an accident?

That sounds like a big risk for everybody.

ANS:  It’s been difficult for people to get their tabs for a long time.  AND this is a public safety

issue.  Atty Okoronkwo did work in the traffic division for a long time.  If someone runs up a

string of these suspensions and enters a plea and pays the fine, the license is revoked.

Sarah Haglund, paralegal at  HCAO:  I worked at the DMV for several

years.    You can have expired tabs but still have current insurance.  If you have your insurance

on auto-pay or just pay from month to month, they don’t check the status of your tabs so the

coverage is intact.

QQ: What is the impact of lower traffic enforcement?   We see a lot of cars running red lights, not

stopping for stop signs and so on.  Those are a lot more serious than expired tabs.   It seems like

this would escalate, like if nothing happens for my expired tabs, what else can I get away with?

Atty Okoronkwo: To clarify:   Our office is prosecuting moving violations as they come

forward.  We are not going to prosecute based solely on how many fines a person has run up.

We’re trying to give a person an opportunity to address those penalties in court.   There is a

process known as “diversion”.   This gives people a chance to address these charges and fines so

they CAN maintain a valid license which is what we want people to do – and presumably [to hold]

insurance as well.

There is a lot of discussion in the office as well because we’re dealing with other misdemeanors,

with homelessness, with unpermitted camps that pop up in residential areas.   There are a lot of

related issues that are popping up.   We don’t have a good answer for how to deal with these

interrelated issues.   It’s not a crime to be homeless.   It can be a continuing issue for neighbors. 

QQ:  There is a continuing issue in Sheridan.  Homeless people are impacting a neighborhood

small business.   The owner is worried, and asked her to bring this issue up at PAC.  This is a small

business but he can’t keep these people away so that his customers can come in.   Who can make

this stop?

Atty Okoronkwo:  We are aware of this.  City and county agencies are offering all kinds of help

but the people involved do not want to take advantage of that.  St. Stephens Homeless Outreach

has made repeated offers there.   There is a group of officers led by Lt. Grant Snyder, and they’re

being turned down, too.   It seems that at the current level of staffing, the city can’t do more.   In the

past, we had a coordinated effort but that is no longer possible to do.  Shelters that the city used

to rely on are not available any more.


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

Civil Commitment in Minnesota: a brief overview

The meeting  opened at  6:15 PM, 16 attenders.  

This month’s topic was Civil Commitment in Minnesota, an overview.   Our presenter was Asst. Hennepin County Attorney Annsara Lovejoy Elasky who is currently working in the Adult Services Division of H.C.A.O. 

A recording of the meeting is posted here: https://youtu.be/nxXxdxKNLcg

Starting with the basics:

Definition of Commitment:   This is a court order for treatment of  any of the following alone or in any combination:

  • Mental illness
  • Chemical dependency
  • Developmental  disability 

Persons who may be judged needing commitment may:

  • Suffer from mental illness, OR excessive and habitual use of drugs or alcohol, OR a developmental disability (identified before age 22)
  • Are likely to harm themselves or others by failing to provide a major necessity OR be threatening to attempt harm to themselves or others, OR  have recently displayed serious physical problems (chemical dependency, only)
  • There is no “less restrictive” treatment option available
  • Can be any age – juveniles (rare) and adults can be committed

Civil Commitment is a series of  orderly steps:  

  • The Hold: getting to be evaluated
  • The Petition
  • Pre-petition screening
  • Court hearings
  • Court order

The Hold:  There are two types of initial holds

  • 1) Peace/Health Office (the transport hold)     This gets a person who is in crisis out of the community and into a hospital (which may be a treatment facility, a state-operated treatment program, or a community-based treatment program.    This is an information-based hold.   Specially trained social workers can obtain this hold as can police officers who can document need with written witness testimony from a reliable witness.
  • 2) Emergency hold (the 72-hour hold)  This must have detailed  information supporting the hold.   The 72-hour hold is used to keep a person in a facility for further evaluation and/or treatment.   The 72-hour hold is an option the “examiner” at the hospital can use.

The Petition  – Four requirements:

  • Petitioner – the entity seeking the commitment. In Hennepin County, this is likely to be a treatment professional (who may have taken evidentiary information from family, friends or by-standers)
  • Doctor, physician’s assistant or mental health professional has to recommend commitment (aka the Examiner’s Statement) 
  • There must be a detailed statement on why commitment is appropriate (this is where the gathered, documented testimony is recorded)
  • The Petitioner then contacts “Prepetition Screening”

Prepetition Screening:  Program of Hennepin County that collects information on the patient while at the hospital and makes a recommendation to support or not support a petition.  They forward their findings onto the County Attorney’s Office.

The County Attorney reviews, signs, and files the Petition (The C.A. is the lawyer for the petitioner)

The Court appoints an attorney for the patient (Respondent).  

Court Hearings:

  • The Court issues a “Court Hold”, which extends the 72-hour hold until the Preliminary Hearing
  • An Examination and preliminary hearing is held 3 days after the filing.     
  • Within 3 days of the Preliminary Hearing (in Hennepin)  a trial is held. 

An exception:  When a defendant in Criminal Court is incompetent to participate in the trial, the Rule of 20 is key.   See the expanded statement at the bottom of this report, marked **

At Court:  In Hennepin County, the defendant will make appearances on 2 days.

  • Day 1:  Examination and Preliminary Hearing:
  • Examination:  The court-appointed psychologist/psychiatrist reviews the records and interviews the patient.   They write a report to the Court with their opinion about commitment.
  • Preliminary hearing: The respondent can agree to stay in the hospital or ask for a hearing where the Court will decide if the hold should continue.   A concern is the risk of serious physical harm if a person is released before the trial
  • Day 2: Trial
  • Many cases achieve a settlement without a trial for something less than commitment, but the Court remains involved.   Roughly 70% go to a Stay of Commitment where the person agrees to take prescribed medication and to stay in contact with their court-ordered contact, if at any point during the stay period the terms are violated, the respondent is then placed on Commitment.
  • If there is no settlement, trial proceedings offer each party a chance to offer evidence.   The Court will ask for testimony from the Examiner.   The Court takes the matter “under advisement” and issues a written decision later (in Hennepin County).   In H.C., the average case that does not settle, will take about 2 weeks between the initial intake to the issued decision.

The Court Order: The Court issues a written order which details the terms of the “stay agreement” (i.e. the Commitment) to requesting entity or entities, OR Dismisses the case.

  • If  the outcome is a Commitment, an order is issued for 6 months.   This order does not mean being in a hospital for 6 months, it is an order for treatment.  The Court can name more than professional treatment center to control treatment and often does. 
  • The patient’s participation is NOT voluntary.
  • The entity which controls treatment has the authority to determine that treatment.   The court has conferred authority to continue treating a person against that person’s will.

WHERE DO THE PATIENTS GO?

  • Most patients are treated at community hospitals or privately run chemical dependency treatment programs.
  • Some patients, whose illness is severe, go to hospitals or programs run by the state (e.g. Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center, Community Behavioral Health Hospitals, CARE programs).   St. Peter is for people who might be dangerous to others.   Juvenile placement was difficult as it only had three beds at one point.

MEDICATIONS. 

  • Court authority is needed to force neuroleptic medications.   These are  antipsychotic medications, which are used to treat many psychiatric disorders.   This does not include other medications like sleep aids or antidepressants that might be helpful
  • The Court Authority is filed as a separate petition (called Jarvis Order) by a medical professionals.  This petition must show that the patient is not competent to decide whether to accept medications and they are refusing to take them.
  • Many petitions for MI also have a Jarvis petition for neuroleptic tagging along during the commitment process

CASE MANAGER

  • After a patient leaves the hospital, they are assigned a County Case Manager to monitor progress and compliance.  
  • This person works with the hospital for a discharge plan covering the living environment, managing appointments, and so on.   There are different levels of contact depending on needs, but a standard is 1 meeting in person  a month and 2 phone meetings.  
  • The Case manager can revoke the release and bring the patient back to the hospital  or treatment program if things are not going well.  
  • The Case manager can also ask the court to extend the Commitment Order.  

HOW CAN I HELP  Collect [and document with date, dime, place, names] as much information as you can under the circumstances.

Make sure the information you have (about specific behaviors, symptoms, and danger to self or others) is communicated accurately to the treatment facility. 

———————————————————————————-

**Rule 20.01 states

  • the defendant may not waive counsel in the proceedings.   
  • The defendant must be able to rationally consult with their counsel OR understand the proceedings, OR participate in the defense. “Competency” is the ability to participate in the proceedings

Rule 20.02 Defense of mental illness.   The M’Naghten Defense is that a person, because of mental illness or cognitive impairment, at the time of  committing the criminal act, had a mental defect to the extent that they did not understand the nature of the act or that it was wrong. 

[EQ: For more detail, see Rule of 20.01 and 20.02  here:  https://www.revisor.mn.gov/court_rules/cr/id/20/

IF the defendant is incompetent to participate in Criminal Court, the criminal court judge refers the case for civil commitment.     Misdemeanor charges are dismissed.   Gross misdemeanors and felonies are suspended for later review (every six months).   If the defendant is committed and in jail, the Commissioner of Human Services has 48 hours to get them to a DHS facility for competency restoration (this was/is challenging during Covid-19 pandemic).  

———————————————————–

Questions and Answers

QQ  How can someone consult an attorney before they are charged and have a court-appointed attorney?   What about family members?

AA:  The Hennepin County Board has a Defense Panel.   People can talk to an attorney for advice, explanation of how the proceedings go forward and related topics.   When someone is appointed to be the defendant for that client, then that attorney should be the contact.    It helps that if, as sometimes happens, people show up for the same complaints repeatedly over the years, that first contact will be that person’s attorney which makes continuity.  

QQ: Do some reports or complaints carry more weight than other people’s?  

AA: The Petitioner must have an “Examiner’s statement” and that person must be a licensed medical professional.Information gathered by police officers (including the testimony of others), information gathered by family members are all weighed on that Examiner’s statement.  COPE is a really good resource for people who are not medical professionals but who are worried about a family member.   After the client has been hospitalized, family members should contact the hospital.

QQ: Is your office training the social workers?

AA: HC conducted a number of workshops for officers and others, on a variety of related topics, so, yes!

There is a division of cases:   Hennepin County Atty. Office handles more of the criminal cases while Minneapolis A.O. is in charge of the misdemeanors.   Atty Okronkwo handles many of the “gap cases” which are the repeaters.  It’s notable that Hennepin County has a Court Intake Social Worker, who reaches out to people who are often in the gap-case group and asks if they are interested in participating in a treatment program on a voluntary basis.   She does get some into treatment. 

QQ: Do 911 operators have any way of knowing a bit of information they can pass along to officers that would make the job easier?

AA:  There was a database about previous bases being built before Covid interrupted that.   BCA Information is accessible to all officers, and that would be the data source.  It is possible they’re still working out who would have access to information.
—————————————————

STATE OF THE PRECINCT

Viewing the crime reports for the period 8/2-8/8 in the 2nd Precinct
Violent Crimes:  5 Robberies, 6 Agg. Assault, 2 Domestic Ag. Assault.
Property Crime:  4  Burglaries, 50 Larcenies (larceny is items NOT taken by force, violence or fraud),   23  theft from motor vehicles, 9 auto thefts
The Second Precinct reports 11.22%  of violent crimes in the city.    That remains the lowest reporting precinct in MPD.
CPS Juarez pointed to the Larceny numbers and reminded us that that number could be cut way down if people will remember to take all their stuff out of their cars when they leave.   Clear the car; lock the car and, if you have  a garage, put the car in the garage.   It’s especially important to remove all weapons from your car, every time.  

CPS Juarez reported that a man was held up at the Mobile station on University Avenue, but got a good look at the robbers.   Officers arrested two people whom the man identified as his assailants!

QQ:  Robbery and assault seem to be tied to bar closings:  Can’t we shut down the streets like other cities do?

AA: We have the budget to pay officers for the overtime we’d need for that, but people are not signing up for it.   Perhaps that will change now that U of M students are returning.  

CPS Ali was happy to report that Minneapolis had a very successful NNO.   There were 36 events in the Second Precinct alone and they were well attended. 

A final note:  CPS Nick Juarez reported that he is leaving the Second Precinct as of August 13.   The good part of the announcement is that UMPD promptly recruited him, and so he won’t be moving far.  He speculated that UMPD had not had a rep at 2-PAC since Officer Nystrom retired, so maybe he’ll be back as the U of M representative.

June report, Part 1

We opened our meeting with a special announcement:   The Bush Foundation has announced its 2021 list of fellows.   Twenty-four people were chosen from a diverse and competitive applicant pool of 538, including people from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and 23 Native American nations located in those three states.
 Among the twenty-four people selected is Hennepin Country Attorney, Sandra Filardo.   In her acceptance, she stated, “[This is] an opportunity for me to develop my leadership abilities. …I am excited and eager to begin this fellowship.   This is a chance to make substantial, lasting, and impactful changes to [a] criminal justice system that unfairly treats marginalized community members.   I look forward to collaborating with communities in the region, increasing community engagement efforts, and making the work a more just place for everyone.”  

Congratulations, Sandra!

—————————————————————-

Our speaker this month was Eder Castillo, a prosecutor  at the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, practicing white-collar prosecution and post-conviction litigation.

First, define terms:

What is a Scam?  A scam is when someone lies to you to take something of value.   It could be money, personal information, or property. 

What is“identity theft”?  This is a scam that targets your personal information instead of money or property. 

Scams  are growing in number and expense.   The Better Business Bureau 2020 statistics reported 46,575 Scam reports.   The median reported loss was $115.   The likelihood of loss if the scam is successful is 46.7%
[Doing the math, if 21,750 scams were successful, the aggregate loss would be $2,501310!   It’s highly unlikely that all scams were reported, so the true number is likely substantially higher. — EQ]
The true loss is not just measured in dollars, however.   63.7% of people lost time straightening their affairs out.   52.1%  reported loss of self confidence and peace of mind.   36.5% lost personal information.

Spot a scam:  the four P’s:

  1. Pretend – Scammers pretend to be from a credible organization, to gain your trust.  You won’t be wary if you get a call that looks like it’s from the Red Cross.
  2. Problem or Prize – Scammers will say you are in trouble with the IRS or that you’ve won a big prize.   Startling you with a surprise — problem or prize — may get you to suspend judgment. 
  3. Pressure – the sooner they can get you to act, the less likely you are to recover your good judgment.
  4. Pay – Scammers will insist that you send money through electronic means, gift cards or checks, so they don’t have to meet you in person. 

Ways scammers will contact you
31.9% through a website21.8% through social media like Facebook18.2% by email9.3% by phone
5.3% by internet messaging (WhatsApp)4.2% online classifieds4.1% text message2.7% other1.5% in person1.0% USPS
Scams begun via a website or social media contact were more likely to result in a loss than scams initiated over the phone, even for adults ages 65 and over. They begin by sending you a notice that looks like it’s from a trusted organization.  The most frequently impersonated organizations are The Social Security Administration, Amazon, Publishers Clearing House, Apple, Microsoft, PayPal, Medicare, Walmart, Dominion Energy, Cash Advance/Advance Americas.      A common trigger is a warning notice that your data may have been breached, so you “need to reset your password!!  Click HERE” but that click will give the scammer access to your computer.    If you want to reset your password, make sure you initiate the contact.  Do not  ever “click HERE”.  Log off, log back on, go to your account at that organization and check  your messages there.  Iif you have an account, you have a message cache. 

In 2020 the Better Business Bureau  measured and reported the riskiest scams on the BBB ScamTracker [https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/] but in summary the top ten categories are Online purchase, Employment, Fake check/money order, Advance fee loan, Home improvement, Romance, Cryptocurrency, Tech support [i.e. CLICK HERE!], Travel/vacation/timeshare, Investment.  The BBB also rates the scam “Risk Index” for each category.
[EQ: there is a full report here:  https://www.bbb.org/globalassets/local-bbbs/council-113/media/bbb-institute/riskreport2020/2020-BBBScamTracker-RiskReport.pdf

People are susceptible to different scams at different ages.  Your time of life is a signal of what your interests are and what scam you might fall for. Listing the top three per age group:
Ages 18-24  Online purchase                  Fake check/Money order  EmploymentAges 25-34  Online purchase                  Employment                    Fake check/Money order
Ages 35-44  Online purchase                  Employment                    Investment
Ages 45-54  Online purchase                  Employment                    Advance for loanAges 55-64  Romance                           Online purchase               InvestmentAges 65+    Travel/Vacation/Timeshare   Online purchase                Romance
COVID-19  opened a whole new space for scammers.   People’s defenses were down due to fear, isolation, charitable impulses, and confusion.Among the more common scams were:
Identity theft by offering fake stimulus checks.   The scammer would request the target’s SSN “to confirm” identity.False offers for COVID testing and vaccines – this has passed its time as vaccines are now available.   Some scammers still offer a way         to set up an appointment “so you don’t have to stand in line.”False treatments were offered.Fake Covid-19 charities of all kinds.Fake funeral assistance.  

People also opened the door to scams by posting their vaccination card online to celebrate but failed
          to mask the identity info on the card: date of birth, etc.
Scammers favorite payment methods:Scammers will rarely ask for cash because that is a one time thing and difficult to transfer.   Instead, they will say whatever will get you, the target,  to purchase a gift certificate or credit card, and ask you to read off the GC number or CC account, expiry date and security code. 
35.6% wanted credit cards.   31.2% wanted online payment like PayPal.   12.8% accepted a bank account debit. Those add up to 79.6%(the rest wanted payment by gift card,  wire transfer, check, cash, cryptocurrency, or money order)

10 Tips for avoiding a scam:  (learn more at BBB.org/AvoidScams)

  1. Never send money.
  2. Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited email or text messages
  3. Don’t believe everything you see.  Scammers can mimic official seals, fonts, and more.   Just because something looks official does not mean it is.   Caller ID can be faked and show up on your phone.
  4. Don’t buy online unless the transaction is secure.   Make sure the website URL starts with “https” — that “s” means “secure”; there may be a small lock icon on the address bar.  Practice researching companies at BBB.org
  5. Be extremely cautious with anyone you’ve met online.
  6. Never share personal information with anyone who has contacted you, unsolicited.
  7. Don’t be pressured to act immediately
  8. Use secure, traceable transactions when making payments for goods, services, taxes, debts.
  9. Work with businesses that have proper identification, licensing, insurance.
  10. Be cautious about what you share on social media. Facebook,  Linkedin, and special interest groups (Sierra Club, ASPCA, NextDoor etc.) are not secure.

Fighting spam calls on your phone – iPhone

With IOS 13  and later, you can turn on Silence Unknown Callers so you won’t get calls from people you ‘ve never contacted OR have never saved in your Contacts list.   
Go to Settings > PhoneScroll down and tap Silence Unknown numbers.   Turn on that feature.Calls from unknown numbers are silenced and sent to your voice mail; they’ll appear in your recent calls first. 
If an emergency call is placed, this feature will be temporarily disabled for the next 24 hours.
Fighting spam calls on your phone – Android phones
Use caller ID AND spam protection.   Caller ID and spam protection are on by default.   You can turn it off.   To use this feature,
Open your device’s Phone app   
Tap   More :  Settings > Caller ID & spamTurn Caller ID & Spam on or offOptional: To stop spam from ringing on your phone, turn on Filter suspected spam calls.   You will not get missed-call notification but you will see the filtered calls in your call history and you will be able to check any voice mail you receiveCaller ID by Google shows the names of companies and services with a Google My Business listing, but it also shows near matches.   To change the name of your school or business if it triggers too many false positives, contact your admin.

MARK CALLS AS SPAMOpen your device’s Phone app and go to Recent calls.Tap the call you want to report as spam.   Tap Block/Report Spam.   You’ll be asked if you want to block that number.   You may be able to tap Report call as spam, or just  tap Block.
Where should I report a scam?
Start with your local Police Department.    In Minneapolis, online, go to https://www.minneapolismn.gov      Click on “Report an Issue” then “Forgery or Fraud”  Options include Identity “Theft and Internet Fraud” [which includes a link to the Federal Trade Commission]
You can also report by calling 311 or 612.673.3000 and a call assistant will lead you through the process.   Note that 311 is still on limited hours and you may be on hold for some time.   You can ask for a reply robo-notice from our 311 service.

Minnesota State Attorney’s Office:  ask to initiate a scam report at 651.296.3353They also have an online form to fill out:   ag.state.mn.us/Office/Complaint.asp
Federal Trade Commission.   You can be linked to the FTC from the local police department.   The FTC is the most large scale.   It collects data from the entire country, and is more likely to notice trends and surges in activity.   The FTC also has the power to prosecute at a very large scale because their data comes from the entire country. 
FTC phone number is 1(877) 382-4357   which is also 1(877) FTC-HELPTheir online report is at   ReportFraud.ftc.gov
After your information is stolen

The Federal Trade Commission helps here, also.   See the online form at IdentityTheft.govThe form will give you a checklist of steps to stop the damage to your personal sites.   The form is very helpful in deciding what to do first, next, and thereafter.   Take the time to look it over, to prepare yourself or to counsel others.
Protecting yourself and others from ScamsIt’s very important to assure yourself that falling for a scam is not a “dumb” thing nor is avoiding scams a “smart” thing to do.   Scammers are very good at making you overlook normal safeguards — that’s how they stay in business.  

Factors that decrease your risk include1) Ask questions when you are unfamiliar with something2) Know that you can influence and empower your own life3) Believe that government institutions get their authority from individuals like you4) Tend to be skeptical when dealing with a new situation.
Factors that increase your risk include1) Feeling financial distress2) Feeling lonely3) Panicking during stressful situations. 

Atty. Castillo concluded by urging attenders [and readers] to include other people in this group (2-PAC) and to share this information with other people and other groups.    Information is the #1 resource that stops scams. 

June report, Part 2

STATE OF THE PRECINCT
Violent Crime: In the period, May 19 through June 17, the Second Precinct reported 69 violent crimes, total.   The breakdown was 4 rapes, 27 robberies, 38 aggravated assaults, 13 aggravated domestic assaults.    That number was more than twice the total for the same period in 2020, but still only 12.32% of the city-wide total.
Property Crime:   In the period, May 19 through June 17, the Second Precinct reported 275 property crimes, total.   The breakdown was 37 burglaries, 181 larcenies,  81 theft from motor vehicles, 57 auto theft.

Incidents are concentrated in Marcy Holmes east of 35W from Dinkytown through Stadium Village, and in NE Minneapolis along NE 8th Avenue, the Lowry central corridor, and along Central Avenue NE.
CPS Nicholas Juarez gave us a rundown:
A primary driver is still auto theft and the targeted drivers are DoorDash, Ubers and delivery service drivers who leave their keys in the cars or leave their cars running as they do a pickup or delivery.
Catalytic converter theft is another driver in the Second Precinct, but researchers, looking at crime trends, are seeing this is likely a much bigger thing than just the local scrap yards taking those in.   Looking at the national trends, Minnesota is #3 in the nation reporting catalytic converter theft. 

Local concerns:   we had shots fired in front of Nye’s.  That is still an active investigation (6/14).   Dinkytown had a couple of robberies and there have been some arrests, including juveniles and people in their mid-twenties.    We’ve had some arrests of an organized  group that was stealing cell phones from students in the Dinkytown area.   Inspector Loining authorized overtime in that area, including more squads on the street at the time when most of these incidents have happened.   These thefts were happening in the middle of the day when Dinkytown bars were closed.   They are now falling   back into “normal” patterns, with more occurring during closing times, between 10 PM and 1 AM.  

Street racers continue to be a big concern.   The news has carried stories of some deaths due to street racing.   This activity has occasionally popped up in the Dinkytown area.  Sargeants in that area are working on plans to disrupt the racers, diverting traffic from that area and other ways to stall the racers.   It is a dangerous activity:   you may have seen videos of racers downtown, doing doughnuts in the street, just for one example.   The city is working with the contractors to put construction fences around key sites, like the McDonald’s parking lot.  (The fences were planned, but the timetable has been moved up.)   Other parking lots in Marcy Holmes are patrolled very well by 20 companies, working with property owners.
QQ: A resident has been reporting speeding in the area between Lowry and 37th.  

AA:   We’re using the same procedure up there that we used when speeders were coming off the Hennepin Avenue bridge — putting a squad up there to slow the traffic and deal with those who don’t take the hint.   Lowry has been under  discussion for a long time.   It may be a shared road, but it’s also been slated for redevelopment, which would include traffic calming.  Nick pointed out he’s been here 13 years, and it’s been a “redevelopment target” all of that time.  In the meantime, the MPD works on traffic control, putting out squads at the time when the most speeders are reported to us.
[Dan Miller, a concerned NE neighbor reported that the redesign for Lowry is being worked on right now.   Reconstruction of  Lowry (Washington to Johnson) is scheduled for 2023.   Thank you, Dan!] 

QQ: Looking at people picked up for crime, it’s common that they already have previous felonies.    Is that common? 

AA: Yes.   If we stop someone and do a warrants check, there is a possibility that this person has outstanding court warrants.   For people in the Marcy Holmes area, there are people out there we’ve arrested over and over again.   A lot of people we pick up for auto theft or cell phone theft are repeat offenders.
QQ: A story in the Star Tribune was about “straw gun buyers”– people who buy many guns for resale to people who can’t buy for themselves:   [full story at https://www.startribune.com/straw-buyers-help-criminals-get-guns/600070088/]   Does that have any impact in the Second Precinct?
AA: Not really.   Most of the guns we recover are stolen.    There are local groups, and some much larger groups that deal these stolen guns.   The guns we recover have numbers ground off.   The straw gun buyers are buying from gun shows and licensed dealers, the same place you and I can buy.  They can do that because they do not have a felony on their records.   

The guns we see are stolen: one person on Nicollet Island had three shotguns stolen from her car; believe it or not, we see that quite a bit.  People leave their guns in the glove box or in a lock box in the trunk.   If a stolen gun is reported to the police, the serial number is entered in  a database, so if someone tries to pawn it, the number will come up on the Automated Pawn System .    But pawn shops are no longer the place to go.   You can sell or buy almost anything on Craig’s List.   People report they’ve spotted their bike on Craig’s List or Facebook Marketplace.  

A note from the Chat list: CPS Rashid Ali did a home security review.  He offered excellent recommendations and reminded the homeowner that security grant money is available.   Another neighbor suggested checking with your Neighborhood Association to see if they have the Home Security Grants.

COURTWATCH  Mpls Attorney Okronkwo and P.O. Holly Ihrke reporting.
Probation Officer Ihrke announced that Courtwatch will no longer track and report on specific people unless that report is requested by an attender.  

P.O. Ihrke reported that last month, the two neighborhoods that had the most arrests were Marcy Holmes and Holland.  The folks that are showing up on current reports have significant mental health issues.  They are actively being supervised by social workers and/or probation officers.    There is no one on her list that presents an active public safety issue. 

Atty Okronkwo received a summary  of court cases.   One person we’ve been following for a long time had his competency hearing and was found incompetent to stand trial.   This was not a surprise to any of the attorneys.    In consequence, his 15 misdemeanors and one assault charge were dismissed. He has a court date in six months.  The City has filed a “Notice of Intent to Prosecute” which means that any gross demeanor committed in the city or county will get a flag.     He had been held on a “Pre-petition screening” but the county has declined to issue a commitment on him.   If his behavior seems to be becoming more aggressive, we encourage people to call the police.   He is known in Dinkytown.   Videos from resident places have shown him smoking in a No Smoking area and engaged in other activities.   If there is documentation that he’s become more of a threat to himself or to others, that will raise the issue. 

QQ: We’ve been following this person and others for a long time.   Do people with mental health issues or substance abuse disorders ever “return to competency?

AA: That’s a really good question.   With these gap cases, it looks like nothing’s happening. 

P.O. Ihrke   For people with drug disorders or psychoses, there’s not a place for them to live if they are not willing to be sober and receive treatment.   When someone is found incompetent, they are assigned a social worker.   That person can find them resources, check up on them and so on.   But if they’re not at a level of being put in permanent placement, and they’re just “walking the line”, the social worker doesn’t have the power to do much.    When the criminal justice system is involved, there’s a little more we can do when people relapse. 

During the pandemic, “Harm reduction” has been more of a goal. [It was pointed out at a  2-PAC meeting on Covid response in the Justice system,  that crowding  people into the workhouse or HCJ had to be avoided to slow the spread of Covid-19]   Pre-Covid, if someone had failed treatment three times, they were taken to the workhouse and could try treatment there.   She emphasized that if someone is concerned for the person’s safety or their own safety, the public is asked to continue to call and report.  If you are concerned about someone on probation, you can call Hennepin County and ask.   Your call will be directed to their probation officer.   You can also contact  her  [Holly.Ihrke@hennepin.us 612-348-4189] and she’ll direct your call. 

QQ: How does the Rule of 20 fit in? 

AA:  If a person is committed, a social worker is assigned to the client.  They are part of the FACT program (Forensic Assertive Community Treatment program) which is for adults with mental health issues, who are in the criminal justice system.   

QQ: Between “Harm Reduction” and the County Workhouse, what placements are available for people with mental health needs. 

AA: A caretaker has to decipher if an episode is drug induced or if it is a clinical or medical issue.   If it’s chemical induced, the client can go to mental health chemical dependency treatment.  If it’s a physiological imbalance, they can get a social worker to do an assessment, and get into a housing program with the help of IRTS Housing.  [Intensive Residential Treatment Services –  see: https://www.peopleincorporated.org/  and click on the “services” tab] 


QQ: I was thinking about people who are not in a treatment plan, who are out in the community and you know they are not compliant with their treatment.  Does the community have to wait until something very serious happens?
AA: It depends on what part of the system they are  in.   If they’re on probation, their Probation Officer can file violations and revoke their probation.   If they are just in the Health and Human Services round, the social workers can make their reports but don’t actually have as much power.   It comes down to that person’s social network; a lot of these people don’t have that.   Inspector Loining in the Second Precinct tries to get a lot of community service people involved,  especially with the encampments that are popping up.  He’s trying to NOT take the law enforcement approach, but to get other help [social services and others] involved first.
Atty Okronkwo added that the “gap cases” are difficult.  He doesn’t feel the criminal system is always the best way to handle the gap cases.  Seeing an officer approach can further escalate a situation. That is not an excuse for behavior, merely a statement of what happens.
From the Chat:  There was just an announcement about a person on Central Avenue, carrying a kitten, yelling and  firing shots into the air.   CPS Juarez checked his online announcement and reported that the man was talked into putting the weapon down.  The animal was put into care at Minneapolis Animal Control.   It turns out that this person is known to the officers at the Second Precinct, and they’re aware he has some mental health issues.

Emilie Quast, Board member

MPD 2nd Precinct Advisory Council

e-quas@tc.umn.edu

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