Minneapolis police sergeant hits streets to help homeless during high temps

If you were outside on Saturday, you were probably sweating.

An Excessive Heat Warning was in effect in the Twin Cities Metro as temps across the state moved into the high-80s and 90s.

Being outside in these hot temperatures can be unpleasant and downright dangerous – especially when you’re homeless. But one member of the Minneapolis Police Department has made it his life’s mission to make sure these folks are taken care of during these hot summer days.

Minneapolis Police Sergeant Grant Snyder does things a little differently. You won’t find him working from a squad car (he drives an off-road vehicle) and his focus is on a population many don’t see: The homeless, who are trying to find some relief on a scorching summer day. 

“It’s hard to cool down even when you sit in the shade,” one man said.

“This is a survival mission,” says Sgt. Snyder. “We want to make sure that people are as resourced as they can be, we want to make sure they have that life-saving water and hydration.”

Sgt. Snyder is out in the streets of Minneapolis every day. Here, he’s known as “Sarge.” 

“People count on the fact that whether it’s a good day or a bad day, whether it’s hot or it’s cold - whatever. If it’s raining, we’re going to show up, we’re going to be out there.”

He heads the MPD’s Homeless and Vulnerable Population Initiative put in place just over a year ago.

“That’s really my job, to go out build relationships, connect [with] people on a day like today when we’re providing food and water and different things like that.”

It can be trying work.

“Got some heroin or a little bit of blood in it, something like that,” said Sgt. Snyder, inspecting a used needle.

But, his dedication doesn’t go unnoticed, especially on a day like Saturday.

“Good thing you guys came up we were on our last bottle of water we were sharing it,” one person told him.

On the weekends, it’s a family affair.

“He’s really been an inspiration for our whole family, and for others around him to just stop and see people and not continue to walk past,” said his wife, Melanie Snyder.

And while days like Saturday are about the simple things, you see through Sgt. Snyder’s eyes the bigger picture. These acts of compassion add up. 

Because this is a fairly new initiative, there is not a budget to buy things like water or snacks Sgt. Snyder uses on a daily basis. To keep him supplied, his wife Melanie has started a nonprofit. If you'd like to donate, you can click here.