Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Minneapolis weighing alternative responses

September 20, 2019

Minneapolis is looking into the possibility of handling some 911 calls with non-police responses, as reported here. Part of the rationale is the present situation in which calls for service have increased but police staffing hasn’t, leading to a “high number of emergency calls that get no immediate response.” The police department is asking for additional officers, but city officials want to consider whether social workers or other alternative responders might be more effective.

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Threatening to commit mass shootings

September 3, 2019

This article reports over 40 people arrested around the country over the last month for threatening to commit mass shootings or bombings, most after tips from the public. Common themes included right-wing ideology and threats against schools, Walmarts, and Planned Parenthood. The nature of the cases ranged from “vague social media threats from juveniles that set parents on edge to well-developed plots from people who had access to weapons and appeared to authorities to have been planning a mass murder.”

Serial rape more common than thought

July 15, 2019

This article examines information on rape and rape investigation resulting from analysis of backlogged rape kits. In Cleveland, nearly 20% of CODIS hits “pointed to a serial rapist — giving the Cleveland investigators leads on some 480 serial predators to date.” That city and Detroit have been most aggressive at analyzing, investigating, and prosecuting from their backlogs. In general, however, a continuing problem is “law enforcement’s abiding skepticism of women who report being raped” — especially those who don’t fit the criteria of a “righteous victim.”

Discipline arbitration 50/50 in Minnesota

June 24, 2019

Police executives are sometimes frustrated when their disciplinary actions are overturned in arbitration. In Minnesota since 2014, 46% of 37 law enforcement officers who were fired and elected arbitration had their dismissals reversed and replaced with lesser punishment, as reported here. That rate compares to 43% for non-LE employees eligible for discipline arbitration. Union attorneys and municipal officials have different perspectives on the situation, while arbitrators say each case is decided on its merits.

Everyone has struggles

May 30, 2019

The police chief in Kenyon, Minnesota doesn’t fit the hardened, stoic stereotype. He’s open about his own difficult childhood and emotional struggles — “This is an awesome career field to hide in if you want to help people and not deal with your own stuff.” His small agency goes farther than most to help residents in need, as reported here. Officers “take in stray animals and take care of them with money raised from people living in the community until the animals are adopted. Bikes lined up in front of the station are donated and free to anyone who needs one. A well-stocked food shelf is just inside the station’s front door, which is always unlocked.”

Elder fraud

March 8, 2019

U.S. authorities announced a year-long “largest-ever” elder fraud crackdown resulting in criminal and civil charges against 260 defendants for defrauding more than 2 million victims out of $750 million, as reported here. The total annual loss to elder Americans is estimated at $3 billion. The investigation was aided by Europol and police in several individual countries, with “alleged fraudsters charged criminally and extradited from Canada, the Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Poland.” An additional 600 U.S.-based “money mules” who helped transfer funds were identified, most receiving warning letters rather than charges because they didn’t realize they were facilitating scams.

Bike fatalities up

February 11, 2019

Bike fatalities in 2016 were the highest since 1990, with 835 deaths, according to this article. One contributing factor could be the 50% increase over time in the number of people commuting to work on bicycles. Interestingly, though, several cities with the highest rates of biking to work — Portland, Minneapolis, DC, San Francisco, Seattle — had among the lowest fatality rates. The highest bike fatality rates were in Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Jacksonville.

K-9 audit in St. Paul

January 5, 2019

Following several accidental bites, an audit has concluded that “Systemic issues with training, supervision and record-keeping plagued the St. Paul police K-9 unit … and partly contributed to attacks on innocent bystanders,” as reported here. The review found that handlers often self-trained, scored their own training performance, and were inconsistent in issuing verbal warnings to suspects. Recommendations include closer supervision, better performance data, and “developing more arrest options officers can use instead of deploying a K-9 for human apprehension; using time, distance, cover and options to slow human-dog encounters; and emphasizing the canine’s primary purpose as a locating tool.”

Disabilities app

November 1, 2018

Police in Minnesota and Ohio have started using an app that alerts them when they are near a person wearing a disabilities “beacon,” as reported here. Importantly, “Users have complete control over the information accessible to police and first responders. Their profile data can include basic personal details, as well as potential deescalation tactics, possible triggers and emergency contact numbers. The information is only available to public safety officers within the 80-foot radius, and it cannot be stored.” Currently, 1,500 families have created profiles on the “Vitals” app.

Transit agencies & homelessness

October 27, 2018

This article reports several examples of cities and transit systems responding to challenges presented by homelessness. Subway stations and other transit facilities are often chosen by homeless people for weather protection and some remain open throughout the night. Philadelphia has brought social services into metro stations and police in Minneapolis have taken the lead in obtaining housing and shelter options for people they encounter.