String of murders prompts increased patrols in downtown Minneapolis

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Calling Minneapolis the heart and soul of the region, Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson is dedicated to making people feel safe downtown.

So, after three murders since the end of May, the sheriff is stepping up, assigning a dozen deputies and a pair of sergeants to patrol the downtown corridor this weekend and next during the height of the popular summer season.

“I’m sworn to protect and serve everybody in Hennepin County, and right now, I think downtown Minneapolis needs a little extra help,” he said.

The manpower will join forces with MPD Friday and Saturday nights to provide a more visible and proactive law enforcement presence.

“People who choose to go down there and shoot each other and shoot innocent victims… our job down there is to protect people enjoying themselves and the businesses downtown, and we’re going to be as fair and impartial as we can be,” he said. 

The sheriff reports his office has some overtime money in the budget to cover the additional costs.

Attorney Joe Tamburino, who chairs the Downtown Neighborhood Association, applauded news of the additional manpower.

“I think Sheriff Hutch is doing a great job. A dozen officers downtown is excellent.”

Tamburino reports that his organization’s safety committee met Tuesday, and the focus was on the recent violence, including last weekend’s murder near the busy intersection of 1st and Washington avenues. There are still no arrests in that case.

In the long run, Tamburino wants more officers across the board. 

Mayor Jacob Frey agrees, saying his upcoming budget proposal will include the necessary funding. 

“We want to make sure that we are delivering the correct resources to our police department so they can do their jobs and do them well,” Frey said.

Long-term, Mayor Frey says he supports Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s request to hire additional personnel in next year’s budget. MPD is asking for 33 new positions. That includes 10 investigators, 18 community outreach officers (beat cops) and 5 others for a new traffic unit. The Mayor plans to formally unveil his 2020 budget proposal next month.

In the meantime, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is pitching in to help. That includes Sheriff Hutchinson, who plans to work the nighttime, downtown beat in the days ahead.