Friday, December 16, 2011

Minneapolis: Big Town with a Big Heart

I've said it before I'll say it again: I love where we live. Even as winter descends upon us and we brace ourselves for bumper-to-bumper snowy commutes, and cold that takes your breath away and freezes the hairs on your face, I love it.

Here's a great example why.

I am on the email list for the Minneapolis Police 5th Precinct. On the other end of this email list are two Crime Prevention Specialists. They work with investigating police to enlist the help of the public to solve crimes.

Yesterday they sent out an email asking for assistance in gathering evidence for a burglary suspect:

On December 13, 2011, a suspected burglar was apprehended in the 3rd Precinct with several items of interest in his possession. One item was a camera that may have been taken in a burglary but we are unable to find a police report on this item. The camera is an Olympus Stylius. There are pictures from Vicksburg, MS of the Union Trench Matthies JJ Woods Brigade Historical Marker, one with a white male and female walking in the trench. If you are the owner of this property, please call Ofc. Goligowski at 612/673-XXXX.
Attached to this email is a document with a picture of the Vicksburg battlefield.
I'm pretty sure the police in my hometown of 7,000 people doesn't do this. Maybe they do, but if so, I would expect that of a police department serving 7,000 people, not of one that serves several hundred thousand. They aren't asking for assistance in solving a murder or an assault, but burglary, which is probably one of the lower priority crimes Minneapolis has to solve every year.

The best part was that a few hours later they had been flooded with so many calls they sent another email out to clarify:

We have been getting numerous calls from people asking if the camera we recoverd is theirs. The photos in the camera were taken in 2011, probably in March, in Vicksburg Mississippi at the Union Trench Battle field. If you weren't at that battle site, this camera is not yours.
Yep, there we go, showing our lack of reading comprehension skills as a public, and I'm sure that fielding all of those calls was frustrating. Yet the possible benefits of getting the public's help outweighed that hassle, and they had still reached out to us.

Earlier this year we were informed that the Crime Prevention Specialist positions in the 5th precinct were on the table to be cut by the city.  Budgets are tight everywhere, and Minneapolis was looking to the police department to be a part of cutting costs. The reason the 5th precinct was selected is because it is one of the safest areas of the city, and the resources in other areas are considered more critical to save.

It's kind of like saying that people who are physically fit don't need to work out. They are physically fit BECAUSE they work out, hello...

Because our two Crime Prevention Specialists have been the faces and voices of the MPD for this area, the public rallied. We showed up at budget meetings, wrote letters to the police chief and mayor and had tangible examples of all the ways the CPS positions have helped to keep this area of the city as safe as it is.

The positions were preserved, and we all got a touching email from the two people whose jobs had just been saved.

Now that's community.

No comments:

Post a Comment