An "extraordinary spike" in gun violence and other violent crimes in the Twin Cities has prompted the formation of a task force to investigate the crimes.
U.S. Attorney of Minnesota Erica MacDonald announced the task force, called Twin Cities Violent Crime Task Force, on Wednesday.
“This increase in violence, particularly the shootings, is unacceptable and it must end – that is why I am launching a new Twin Cities Violent Crime Task Force to help turn the tide,” MacDonald said in a news release. “The goal of this task force is not to flood our communities with law enforcement, but rather to leverage law enforcement’s collective resources to allow for focused and effective enforcement actions."
The Twin Cities has seen dozens of shootings and other violent crimes in the weeks following the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day. According to the Star Tribune, at least eight people have died and 118 people have been injured in the Twin Cities since May 25, including children who were injured in shootings.
"Bringing safety and security back to our cities requires collaboration, and we need law enforcement, city leaders and community members all working together toward the common goal of bringing an end to this violence," MacDonald said.
The task force will use federal and state resources to assist law enforcement and will serve as a "coordination hub" for intelligence and law enforcement operations to investigate, arrest and prosecute those involved with violent crimes in the Twin Cities, a news release says.
Federal agents and analysts from the FBI, federal ATF, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, police officers from Minneapolis and St. Paul, deputies from the sheriff's offices in Hennepin, Ramsey and Dakota counties, and federal and state prosecutors are part of the task force.
In a Facebook post on the task force, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said "We will provide intelligence expertise to this critical cause, helping the task force pinpoint the people responsible and offering the best ways to disrupt them.
"As always, our goal is to make the streets safer in a way that builds trust between law enforcement and the community," the post added.
The hope is this partnership will maximize intelligence gathering and information sharing to quickly identify suspects involved in violent crimes.
The Star Tribune reports the task force will be stationed at a central command center for at least the next 30 days and then they'll decide whether to continue with their operations.
Anyone with information about the violence in the Twin Cities can report their tips by calling 1-800-225-5324 or submit photos and/or videos online here.