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.]

October 2-PAC report, part 2

Our speaker this month was Jason Matlock, Director of Operational and Security Services for Minneapolis Public Schools.  You’ll find the report on his presentation in Part 1 of this report.
COURTWATCH:  Sandra Filardo, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office reporting with input from Holly Ihrke, Parole Officer
–Samuel Haase is a person who is known to have mental health issues; he was held at HCMC on a disorderly conduct complaint, received an amended sentence and was released to treatment in July; he has a hearing in Restorative Court on 11/6 but a pretrial meeting on the same day for another charge.
–Daniel Heacock was found incompetent on 5/23, had a new hearing on 7/19 and was recommitted; he has a hearing on 1/14/20. 
–Paula Heille cleared her Bench warrant on 10/1 and has a probation violation hearing on 11/18; she is out on conditional release.–Kirk Robledo is in custody in Ramsey County Jail and has pled to 5th degree drug possession and 3rd degree Burglary on 9/25–Miles Shaw is in custody in Ramsey County Jail and has a11/6 arraignment; he has 2 outstanding bench warrants.

No updates:  Johnny Bernard Hall; Spencer Hermes; Cody Horton is doing well in Mental Health Court and has a review hearing on 10/24;  Joshua Poplawski is in the workhouse to 10/30 and will be furloughed to housing when that is available but remains on probation  until 5/15/21;   James Zaccardi has no updates, so apparently is doing well in treatment;   review hearing on 10/15;  Michael Zaccardi has no updates.
Removed from the monthly watch: Jonell Butler, who is in custody  of the DOC, expected release 10/29/29 with parole conditions until 5/8/35.  He was charged with 2 1st Degree Agg. Robbery and 1 1st  Degree assault and was convicted on all three charges.
PRECINCT REPORT:  Lt. Nelson  reminded us that the Recruit Draft has been held and 5 recruits are coming to the 2nd Precinct.  We may be seeing some shifts in personnel: in addition to the incoming recruits,  the MPD is having a shift bid which is seniority-based.
Sgt. Carter successfully served two warrants this month.  One resulted in the recovery of $9000 and drugs including oxicontin and meth at an address on 20th Ave NE.  A second warrant at 2112 Como Ave SE recovered more meth. 
The leading crime in the Second Precinct remains theft from motor vehicles, especially theft of electronics.  If you want to keep your electronics, take them with you. 

We’ve also seen a rise in burglaries, which happens every fall,  as people, especially students, move into the neighborhood — people don’t think about securing their gear or their apartments, and don’t know who their neighbors actually are. 
Finally there has been an uptick in domestic assault. 

ANNOUNCEMENT: In November, Linnea Tweed from Eastside Neighborhood Services will our speaker:  I’ve asked her to present information about  low cost services that can help neighbors successfully “age in place”.  This will be information that officers, neighbors, friends and family can use to keep East Side residents home and healthy.

IMPORTANT DATE CHANGE:  Our November meeting will be on November 12, that is Tuesday!  not Monday.  In December, we’ll return to the 2nd Monday of the month, our regular day to meet.
We remain at 1900 Central Ave NE, the Monroe Village Apartments Community Room.  Doors open at 6PM.

October report, part 1

The meeting was called to order at 6:15.  Because of the holiday, city employees were off;  we had 10 attenders.

Our speaker was Jason Matlock, Director or Emergency Management, Safety & Security for the Minneapolis Public Schools.  His department is responsible for outreach, security, and emergency response in the schools. 

(EQ: The MPD statement of expectations from the MPS – EMSS can be found here:   I believe this directive and the EMSS mission statement below are a direct rebuttal to the complaints in 2007 that some school safety officers were too quick to see students as delinquent with no attempt to pull them out of that behavior)

The mission statement of the department reads: “We are committed to safe, welcoming learning and work environments for everyone in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

To explain the Mission Statement, Mr. Matlock referenced Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in order: physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization.  (EQ: for a quick overview:

Maslow’s theory posits, until a person has satisfied a lower level  need, he or she can’t successfully satisfy the next level.  Assuming  a person’s physical needs have been met, school environment must present as a place of safety where students are welcome, so that they can integrate themselves in the school society.

Safety in the schools is modeled on the “4 R’s”: Relationships (the basis of security), then Readiness, R.E.A.C.T., and Recover.  R.E.A.C.T. is a protocol for handling situations.  It stands for React, Evaluate, Act, Communicate, Take Inventory.  Staff are trained to readiness so they can REACT, and then help the school members recover equilibrium. 

Every building has an inventory of “assets” starting with the Principal and Assistant principal, the staff on a site who are trained in security and behavior, the site specific emergency plan and emergency team, on site cameras and door buzzers, and training people onsite in emergency drills and lockdown procedures  specific to the particular school. 

There are four basic emergency procedures taught:

1) Lockout for when a potential threat is outside the building (CODE YELLOW),

2) Lockdown, when a threat is inside the building (CODE RED)

3) Evacuation

4) Hold in place

The School Resource Officers have been in Minneapolis Public Schools for almost 60 years.  The current team includes 14 officers, a sergeant, a lieutenant, and a Safety Patrol agent.    These officers’ have two important roles: to serve as mentors for students, staff and community, and to intervene when they identify students moving into delinquency.  They are also the on-site connection to the Police Dept. if a threat was to cause a lockout or lockdown.

Mentoring the students is a primary role for officers.  Mr. Matlock is focused on creating a positive “School Climate”, the quality and character of school life.  This is the basis of Maslow’s “Social Step” referenced above, and is a basis for a successful school career.  Many things can negatively impact a school’s climate, some outside the school (neighborhood issues, bus schedules, gangs,  overcrowding), some inside the school (understaffing, physical heat/cold issues, vandalism, lockdowns), and some come with the student (family impact, mental health issues, truancy).  Officers receive training to help them recognize how youth may express issues, how to recognize the issues for what they are, how to deal with a student who may be overwhelmed, acting out, or have something else going on.  One of these programs is called “Trauma Informed Practices”

Additionally, Mr. Matlock promotes restorative practices when working with a student who  is acting out.  Restorative practices give a student a chance to make a positive impact, an important step in building a sense of self-worth and membership in the group.  (EQ:  I asked for more detail.)  Mr Matlock replied that the MPS has a restorative practices program, and a student can be admitted to that program,   MPS also has connections to the Restorative Justice that we heard about at 2-PAC two years ago.  If an SRO is involved with a student who is acting out, the student may be referred to that program instead of the schools’ RJ program.   (You can read the 2-PAC report on Minneapolis Restorative Justice program here:    )

Mr. Matlock left me several copies of “MPS Emergency management Safety & Security: A Parent’s Guide to What We Do”   This four page hand out covers the items above, some in greater detail than these notes provide.   Contact me at for a copy)

Emilie Quast, board member

MPD Second Precinct PAC

Minneapolis MN 55418

Sept.2-PAC Report, Part 1: The C.E.T. – Outreach with Ice Cream!

The meeting was called to order at 6:15 by Emilie Quast.  19 attenders
2-PAC has a new parole officer!  Welcome Holly Ihrke, Hennepin County Probation Officer assigned to the 2nd Precinct.*

Our speaker is Sgt. Jose Gomez.  Sgt. Gomez has been in the MPD for 25 years.  He started at the 2nd Precinct in 1995.  4 years later he moved to Narcotics and Gang Investigations where he worked for 15 years.  After a promotion, he became a street supervisor, and then went to Internal Affairs (investigating other officers) — a very difficult job.  It was, however, the assignment that led to the Community Engagement Team — clearly, a job he enjoys.

Sgt Gomez leads the Community Engagement Team to meet its assigned missions: 

  • To work to build trust and strong relationships with the  many ethnic communities in Minneapolis.  
  • To help with more complex cases such as those in which there is a language barrier.
  • To be available to community members who want to offer information they don’t want to share with regular officers or investigators.

Additional stated missions include presenting at citizen academies, community lectures and focus groups; offering training programs (dealing with violent extremism); recruiting youth to join the Police Activities League and the Police Explorers Program; assisting recruitment officers to attract candidates who will reflect Minneapolis culture. 

The CET’s primary function is to build trust with the community.  We’re all aware that our city is multi-cultural.  The CET has officers who are familiar with certain cultures, who can meet people and talk with them, including Native American, Latinex, SE Asian, African-American, East African, LGBTQ (the only civilian). There is a youth engagement officer, and an officer who understands the needs of the MPHA (public housing) community and who works with people who have mental health needs.  Officers do get moved out as they are needed on the street to answer high priority calls.  They don’t always get replaced right away.  Other will shift in to see if the CET is a good fit for them.

When a block or a neighborhood is the scene of a trauma, it’s the CET’s mission to show up (probably in the ice cream truck), engage and assure the kids that the MPD cares a lot about them.  Then they go door knocking and start talking to the adults in the surrounding homes.  At most stops, they get a variety of responses, ranging from people who are very worried about the incident to people who actually didn’t hear about it.  Either way, the purpose is to start talking with people, be open to conversations, offer facts to combat rumor, and to make friends.

The Community Engagement Team offers a number of regular events.
The most frequent is the Bike Cops for Kids weekly report that shows up Thursday mornings on email feeds, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.  The BCFK report shows about a dozen new pictures of the Bike Cop team, taken that week, all around the city, handing out  ice cream and freezies in hot weather, winter gloves at school bus stops on cold mornings, basketballs, footballs (and now: soccer balls) and bike helmets any place they are needed.  This program is funded by donations of goods from Children’s Hospitals, grocery stores, and a lot of other organizations and individuals around the city. (Fact: even the ice cream truck was donated.)  It’s a constant good will presence in Minneapolis, year around.  Information about signing up to get this report is at the bottom of this page.  

Parks Programs: The CET throws a BBQ in the Parks at 3 or 4 locations around town every year.  The partner in this event is the St. Paul Police Foundation, thanks to members of the Campion family.  They get other MPD teams like the K-9s, the bomb squad truck, and other teams to add to the show.

Take Back the Parks:  officers discovered that people in some neighborhoods, day care places were afraid to walk their children across the street and into the park for recess because gang bangers had started hanging out there.  When the CET heard about this, they started just showing up just one random day a week.  When they did that, the gang bangers just dispersed and the officers could play with the kids as long as needed. 

The CET signs up to serve dinners at House of Charity once a week, just working the service line until everyone has food, and then staying to talk to people.  As they got to know people, they realized that some had chronic  issues like addiction, mental health issues or other problems.  When something goes wrong, the team has the background to offer a positive response.  There is a special care clinic across the street.  If the problem seems to need it, and if the person agrees, the CET can walk the person across the street and help them get the care they need. 

Other occasional events include “Chat with the Chief” (Chief Arradondo at various small businesses across town), visits to the Ronald McDonald House once a month, and more. 

They’ve created a “See Something, Say Something” and presented it to over 15,000 people at events.

About twice a month, 5 of the  team travel down to the Red Wing Youth Correctional Facility.  The population of this place is about 80% from Hennepin County, and most of those are from Minneapolis.  Youth who enter this program start at level 1, as they meet expectations, they move up.  When they’ve reached level 5, they are almost ready to move out; those are the boys the team focuses on. 

Too many of these boys have no  home or (if they have a home) no support at home, no extended family, no mentoring adult in their lives, and no way of figuring out a plan for their future.  Being alone makes you vulnerable, so many of these boys turn or turn back to gangs for support.  That choice is likely to get them back in Red Wing, which has a high recidivism statistic (72%!)  The CET offers to be  a positive resource for them.  The officers get to know the boys personally before they are released.  Every boy knows how to contact a member of the team.  If they call, the officers will meet, offer lunch, just talk, find solutions to their problems, maybe help them find a job, try to help them keep their focus on creating a future. 

Chief Arradono and the MPD has gathered department-wide resources under an umbrella called Procedural Justice.  The CET is part of this drive, and so can more quickly move boys into programs they can use.  [EQ: More information at]  
[EQ:  To follow this team,  send an email to “Sergeant Gomez” – – OR  “Officer Mike”  –  –  and they’ll add you to the mailing list of your choice: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email.    OR,  you can follow the  BCFK story on the MPD page:   or the Facebook site

*This is Ms Ihrke’s correct title — a previous report named a different one — EQ

Emilie Quast, board memberMPD Second Precinct PACMinneapolis MN 55418

Sept 2-PAC, part 2: Mental Health Court; Moped, Bike and personal property theft.

The meeting was called to order at 6:15 by Emilie Quast.  19 attenders
2-PAC has a new parole officer!  Welcome Holly Ihrke, Case Management Assistant  from the Hennepin Country Parole Office.
Our speaker was Sgt. Jose Gomez from the Minneapolis Police Dept. Community Engagement Team.  Report of his speech is Part 1 of this monthly report. 

COURTWATCH:  Sandra Filardo, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office gave our updates.
New additions to Courtwatch:  Kirk Robledo, is in custody in Ramsey County Jail; latest two offenses were in July of this year on or near U of MN campus; bench warrant issued for failure to appear in August; several hearings scheduled in Sept. — from there he will be shuttled to Hennepin County.   Miles Shaw is also in custody in Ramsey County Jail; 3 incidents on or near U of MN campus and has a bench warrant for failure to appear in August. 

UPDATES: Jonell Butler was found guilty and remains in custody, expected release 10/29/29, followed by probation until 5/8/35.  Daniel Heacock was re-committed on 7/19/19 and has a new hearing on 1/14/20.  Paula Heille failed to appear and has an active bench warrant. Cody Horton  was scheduled for a Mental Health hearing in mid-September, after our meeting; he is in treatment. 

NO UPDATES:  Samuel Haase was released to treatment on 7/3 and will remain on probation until 4/4/22.  Johnny Hall was discharged from probation 4/4/19. Spencer Hermes remains on probation until 5/23/22.  Joshua Poplawski is in the workhouse until 10/30/19.  James Zaccardi will remain on probation until 5/24/18 and appears to be doing well getting the help he needs through Mental Health Court.  Michael Zaccardi will remain on probation until 4/5/22, and is doing well.

Remove:  Jonell Butler.

Atty Filardo explained how referrals to Mental Health Court works.  If family or others are concern that someone is going to hurt himself or someone else and contacts the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, that will start the process.  This might be officers taking someone having a psychotic episode to the hospital or it might be a family member/friend/neighbor expressing concern.  The person may already have a conservator.  If a person shows up at a hospital, and the staff request an evaluation, that will start the same process.  It is a difficult issue but the office is seeing it more and more because more people understand the importance of getting family members the help they need and deserve.  We don’t just write the person off; we want them to become healthy people.  If people want to learn more, contact her and she will send the information to the person in the office who specializes in this work.  Civil commitments:  we can have a program on that if people want to learn more.

Emilie Quast explained a new procedure for adding people to the Courtwatch list.  Unless something changes, Elizabeth Clark from the City Attorney’s Office will comb the monthly arrest list looking for candidates who meet our profiles.  Elizabeth and Emilie will add the people we agree should be followed.  Others are welcome to join us (email communication) and comments are wanted from others.  Attenders voted by voice to continue this procedure until further notice. 
NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT:   Emilie Quast reported that the Latin Kings (gang) had tagged two alleys and put one tag on Tuttle School building.  CPS Juarez confirmed that it was the Latin Kings and that MPS removed the tag on the building while the city and homeowners took care of the other tags.  These tags appeared on the same night that saw an uptick in crime.  MPD increased patrols n the area and there has been no further activity.   The principal of the school (and others) are watching to see if the taggers appear to contact any of the kids in the school.  Additionally, the n’hood organization, SECIA, is looking for grants to support increased lighting and (perhaps) security camera subsidiestie

PRECINCT REPORT:  Sgt. Nelson reported that the Second Precinct is experiencing the annual rise in crime when students return to campus:  bikes stolen, mopeds stolen, theft from motor vehicles and burglaries of dwelling.  Cars, apartments, bikes and mopeds are often left unlocked.  Marcy Holmes saw a brief rise in assaults, which seems to have abated by this report.   

The MPD draft on September 17 will include 29 officers; it’s expected the 2nd Precinct will get 5 of them. 

Emilie Quast, Board MemberMPD Second Precinct PACMineapolis MN 55418

August 2-PAC: Home Inspections and Fire Safety

The meeting was called to order at 6:20, 14 attenders.
Our speaker was Fire Inspector Robert Sayers.  Inspector Sayers worked 17 years for the Minneapolis Fire Dept., and then moved to Regulatory Services  and became a Fire Inspector.
His 4-person team does fire inspections for 4-plexes and larger, and for mixed use properties. Hazard inspectors take care of SFD, duplexes and triplexes.  They are currently trying to figure out Air B&Bs  — right now  the regulations behind AB&Bs are loose.  They looked at other cities and saw some models that worked and some that didn’t work well.  Minneapolis is trying to get it right the first time.
Most of the attenders at PAC were homeowners, so Inspector Sayers spoke about  “what he doesn’t want to see” in SFDs.
To begin, most home fires start as clothes dryer fires in flexible dryer venting.  Flexible venting is not approved for use in Minneapolis, even though it is for sale in big box stores and elsewhere.  Stores  are not required to tell you about the city regulation.  If flexible vent is what you have, replace it with a rigid venting, either aluminum or steel.  Dryer fires usually start in lint backup in the venting, whether the dryer is gas or electric.  The flex vents possibly trap more lint because of the pleats that make the tube flexible, vs the smooth metal vents.  More important is that thin metal will contain the fire fpr a while, but the flex vent will melt/burn through quickly allowing the fire will spread much sooner.
We  have some homes in the city that he classifies as “clutter homes”.  This is also dangerous but for  different reasons.  They are dangerous to the fire fighters who must enter a smoky, low vision place and don’t know the layout of the space.  Where are the paths? What or who is behind the piles?  The “stuff” will prevent fire fighters from saving lives.  Tightly packed, mixed fuel fires are also extremely complicated to put out.
There are different levels of clutter:  some hold actual garbage that hasn’t been taken out.  Some owners don’t let their animals out to relieve themselves.  Some owners are just not  capable of taking care of the issue due to physical, social or emotional problems that haven’t been addressed.  Even if this is not a health hazard to the homeowner, too much stuff packed in a small space makes it very difficult to knock down a fire.  If the situation is due to a psychological problem, after  owner, friends and family get the house cleared out, the clutter will accumulate again unless the psychological issues are dealt with.
Home safety involves other issues that need thinking about.  Disposal of compact fluorescent light bulbs is one many people don’t think of.   Cleaning up and disposing of the  very fine shards of glass is difficult. Also, these bulbs contain mercury, which is more of  a hazard.   Because of the mercury, these bulbs shouldn’t go in the trash.  Many hardware stores will take  them in for you.  Battery storage is also important, especially 9V batteries, which will start to heat up if a screwdriver or another piece of metal spans the two terminals.
Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed  and maintained carefully.    If you have all electric appliances you probably don’t have anything to worry about because they don’t emit carbon monoxide.  If you have gas appliances, however, you need to get those CO detectors installed in the area of those appliances.    Smoke detectors need to be within 10 feet of bedrooms.
Another thing homeowners are concerned about is water damage.  This can ruin surfaces, but it also can start mold to form in your home.  The city doesn’t have equipment to test mold to find out what it is.  Instead, inspectors look for situations that will cause water intrusion and cause mold to develop.  “Water damaged surfaces” is the term they use.
[EQ: Article on moisture/mold testing by a certified home inspector, posted in the S’Trib ( )
Electrical issues.There is still a lot of knob and tube wiring in the city, and it’s probably OK until someone taps into it.  If someone updates a portion of the wiring but doesn’t replace all of the line, there will be issues.  Plus, knob and tube wiring is old — some of it maybe 100  years old.  When it gets moved around  the insulation can crumble and fall apart.   Old appliances  can be  another electrical hazard.  Old space heaters weren’t made with automatic shutoffs.  If they fall over, they keep working and can start a fire.  That brings up smoke detectors again, if they are 10 years old, replace them.
Bonfires/recreational fires.  The city ordinance is what it is and isn’t perfect.   It states that you must burn raw wood.  You don’t want to burn furniture lumber or treated wood because they give off toxic gases.  The ordinance []  states that a fire must be 25′ from a flammable structure, including wood fencing.  For Inspector Sayers,  the issue is that,  based on the distance rules cited in the city ordinance, most homes have no legal place to have a recreational fire.   Our city lots, are small, typically 55-60′ wide and not that deep.  on that basis alone, over 90% of the houses in Mpls don’t have a legal place for a fire.  Homes with firepits probably won’t have a problem.  While a backyard bonfire could spread to a nearby garage, Mr. Sayers believes that garage fires are more likely to be the result of arson, not recreational fires, but that doesn’t change the ordinance language.  Be aware that the MFD does not drive around the city looking for recreational fires.  Most of the calls they get are from neighbors who are bothered by the smoke.  If he sees metal from a piece of furniture, knows the neighbors probably have a reason to complain.
Renters’ Rights:  Because the buildings he inspects are 4-plexes or larger, Inspector Sayers talks to a lot of renters and finds himself talking about “Renter’s Rights”.    Minneapolis has a lot of good landlords but his team deals with the ones who are actually predatory.  They will take advantage of their renters and they take up much of his time.
[EQ   Renters rights:  The MNAttorney General has a PDF pamphlet that covers rights at     University students have two additional resources, the Office for off-campus living  (   and  Student Legal services (  ]
The question came up:  when do you inspect?  Until about a year ago, Mr. Sayers was one of only two Inspectors who only dealt with complaint driven inspections.  Most of those came from  renters.  An inspector does not have to let a landlord know they are coming in, if it’s the renter who is filed the complaint.  The renter can give inspectors permission to enter, and the permission of the owner is not needed.
Rental properties are ranked for fire inspection services into three tiers.  property on Tier 1 is on a seven year cycle: they may be newer; they have no history of issues or complaints.  We know that a lot can change in 7 years, so there may be some properties out there that are not in that good shape today, but the last time they were inspected, they were assigned to Tier 1.    Tier 2 is  looked at every 3 to 5 years.  Our Tier 3 properties are those that have had issues; they are inspected annually.  The hope is that if the owner knows Inspections is coming back on an annual basis, they’ll clean up their act (property)   Because of the annual inspection, it’s possible there are Tier 3 properties that are actually in better shape than some Tier 1s.
We have between 15 and 20 fire  inspectors in the city.  Of those, there are four who deal with complaints (his team); the others are doing routine inspections so the owners know we’re coming.  The tenants also know inspectors are coming  because if they’re not gong to be home, the landlord  must get a permit signed by the renter,  allowing inspection.
If you have other questions or complaints, dial 311. out of  612 area code, dial  612.673. 3000.  The numbers are on our fridge magnets. [EQ: I have some of these magnets and safety pamphlets to distribute].
Question:  how did the Frenz situation develop?  From an inspector’s standpoint, Stephen Frenz bought 40 badly maintained properties from one of the worst landlords in the city, Spiros Zorbalas.  Zorbalas lost his rental licenses and was not supposed to have any further interest in any rental property.  When Frenz’ tenants kept reporting violations, investigators discovered that the properties were, in fact,  jointly held by both Frenz and Zorbalas.   The 40 properties had changed ownership on less than $1000 payment to Zorbalas.  Retaliation against tenants also continued: inspections would act on a tenant’s complaint and  soon those tenants were no longer living there.   Frenz is now down to 5 properties and that is still in litigation.
EQ:  I have a stash of information, yours for the asking.  1) 311 refrigerator magnets.  2) City of Mpls info sheets: Smoke Alarms and CO detectors; Citations: Payments and appeals; Special assessments: payments and  appeals; Homeowners’ Resource lists, with special numbers for Vets, Seniors, Energy Assistance contacts, Home repair contacts, and alot more.  3) From the Nat’l Fire Protection Assn.:  Cooking fore safety; Carbon Monoxide alarms; Ways to keep your family safe from fire.  Contact me at and I’ll get your request to you.  (hint:  That Homeowners Resource list is a gold mine.)

August 2-PAC: Part 2: Courtwatch and Precinct report

COURTWATCH:  Sandra Filardo, HCAO and Nnamdi Okoronkwo MplsAO, presented:
Jonell Butler pled guilty to 3 1st degree agg robberies and 1 agg. assault; sentencing on August 19, and the attorneys expect 199 months (over 16 years) of which he will serve 11 years.  Samuel Hasse was released to a treatment center on July 3, and remains there; conditions of probation are to complete treatment plus standard felony probation conditions; he will be on probation until 4/4/22.**  Daniel Heacock went to mental health court  in July and was recommitted on 7-19; next hearing is 01/14/20.
No updates:  Johnny Hall, on probation.  Spencer Hermes remains on probation to 05/23/22.  Cody Horton remains on probation until 11/19/21.  Joshua Poplawski remains in the workhouse until 10/30/19.  James Zaccardi remains on probation  until 02/24/21 and is doing well in Drug Court.  Michael Zaccardi remains on probation until 04/05/22.
News:  Paula Heille violated probation and is now on bench warrant status.
**Samuel Hasse is regularly in the business districts of Marcy-Holmes; people are starting to discuss how to restrict him after he gets out of treatment.  Geographic restrictions have gotten harder to obtain and are difficult to enforce — discussion is on-going.
Mental Health Court:  Both attorneys find the level of supervision in “treatment” court beneficial.  The case worker can actually keep closer contact with his clients with random calls, weekly check-ins.  Being assigned to Mental Health Court requires agreement from both parties: the prosecutors and the defendant’s team.  Not everyone is willing to accept that level of supervision or standard of compliance.  If they have some persistent mental health diagnosis,  such as  TBI, that will be taken into account when working out the treatment plan.
REPORT ON THE PRECINCT:  Inspector Loining presenting:  Our main problems remain property crimes: burglary, theft, auto theft, theft from motor vehicle, and similar  remain our top issues.  The MN Daily and Northeaster will be publishing stories on preventing these common crimes as new students arrive for Fall Semester.
In the time between mid -July and early August, the 2nd Precinct received reports of robbery of person, a car-jacking at gunpoint (500 block of 2nd SE), arrest was made  with subjects charged,  Auto theft includes mopeds which are all over the University area and we’ll be sending tips there.  Bike theft also remains high.  We’re please to report that an officer made a traffic stop on August 2, and it was a stolen vehicle — the subject was arrested and charged.  A similar stop last week was a stolen moped which was recovered and the subject charged and sent to jail.
We had two burglary of businesses the first week of August, and these were from construction sites; it’s easier for people to get into these sites since there are no alarms.  One fellow just squeezed between two chain locked gates and scaled his way up the crane to the crow’s nest at the top.  Officers couldn’t get them charged for burglary but did get a trespass charge filed.  These sites are attractive to people who plan to steel copper  and other construction materials (and it’s likely the crane climber thought it was an exciting thing to do.)  The two thefts from construction sites, officers were able to get identification and one person arrested.
Shots fired, two incidents: the first was on the 1100 block of Summer Street, no one hit.  The second was in Logan Park, people not from NE came to have a party, no one got hurt but the people didn’t seem cooperative.  More patrols are scheduled for that area. in the.
We had a sexual assault 700 block of 4th St. SE, at 3AM.  The victim was able to fight him off and he took off running.  A description went out to residents and university staff.
Two robberies of persons, the first on the  3600  Central Avenue block,  and the second, by the same person, recovered a gun and another up on Tyler by the same suspect.
Finally a party house  800 block 26th Ave. NE, last year this house was known for the most overdoses in the city.  The other house is on 3200 of Garfield party house, bonfires, alleged dope dealing; we’ve had two search warrants issued for that house in the past year.  The guy recently went to jail for aggravated domestic assault. Neighbor complaints first brought this house to the Precinct attention.
9/3 is the next  police academy recruit draft.  Inspector Loining asked for 6 new officers for the 2nd.
Schools are starting: public school on Sept 3 and the U of M opens a few days earlier. We’ll be offering coffee and more in a couple of places to U of Mn Students to welcome them back.
QUESTION:  Package thefts in the neighborhood.  Loining:  package thefts are not just a 2nd pct problem and it’s not just UPS or FedEx or any other carrier.  It’s all across the country.  And that picks up as the holiday season opens.  We’ve just gotten one case that has good ID; often when we find one person, the total number of thefts goes way down.  One person can be the source of a lot of trouble.
The next 2nd Pct Spotlight newsletter will be published in Sept.  You’ll want to sign up for it.

July 2-PAC report: Part 2

Our speaker, Lt. Mario Ruberto, is in the Metro-Transit Police Dept. His presentation was summarized in Part 1 of this report

COURTWATCH: Sandra Filardo, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, presented updates: NATALIE BOX was convicted of 1st degree agg. robbery and 1st degree assault. She is in DOC w/ scheduled release on 2/7/23, parole until 4/8/25. JONELL BUTLER has a jury trial scheduled for 7/22 on 1st d agg-rob and 1st d. assault. SAMUEL HASSE has a 7/22 hearing for disorderly conduct; at a 7/2 hearing he was released to treatment on 7/3; he is being held for 8/14 hearing for other hearings in Ramsey and Dakota counties. JOHNNY HALL is meeting probation guidelines and remains on probation until 9/17/20. DANIEL HEACOCK had a hearing on 7/9/19. PAULA HEILLE remains on probation until 7/12/21 and is meeting probation rules. SPENCER HERMES was expected to be released on 7/26 to find a job; is on Electronic Home Monitoring. CODY HORTON had a review hearing on 7.18/19. MAHAD ISMAIL is on probation to 7/29/19. JOSHUA POPLAWSKI will be in the workhouse until 10/20/19 and will be on probation to 8/27/20 after his release. JAMES ZACCARDI is in mental health court but is on probation until 5/24/21 and seems to be doing well. MICHAEL ZACCARDI is on probation until 4/5/22, standard felony probation conditions apply. Natalie Box, Paula Heille, Mahad Ismael were removed from the list.

MENTAL HEALTH COURT AND DRUG COURTS:  Ms. Filardo:  If people are accepted into these courts, they receive treatment and resources that are intended to return them to good mental health. This is a compassionate, problem-solving response instead of punishment. This process is treated as a continuing case: they always see the same judge and the same prosecutor. Many people who go through these courts get the support they need from the program; we know because they do not violate again.

PRECINCT REPORT: Officer Christie Nelson reported that the predictable “summer” crimes are happening. Theft from garage is one you can prevent. When people are mowing their lawns, they do not lock the garage, probably because they’ll be so close. If you have a power mower, you won’t hear someone in your garage, and if they wait until you are on the other side of the house, you won’t see them, either. Similarly, if you’re working in the yard, lock your house. Remember that windows can have security stops that stop the window from being opened more than 6″ (too little for an adult to come in). The cost is under $3 per window: sash or sliding windows, about the same price. When the weather is nice, then there are more people out on the sidewalks or just walking around around the clock: keep tempting items in your house, not in the back seat of your car. We have extra patrols around the 500 block of Buchanan, in response to activity there.

Emilie Quast, Board Member  — MPD Second Precinct Advisory Council  — Minneapolis MN 55418

July 2-PAC: Transit Police

There was no meeting in April (event) or May (2nd Pct Open House).  June meeting was a feedback session.

July2-PAC:  Issue: People using the Transit System for shelter.  Lt. Mario Ruberto, presenter.

The meeting was called to order at 6:15; 16 people attending.
The Metro Transit Police are charged with policing issues specific to our transit system.  Along with aiding the Police Departments in 7 counties served by Metro Transit, this public service has taken on a special  area of service that has been getting a lot of press and media coverage lately.  The Metro Transit  Police is developing an outreach program to and for homeless residents in our area.  MTC Homeless Outreach and its focus team, the Homeless Action Team were described by Lt. Mario Ruberto, CSO,  our speaker.
Lt. Ruberto was a Hennepin County paramedic for twenty years  and switched to Transit Police 12+ years ago. About that time, there was an increase in homeless people taking shelter in the Transit system.  Those people would be trespassed, need shelter and come back in, be arrested. This was a cycle.  Lt. Ruberto asked if there were any tracking statistics, and  was asked to create them.  With training and experience as a paramedic, he  soon realized many of the people being arrested were actually in crisis, possibly dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, chronic health problems — issues he’d been trained to recognize as an EMT.  Any one of these issues can lead to homelessness and repeated police contact.  But the people who were being cycled through the system had no access to help, no way to stop the cycle. Many repeaters had more than one of those issues to handle and about 11% actually had all three.
Compounding the problem, despite having little or no medical training, first line responders had to decide where to take these people:  jail, hospital,  and detox were the only options.   People riding for shelter can’t stay on transit property or the MTPolice will just be called about them again.  During one winter, transit dealt with 362 individuals, most of them over and over again. Numbers of incidents are rising:  in 2015 Police received 1273 calls;  in 2018, that number was 2770.
Former MTPD Chief Harrington expected people receiving promotions to take on one “POP” project, (Problem Oriented Policing).  Lt. Ruberto chose to create a homeless outreach program that would decriminialize homelessness and address some of the problems he observed during field training.
When police do respond to complaints and take people in, the city is responsible for a other issues.  Items having little or no cash value are very important to the people who have little else.  The police must inventory the non-perishable belongings and return them to their owners when they are released.  A class action suit in Fresno about this issue cost the city $2.35 Million in damages.  Honolulu was sued over its trespass statue for being too broad; our MTC operated under a similar trespass law.  Is it right that one trespass notice effectively bans people from the only means of transportation they have?  Additionally, there is no realistic way to enforce that notice over all transit properties in 7 counties.  The current approach is to issue a geographic restriction (i.e. The Greenline or Rte #22) which limits the boundaries but is not enforceable, either.


The “Bermuda Triangle” is a name for MSP’s largest homeless camp.  The trains from Union Depot (St. Paul) to Target Field (Mpls) to the MOA and back to Union Depot form a triangle.  These trains are shelter for at least 180-275 people every night, depending on the weather.  The 2018-19  winter was colder and the number of riders rose to 350 people.  Those numbers make the Transit system the 2nd largest shelter for homeless in Hennepin County, second only to Salvation Army shelters.  When the Super Bowl committee charged the MOA and MPS skyways to clean up for the game week, they did by closing access, forcing more people into the Transit system.  Some homeless shelters routinely fill up long before everyone has a shelter, so the shelters give the folks they must turn away bus tokens so they’ll have a warm place to be.  When this happens, the Transit system count goes up by another 50 or more people.
There are many safety issues that rise from “transit as shelters”:  staff safety, passenger safety, safety for the people who are homeless.  Some people who ride transit at night who actually have safe shelter; they ride because they are predators.

Met Council Internal Solutions in progress:   The Met Transit PD has formed a special team, the Homeless Action Team (HAT).  The team consists of 4 officers and 2 sergeants and 2 CSOs (Community Service Officers).

HAT’s protocols and strategies are based on evolving best practices research.  HAT focuses on BOTH customer service complaints AND on community concerns about health and safety.
HAT Team training includes special training topics:   1) Crisis Intervention and de-escalation techniques; 2) Outreach worker certification; 3)  Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) assessor training; 4) Trauma-informed interviewing; 5) Understanding addiction (includes Narcan training); 6)  Building community trust.  The program and all training are based on one tenet:  Arrest is not a solution.  (EQ: For more info about HMIS: )
The HAT team  works from 10PM to 8AM, Sunday night through the Thursday AM rush hour.  Because social workers/social services don’t work overnight, the HAT team members approach the people who appear to need intervention, do an assessment to determine what a person’s primary needs are, set up the initial steps for an intake, and then hand the client off to the most appropriate social service agency when those offices open. The HAT team does track individuals, because if HAT can prove that a person has been unsheltered for three nights, they can issue a voucher that will get this person into a safe place.  The team is also trained to aggregate data in the Homeless Management Information System.  The HMIS database is confidential and used to determine how homeless populations are served across the U.S.  It is a data sort, not a diagnostic application.
Lt. Rubertos and his team are planning the next steps for HAT internal development.  HAT wants to:   1) Hire additional case workers to do the serious work of getting people to stable situations;  2) Establish an internship program for master’s level college students who need intern hours to complete their degree in social work; these people will do initial case assessments under supervision;  3) Review and strengthen the HAT Code of Conduct policies and post them;  4) Examine the use of the all-day Transit pass: is it being used as intended or not? 5) Create education plans for transit employees, transit PD, and for all riders.
What makes it difficult:  Homeless transit riders have many barriers to stable housing, including mental health issues, criminal history, poor housing rental history.  Another barrier HAT discovered that people who are in the system could be assigned to multiple services, a needlessly confusing waste of effort and money.  HAT is  moving people to single stream services (same services, better delivery) During the brief time that the Met Council has had an integrated approach, more than 30 families have been housed and another 36 referrals are in process.  One person is in charge of coordination, and the service teams meet regularly to work out solutions.
Externally: HAT is developing a housing partnership.  The Met Council was awarded 89 housing vouchers by HUD.  These vouchers provide financial help to transit riders who are homeless and who have disabilities.   The vouchers pay some 70% of housing costs, and the recipient  pays the rest. [Question: some people with vouchers still can’t find housing!  Answer: People may have issues that make conventional housing hard for them to find.  HAT is looking for unconventional housing solutions.]  We have to accept that there are some people who do choose to be on the street:  some are not yet able to handle independent living; some shelters have no place for married couples; many shelters won’t admit people with dogs even though the dogs are  stabilizers for people. These would need some of the “unconventional solutions”.
Short term solution improvements:  “Winter Safe Space” shelter in St. Paul is open November through May.  Established shelters close intake at 8PM because they also have a limited amount of space.  Winter Safe Space is open from 10PM to 9AM, offering 62 beds at a cost of $400,000 divided between Ramsey County, St. Paul, and philanthropic partners.  (something about Metro Mobility buses)  HAT has 25 reserved beds in that place and is hoping to reserve some beds on the Minneapolis side, as well.
Frequent Faces (pilot program) is starting to coalesce.  The vision is a partnership among various agencies like Catholic Charities, the East Metro Crisis Alliance, SPPD, SPFD and others.  The current vision:  Identify the top 30 resources users.  These folks, who use the Green Line trains as a shelter, have been reported on 740 contacts, resulting in 197 citations, 148 bookings, 249 EMS transports to ERs over the last 12 months!   Clearly the social and dollar costs are enormous.    The FF program will use the “safe-haven model” to offer social, legal and medical services to these 30 individuals diverting them from emergency rooms and jail, to find long term solutions so they can leave the cycle.  So far this has been presented to Health Partners and Regions Hospital, looking to develop a project model.
Coming soon:  HAT will roll out its first Mobile Assessment Vehicle (MAV) the first week in August.  This is a mini-bus that is packed with electronics and other gear: computer access to department records, printers, and more at two workstations (one for police and one for social workers).   With diagnostic equipment and an exam table on board, the team will be able to do field exams and assessments, replace lost IDs, and a great deal more to move  people quickly  to a safe solution.
Summary:  This is an ongoing challenge.  The situation we have now is the result of society pushing people out of sight, rather than working together to create solutions that benefit all of us.

One of our attenders contacted Lt. Ruberto after the meeting, reporting that an acquaintance  feels apprehensive riding the bus late at night.  Lt Ruberto replied replied in part:  Most overnight issues are on light rail because bus drivers can call the police and pull over if that’s needed.  Generally, violators run off if they know the police have been called.  If  a crime was committed, Transit Police pull the video and send pictures to MPD, SPPD and Transit PD.  Sometimes they have an ID just minutes later and the target can be  picked up.    Additionally, there is a transit app, Text For Safety, that sends a message to dispatch immediately from your Smartphone.  MTPD will respond, pull the video, or assign a cop ride-along if the situation calls for that. Check here: