March Report, Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March Report, Part 2

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

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

COURTWATCH:  Nnamdi Okoronkwo, Mpls City Attorney presented. 

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

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

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

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

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

Emilie Quast, Board member

February Report, part 1

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

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

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

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

A Treatment Court is

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

Hennepin County offers four treatment courts for adults: 

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


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

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

·         Who can’t participate:            

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Health Court demographics:

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

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

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

QUESTIONS from attenders –  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February Report, part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cody Horton: no updates so is probably doing OK

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

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

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

January report, part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

January report – The Co-Responders Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December Report, part 2

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

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

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

CPS Rashid Ali offered some strategies for preventing package theft.  It seems like some package thieves are following the delivery trucks, BUT  Amazon offers lockers in many locations around the Metro.  I tried this and the one most convenient for me is in Rosedale.  Here’s the link for you
and, USPS –!input
Spread the word!

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

“Vision Zero Action Plan” Dec. report, part 1

Call to order at 6:15.  20 attenders
The Minneapolis Vision Zero Action Plan was 2-PAC’s topic this month.  Ethan Fawley, the coordinator for the VZAP was joined by MPD Deputy Chief Erick Fors, who is a principal in shaping the plan and dealing with traffic safety efforts.  Second Precinct Inspector Loining added details specific to the Second Precinct.

The Vision Zero Action Plan has a goal of eliminating traffic deaths and severe injuries on Minneapolis streets by 2027.  An average of 95 people were killed or had life-altering injuries every year in Minneapolis from 2007 to 2016.   Fawley emphasized, it’s important for us to remember that those statistics represent real people–people whose lives were ended or severely altered on our streets. 

For a long time, Minneapolis was safer than Minnesota as a whole, and safer than many large cities in our country.  That is starting to change as other cities take action against traffic injury and death.  If we compare the Minneapolis rate against New York City, we now have more deaths per thousand than NYC.  New York was the first to adopt the strategies we will use in the VZAP, which led to significantly lower crash rates than Minneapolis has.  They adopted their plan five years ago; last year they had fewer traffic deaths than they’ve ever had since 1912, which is when they began recording that statistic.

Comparing crashes in our own city:  crashes occur more often in neighborhoods where more people are Native Americans, or have lower incomes, or are walking or bicycling. 1% of our population produces 9% of our traffic deaths.  People walking and people biking are over-represented in crashes.  Surveying people across Minneapolis, the study found that people want this situation to improve, and they know what they want the city to improve on.  They want to slow down traffic speed and have existing laws enforced.  They expressed interest in how the city will build a culture change that promotes safety.  The final grouping is summarized below.
The team defined four guiding principles:1) Human life and safety come first.  One death on a Minneapolis street is too many.2) Equity  – Foundational to the plan is that the social disparities that increase the number and severity of crashes must be eliminated.  These disparities are easily mapped, and the maps clearly point to racial,  economic and allied disparities.  All people deserve fair and just opportunities  and out comes.  People want to trust the systems which are in place for protection.
3) Data-driven –  Vision Zero strategies and actions will be developed from relevant data, based on recognized best practices, and responsive to community experiences and input.  The team will work to improve the data they have and to recognize its gaps, and fill them.
4) Accountability – The team will set clear objectives and report on them; team members will work for transparency and will seek community engagement.  They will collaborate with community members and agency partners to develop and implement Vision Zero.  The currently proposed methods and mode will be adapted to change as needed. This is a foundation of community trust.

The team identified strategies and actions to improve traffic safety.  They defined four systems –
— Safe Streets – They will use street design, infrastructure and operations to improve traffic safety–Safe People – They will support and encourage safe human behavior–Safe Vehicles – They will regulate vehicle fleets for safety, including scooters, cabs, Uber and other on-call or rental rides.
–Safety data – They will develop and use data-driven approaches to Vision Zero, ensuring accountability for progress toward goals
The Vision Zero Action Plan includes 16 strategies and 68 actions to be implemented between 2020 and 2022 — the three year plan.    The early focus areas are
1) REDUCE SPEED LIMITS – Lower traffic speeds save lives by reducing the chance of a crash and by making it less likely that a crash will be deadly.  All Minnesota cities can now control speed limits on city-owned streets.  Minneapolis is now taking  steps to lower speed limits on most City streets — this will roll out in 2020.2) MAKE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS ON HIGH INJURY STREETS – A startling statistic:  70% of severe and fatal crashes happen on just 9% of City streets.  (See the High Injury Streets map in the online report, URL is below.)   These streets will first receive “safety treatments” including 4-to-3 lane conversions, painting turn lanes (can reduce crashes by as much as 36%, and it’s just paint), pedestrian medians, bump-outs, and others.  Ballard installations are also low cost, easy to install and remove, and we can study placement and effectiveness over time.  The improvement work will be in partnership with Hennepin County.
3) ADDRESS LEADING UNSAFE BEHAVIORS – The 5 behaviors that produce the most severe and fatal injuries are Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, Distracted driving, Speeding, Red light running, Unsafe turning (usually failure to yield).    These behaviors will be addressed through education, communications and enforcement actions.  The recent “hands free” push is an example of this re-training program.4) SEEK TO IMPLEMENT AUTOMATED TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT – Citizens have reported they want more effective traffic enforcement and are worried about inequities in enforcement.    In other cities, automated enforcement has proven effective in saving lives and frees up officer time for other duties.  Minneapolis will seek authority from the Legislature to use camera enforcement of laws while studying how to use it effectively and equitably.  (A previous trial in 2005 had to be stopped because the Supreme Court found that Minneapolis did not have the authority to use camera enforcement at that time.  Agencies are now working to get the right legislation in place.)

This three year plan went to the City Council on December 13.

Points to think about – Minneapolis has 114 miles of High Injury streets, BUT  only 46 miles of those streets are owned by Minneapolis (and so under MPD control).  48 miles are owned by Hennepin County and 19 are MnDOT-owned.  Minneapolis will work with the County and MnDOT to make improvements to all high-injury streets.  44% of High Injury Streets are in areas of concentrated poverty, but those areas are only 24% of the total streets in the city.
The full report (so far) is at the map referred to in this 2-PAC report, focus area 2, “Make Safety Improvements on High Injury Streets”, click on the “Safety Data” on the tab at the top.  Then scroll down; there are a number of other startling statistics on that page.  Included are charts that point out racial disparities in traffic deaths, car speed as a driver of injury, crash concentration by neighborhood.  You can also click through to the links to full reports on Pedestrian Crashes and Bicycle-vehicle crashes.  These reports include comparisons with national data, sitemaps and a lot more.

Deputy Chief Fors continued the report —

Traffic enforcement is generally run by the local precincts.  The MPD has a city-wide Traffic Investigations Unit consisting of 4 Sergeants and a DWI  Enforcement Officer.  The unit used to be larger with a number of officers running radar and other practices, but over time, the officers got reassigned to the Precincts to meet Precinct-focused needs.  We’re raising the question again about a Traffic Enforcement Unit.  It’s still to be determined if we can bring that back.  If so, that would be the unit the MPD would use to enforce the changes brought by the Vision Zero campaign. 

There is an ongoing discussion about racial disparities in traffic stops.  If we have an area with lots of crime, we put more officers in those areas.  Because we’re still lacking a city-wide traffic unit, it’s the Precinct officers who must respond to traffic issues. 

The crash study 10-years of crash data show where those accidents are.  Gathered evidence points to the most-likely causes of those accidents.  What is it we are seeing at those dangerous intersections?  Because it’s data-driven, we can report that at “this” intersection, we see a lot of “this behavior” because of “this factor”.  That is the reason we put officers in that area.  Hopefully, we can start to talk to people, educate them, and, if necessary, issue citations.  People feel comfortable with knowing how we use this data.  We are not arbitrarily picking on places; we can show we are deploying our officers in response to data.  We know there is some distrust out there, but we are following the data. 

Inspector Loining presented Second Precinct use of data.  We do have an officer on daywatch who has an interest in doing more traffic education and enforcement.  We pick our areas by time of the day.  The Hennepin Avenue Bridge has been a watch spot since business owners and home owners along East Hennepin started reporting excessive speeding. Some speeders coming off the Bridge (fortunately not many) have been clocked at 65 mph!  At any time of day we have citizens out walking, kids, people who can’t walk too fast, bikers, and it’s highly dangerous spot.  When we get complaints from citizens we follow up and work to be responsive. 

Another spot that got close attention is the area at 22nd and Stinson, rolling all the way down past the Quarry.  Again, this was dangerous speeding.  We’ve run the Speedwagon with a squad parked nearby, which always slows traffic down and that enhances safety.  QUESTION about alcohol detection.  ANSWER  Alcohol you can smell. We have a number of officers who are certified in detecting other chemicals. 

Another question about automated enforcement:  Minneapolis Police Dept. is working with other agencies across the state (including the Inter-Governmental Affairs Staff)  to present a strong case to the State Legislature to get a good law written.  37 other states in the U.S. have these laws in place so we are not opening new territory.  People might know that a certain spot is a speed trap, and if they don’t see a squad car, they will do what they want.  But if a camera is there, filming the behavior, people are more likely to drive well.  The goal is to change behavior, not to issue a lot of tickets.  Changing behavior is what improves safety for everyone. 

For now, keep reporting to 311; all reports are logged and examined.  You can also report through the Vision Zero website click on the “Get Involved” tab, a reporting site is the second option on that page.

Emilie Quast, board member
MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council (2-PAC)
Minneapolis MN 55418

Nov.2-PAC report, part 2

COURTWATCH  –  Briefing from Nnamdi Okoronkwo, Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office
Samuel Hasse had a hearing in Restorative Court on Nov. 13 (one day after PAC) and we’ll hear the outcome in December.  Daniel Heacock was recommitted on July 19 and is now waiting for his next hearing on January 14.  Paula Heile got her bench warrant cleared on Oct. 1 and had her probation violation hearing on Nov. 11; another update we’ll get in December.   Cody Horton moved to St. Cloud; we voted to take him off the Courtwatch list, but the next day Mr. Okoronkwo learned that Horton has a new case in the 2nd Pct and was again in custody.  Kirk Robledo had a court date on Nov. 13.  James Zaccardi has a review hearing on Nov. 26;  we have not heard of any new cases for him, which puts him in the success column — he’s responding well to frequent meetings with his case workers.  Michael Zaccardi was found trespassing at a construction site at 13xx & Marshall St. NE in October and has an arraignment on Dec. 10. Inspector Loining commented that these brothers have been considered chronic offenders.

Johnny Hall remains on probation until 9-17-20 but is doing well there (no updates).  Spencer Hermes remains under court supervision through May 23, 2022 but has no updates.  Joshua Poplawski was released from the workhouse on Oct. 30 and remains on probation to 8/27/20.  Miles Shaw is being held by the DOC; release date is 4/20/20. 

PRECINCT REPORT – Officer Nelson reporting.  Seasonal warning first – When you are warming up your car, make sure you use your app so it can’t get stolen.  Also, don’t put anything valuable in the car where if can be seen; it  might trigger a quick grab by someone.  

[QUESTION: is warming up a car a violation of city ordinance?  Answer:  it is on the books.  When there were a lot more “warming up” cars getting stolen, officers were told to not investigate but just send the owner a ticket for “open ignition”. They WOULD get a report number for their insurance claim.  MPD was spending too many man-hours on this crime and the numbers had to be crushed.  Additionally, if your car gets stolen this way and ends up in a wreck, your insurance will cover you (but read your contract).  The difference right now is that if a car is left running but is on private property, it won’t get a ticket.  A gas station IS private property so if someone leaves his car running outside the Holiday Station to grab a doughnut, he won’t get a ticket;  if the car is left running on the street in front of the house, it gets a ticket.    There is no need to ever let that happen.  The car might be chilly for three blocks, and that’s about it.  There is an app to help with that — if you leave the car running and just tap the break, the motor will kill.  If you have a spare and  lock the keys in the car, know that is no protection.  Someone who wants the car can be in it in under 30 seconds without breaking a window..
Inspector Loining:  auto theft is up all over the city; they may be higher than they ever have been,  especially older Hondas (’97-02) which can be turned on with a shaved key.  The trouble doesn’t just start with the loss of your car.  If someone takes it and you report it, it will appear in the computer.  As officers are driving around, they spend time “running plates” to see if those plates have been stolen.  If  the number comes up, they will attempt to recover the vehicle, so now you have a chase situation.  If a subject does not want to be caught, they accelerate and we have a public safety issue.  The problem is now worse.  Thanks to Chief Arradondo, for the most part MPD is not chasing stolen vehicles, but there is always increased danger to the public and to the officers.  Safety is the first consideration city-wide and in especially in the 2nd Precinct.  Even if they don’t get chased in Mpls, they may be taken to a different city where the officers have different guidelines and then danger to the public goes up again.  The biggest message to take away is the hazard  this creates.    The overarching guideline of the MPD is safety for the public and for officers.

There are some handouts about running cars that we can distribute.  Contact Nick to get some.  

Another important point:  We hear a lot of “Give ’em a ticket!  Give em a ticket!”  A good point to remember is that officers have discretion if they will charge or not.  If an officer sees that someone has  been victimized, they need their car to get to work, they need their job and their paycheck, they’re working extra jobs to support their family, that officer doesn’t want to add to the stress.   

NEIGHBORHOODS REPORT – Stinson Pkwy:  Thank you to the Precinct for helping with the speed issue on Stinson Pkwy.  People have been commenting on Facebook  but the complaints have been met with positive statements. 

–  Traffic is increasing a lot, including more large truck traffic on 37th Ave.  The neighborhood is concerned because there is a lot of construction next year, and neighbors want to get a handle on this before the construction makes things worse.    Inspector Loining replied with a thanks for the report and the neighbors will be seeing some extra traffic control on 37th.

–  In SE bikes and scooters (the rentals) are being just dropped all over.  It’s not unusual to see a sidewalk effectively blocked by 3 or 4 scooters so you have trouble walking past them if you have a dog on a leash, are pushing a stroller,r using crutches or  a wheelchair or just carrying multiple bags from the grocery store.  Just as bad is construction vehicles, bobcats and more using residential streets to back up and turn around.    Inspector Loining pointed out that increasing housing density is making life more difficult for everyone. 

We closed with a round of applause for Linnea Tweed and the officers who explained events and protocol. 

Nov. 2-PAC report, part 1 – Aging in place.

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

Linnea Tweed, Director of Vital Living Program  from East Side Neighborhood Services talked about some of the services available to help Eastsiders age in place. 

East Side Neighborhood Services is a centerpiece of  NE Minneapolis.  It’s been serving the East Side for over 100 years.  It continues to be a place where people find support to solve immediate needs or to engage strategies to achieve self-sufficiency and stability. They have broadened their territory recently and  now offer services  in 46 locations across Hennepin County.   ESNS offers programs for people from 6 weeks old to the end of life.   Children receive education that targets Kindergarten readiness, young people develop the skills and social responsibility  that they need to succeed in school and life, and adults of all ages make connections that support health and holistic well-being.

Vision Statement:  Every person thrives and every voice matters.  One of the ESNS strategic priorities is to build an interrgenerational community that values and respects everyone, increases understanding and engagement, and focuses on health and well-being for all generations. This is something we’ve started reframing; it is actually a family project   It’s based on the concept that everyone is aging.  Because aging affects everyone if should be looked at from an intergenerational lens.  

The Vital Living Program creates access to community-based  services for older adults.  Among its goals are to preserve  individual choice and control; to identify and stabilize risk factors; to connect older adults to services and resources; to extend community living and maintain quality of life;  to increase social engagement and reduce social isolation. 

Looking at the statistics,  87% of adults 65 and over  want to stay in their home and community.  Maintaining one’s social and physical health is something all of us can do to meet that goal.  Social connections play an important role in health and can decrease the risk of death by at least 50%; falls are a leading cause of fatal injury and a common cause of non-fatal trauma leading to hospital admissions among older adults;  about  80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition and at least 68% have 2 or more, creating a burden for individuals and for the healthcare system. 

How does the Vital Living Program supports its goals?  It works to develop, expand, and sustain services that are critical to maintain community living for older adults and their caregivers.  We work to grow partnerships with housing providers  to expand healthy aging programs in residential communities.  We work with other programs to develop intergenerational programming.  Ms. Tweed and a colleague have presented programs in the Monroe Village Apartments and at other buildings that have larger numbers of residents over age 65 including a popular program, “A Matter of Balance”,  a story-sharing program, exercise classes,  and disease self-management classes.   Because transportation can be an issue, ESNS brings programs out into the community, but ESNS can also provide transportation to the central building from Southeast, Northeast and Near North neighborhoods.

The “Juniper” flyer lists 9 evidence based classes developed to connect people with neighbors, to build confidence, and to increase people’s ability to live a full and healthy life.   [QUESTION – What is an “evidence-based” class?   ANSWER –   it is a class that has been developed, usually by a University or a research agency.  They use testing to determine what impact a class or exercise actually produces — the criteria are stringent — the simplest explanation that they measure what someone’s targeted ability was when they started the class and if (or how much) that changed by the end.]  Attendees of the Juniper courses will learn methods to live well despite health challenges,  to get more exercise, and to have support for managing chronic health issues.

“Vital Living with East Side” is a flyer on help for caregivers  – An  ESNS program, NE Day Spot is a safe and fun place where the person who needs assistance can make new friends and take part in activities while their caregiver has a temporary respite to handle personal errands or just have some private down-time. At the same time, the program provides a social opportunity for the person who needs assistance. Seeing only the same person day after day is a source of stress.  NE Day Spot is open every Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, pre-assessment is required.  There is also a support group for caregivers that meets every 3rd Friday of the month, 10-11:30am, which is the same time as a NE Day Spot session.

Additional programs include intergenerational engagement opportunities.  We are pulling some young people in with older adults working on activities and  projects together.   

Linnea shared a few items from future presentation by the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging for its 2019 Summit where an important topic will be state funding for long term services.  It’s not good news.  Right now the funding is Medicare and Medical assistance;  to get that, you must be a Minnesota resident, have a Social Security Number, and meet some other criteria.  We’re finding that lower income people have financial support through Medicade, while upper income people have enough money of their own to afford the programs.  It’s the middle income people who are struggling to get this kind of help.  [With a nod to Jim Drake of Southeast Seniors who attended]  That is what makes programs like Southeast Seniors so important — they are sources of help for middle income people.

The Minnesota Council on Foundations reports that only 00.8% of private philanthropy is designated for  aging services.  Right now ,people are more interested in investing in an 8 year old than in an 80 years old.  That can be looked at as failing to support previous investments.  People also look at investing in social services from the Return On Investment (ROI) lens and often believe that youth investments promise a higher ROI. 

Minnesota Gerontological Society has monthly webinars on various topics.  This month’s was on home modification, learning the difference between “accessible” and “universal home design” and related topics.  It looked at finances: how much should one consider investing in a home to make it accessible?  Does a plan or design make financial sense?  To know how to make those decisions, whether  or not to invest in your current home.  Handouts are being developed by Lifetime Home Project in St. Paul, including resources, financial planning and more.  This will be on the Lifetime Home Project website early next year. 

On December 11, Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging is holding a summit  sponsored by AARP and others to engage in information exchange and action planning around an Age-Friendly Minnesota.  One question being looked at is: How we can utilize current best-practices to develop a statewide plan.   

Ms Tweed  learned from working with Mill City Commons (a community which is based on the “Village” model started in Boston) that health programs work best in “community” — people living in community developed social networks that attracted more people wanting to be part of that network.  [Another shoutout to Southeast Seniors for developing an amazing program.]  Although it doesn’t have a Block Nurse program as Southeast Seniors has, Northeast Seniors does have a very good program located in Columbia Heights serving that suburb and NE Minneapolis. 

For more information about ESNS, go to  at the top, find the “Our Programs” and click on that, then scroll down to Older Adults    Some insurance companies are supporting some of the healthy aging programs.  Right now, BCBS and Health Partners are reimbursing East Side for some of the costs.  They see the programs as preventive care.

Questions:  Snow shoveling:  heard on the street is that those services are filled up.  How can we provide that service for more people?  Linnea:  great question but I don’t have a great answer.  There is  “Senior Community Services” which provides chore services like snow shoveling, light housekeeping, yard services in Northeast.  They are not taking new clients because they don’t have enough shovelers.  When volunteer shovelers weren’t enough, they started paying people $15 an hour and still couldn’t get enough people.  They worked with schools trying to tie into programs that are offered in the schools, but have to be really creative about providing transportation and so on.    Many youth in the ESNS programs don’t have cars, and their families may not have stable housing. Some kids have not lived in a house, so do not know how to care for one. 
QUESTION  we have had a person who was slipping cognitively.  She has  family nearby, but her friends didn’t know the family, and didn’t know whom to call to discuss the situation.  ANSWER  Right now, if you are concerned about a person’s safety, know that it doesn’t matter if your concern is about hoarding, self-neglect, neglect by others, OR actual abuse by someone, report what you’ve seen by phoning MINNESOTA ADULT ABUSE  REPORTING CENTER at 1-844-880-1574

This switchboard is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Know that  Minnesota encourages good faith reporting of suspected maltreatment by any person, including self neglect.  Your name will never be revealed, but you will have the assurance that someone who has special training and  understands this kind of situation will make contact for a meeting and do some level of assessment.  The person you are concerned about will have the freedom to decline assistance as long as a situation doesn’t violate health rules. 

[EQ:  I have copies of the “Juniper” flyer and the “Vital Living with East Side” to share.  Contact me for copies.  Ms Tweed also left me a 2-page list of publications about “aging in place”.  Some  are from AARP, ASSIST and other organizations and all of them are available through your public library.]