Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis Police are walking the beat on the city’s north side, and it’s a welcomed sight for some residents.
Officers Matt Kaminski and Sokhom Klann spend their shift checking area hotspots.
“Last week I think it was, we had a shooting…they were shooting at each other,” Klann said.
They also make sure businesses are viable.
“Since we’ve been doing it we’ve haven’t had one negative comment. Clearing the sidewalks up a little bit so they’re not loitering outside the business,” Kaminski said.
Their focus is on community policing: engaging people, making them see officers up close and personal.
“That’s probably the best part thing about this – you’re having a conversation with people, and they can actually see more than just the uniform,” Kaminski said.
Kendra, a north side resident, says this closer proximity breeds a sense of safety.
“I feel safe when I see them because it’s too much crime out here,” Kendra said.
And so far it’s paying off. In the two weeks since MPD rolled out its Summer Initiative, the 12 officers dedicated to some of the more active streets on the north side have taken guns and drugs out of the community.
They’ve also made inroads in establishing trust with some of the city’s youngest residents. For kids on Russell Avenue North, getting close and person with police breaks down barriers.
But these seasoned MPD veterans are not fooled; they know they have a lot to do before everyone accepts them.
“You’re going to have those that really want you out here, and you’re going to have those that don’t. And a lot of times the voice that’s heard is the voice of the ones that don’t want you out here,” Kaminski said.
The 12 officers designated for this new beat concentrate on the busiest streets in north Minneapolis: Penn, Lowry and Broadway avenues. They hope to expand their reach during the summer.