Citizens to confront crime
Concerned about shootings and emboldened by a recent anti-crime summit, a group of North Side citizens plans to patrol the streets this summer.
The group doesn’t have a name yet, nor does it have funding, but Bishop Richard D. Howell of Shiloh Temple Ministries said plenty of volunteers are ready to walk crime-ridden neighborhoods if it means lowering the crime rate.
“If anything, I just want to see our community tight-knit and amicable with each other,” he said.
The Rev. Jerry McAfee of the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church is among those willing to help, said Howell. McAfee, along with V.J. Smith of MAD DADS and community activist Spike Moss, organized a citizens’ patrol in 2000 shortly after 11-year-old Kevin Brewer was fatally shot.
This time it wasn’t a specific shooting that galvanized the patrol but a safety summit held by Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau last month where citizens pledged to help confront the crimes head-on. Police put up a map showing crime hot spots in neighborhoods and at intersections.
The patrols will be friendly and engaging, said Howell, not confrontational.
“We’re prepared to go out on the street and shake hands,” he said. “This is a very friendly operation to keep people safe on the street.”
MATT McKINNEY • @_mattmckinney
New police chief set to start
The City Council voted to hire Rosemount Police Chief Eric Werner and will formally approve it Monday.
“He has very, very strong credentials,” City Administrator Al Madsen said. “He’s highly respected.”
Werner has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience, working for the Burnsville Police Department before being named chief in Rosemount in 2012. He will start in Maple Grove’s top spot June 9 and be officially sworn in June 16, replacing David Jess, who is retiring at the end of May.
The city received 43 applicants and interviewed six candidates, Madsen said.
It’s not the only west metro city with a new police leader.
In April, Robbinsdale named Jim Franzen its chief. And in Minnetonka, Jeff Sebenaler will replace Mark Raquet, who is also retiring.