A $300,000 plan to pay overtime for eight police officers and one supervisor to boost enforcement in the city’s crime-plagued neighborhoods in north and south Minneapolis should add muscle to the city’s 911 response and to shots-fired calls, city leaders said Wednesday.
The plan, unveiled by Mayor Betsy Hodges and Police Chief Janeé Harteau at a City Hall news conference, comes amid a 3.4 percent rise in violent crime citywide so far this year and a series of high-profile shootings and homicides in north Minneapolis in July.
The officers will work 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week, with four officers and one supervisor headed to north Minneapolis and four more officers headed to south. The North Side officers will respond to shots-fired calls and, when needed, to top-priority 911 calls. A city report this year showed that 911 response times in the Fourth Precinct were taking longer than usual.
The officers on their way to south Minneapolis will work in “hot spots,” which change each week as the department responds to recent crime trends.
Just two weeks ago, Harteau and Hodges walked north Minneapolis neighborhoods in a public show of support for residents of the Fourth Precinct after a bloody start to the month in which two people were killed and three wounded in a series of shootings.
Hours after the chief and mayor appeared, three women were shot multiple times in a North Side back yard. All survived, but the shootings added to residents’ frustration with crime rates so far this year.
Harteau on Wednesday said violent crime had dropped citywide 26 percent in the past two weeks.
“We’re having an impact,” she said.
The department has struggled this summer with one of its smallest forces in at least a decade, just 779 sworn officers. New officers are in training stages, but they won’t join the force for a few more weeks.
Harteau said 26 new officers will hit the street in August. An additional 27 will join the department in September. She said the force should number 850 to 860 by the end of the year.