MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department said the police chief and mayor made the decision early Sunday morning to start staffing large events with extra officers carrying extra weapons.
“These officers with additional resources are here not to scare or to intimidate people. They’re here to help preserve safety and to defend against the unthinkable,” police spokesperson John Elder said.
Elder said the department is using some specially-trained officers from units like the SWAT team to staff large events, like Sunday’s Twins game, as an extra safety measure following two mass shootings in the U.S. in two days. Those extra officers are carrying long guns.
“We understand some people may be uncomfortable even with police officers walking around with additional equipment, and we respect that,” Elder said.
He is encouraging those people to talk to the officers, ask questions and start a conversation about public safety and security.
“Come up and talk to us. We’re fathers, wives, brothers, sisters. We’re just the same as everybody else,” Sargent Kevin Angerhofer said.
Some people at the Twins game on Sunday saw the officers as a reminder of the potential dangers that could happen in a public place.
“It’s scary. Just the thought that they have to carry weapons like that and our safety is that much in danger, that’s scary,” Twins fan Karen Doehling said.
Others see the officers’ presence as a sense of security.
“Yeah, it’s probably a good thing,” Twins fan Jake Erie said.
Elder said he could not comment on how many officers will be at specific events or when and where they might be placed downtown. He said he wasn’t sure how long the department will keep up this increased security. He said the specially trained officers will be at events where a large number of people are gathering.