Starting Thursday, Minneapolis residents can expect to see the increased presence of Minnesota State Troopers on city streets.
That's because the Minnesota State Patrol has joined the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in an effort to reduce violent crime in Minneapolis "and surrounding communities."
They will be supporting Minneapolis Police Department, which has seen a significant reduction in serving officers since the murder of George Floyd, and whose trust problems with the public was laid bare in a recent Minnesota Department of Human Rights that found probable cause the department had engaged in racist, discriminatory practices for at least a decade.
Officer headcount in Minneapolis has reduced by around 300 since the civil unrest that followed Floyd's killing by then MPD officer Derek Chauvin, and while police funding has recently been boosted by Mayor Jacob Frey and the city council, guaranteeing higher pay and bonuses for officers, Frey and interim MPD chief Amelia Huffman asked for help from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
The spike in gun crime and homicides seen in 2021 has continued into 2022, with homicides keeping pace with last year, though there has been a reduction in the number of carjackings in the city since a peak in November
The BCA has already been increasing its presence in the Twin Cities since early April, deploying a "violent crime response team" to "pursue known suspects in homicides, shootings and other gun-related crimes," find people with felony warrants for violent crimes, and pledged more forensic science personnel for violent crime investigations in Minneapolis.
It has diverted staff from other casework to assist in the metro during the summer months, but will return to regular operations in September "absent additional funding from the state Legislature."
The State Patrol meanwhile will start Thursday "a visible patrol operation in Minneapolis" in high crimes area of the city, with State Patrol Chief Col. Matt Langer saying it will provide three additional patrols a week in areas identified by the City of Minneapolis.
This will comprise four troopers in two squad cars, with the city paying for this enhanced presence through the summer.
It will also continue its Highway Enforcement for Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) patrols to crack down on speeding across the metro, and will "increase its emphasis in various metro communities on stopping street racing."
Other state, federal agencies getting involved
It's the latest move being take by state and federal authorities to focus on crime in the Twin Cities.
Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger announced that his office would take on extra work prosecuting violent crime cases, including pursuing all carjacking prosecutions as federal crimes, which carry higher sentenced.
And on Thursday, Attorney General Keith Ellison was joined by the county attorneys from Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka to call on the Legislature to pass Ellison's supplemental budget request that would increase capacity for criminal prosecutions in Minnesota.
Meanwhile Gov. Tim Walz announced another $4 million of American Rescue Plan funding towards fighting violent crime. This includes $1 million to the BCA to expand its capacity, $1 million to the State Patrol to provide additional aviation support in a city whose residents have been plagued by the drone hovering helicopters, and $2 million towards victims of crime support programs.