MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s been doing a nice job social distancing, but there are ways to report large gatherings to cities and police departments.
In Bloomington, parks remain open, and a newly formed Parks Response Team actively monitors them.READ MORE: Xcel Energy Seeks To Hike Electricity Rates By About 20%
The PRT consists of about 15 city employees.
“They could be saying hi to our park users, seeing how everyone’s doing or educating them on some of the guidelines we’d like to see people continuing to do,” said Alison Warren, the city’s recreation manager.
To report a violation, there are several ways to contact the PRT.
- MESSAGE LINE: 952-563-4773 (include park name, date and time of call, description of activity)
- EMAIL: PRT@BloomingtonMN.gov
- ONLINE FORM: blm.mn/park-form
- AFTER HOURS (7 p.m. – 11 a.m.): 952-563-8811
In two weeks, Warren says there have been 50 calls to respond to.
Minneapolis encourages people to reach out to the non-emergency 311 line if they see questionable social distancing.
On nearly 200 calls, no citations have been issued.
In the much smaller Stillwater, police have been called out on less than 20 reports of stay-at-home violations. They haven’t issued any citations.READ MORE: 3 More Rapid COVID-19 Testing Locations Open Tuesday In Inver Grove Heights, Wadena, Hibbing
“It’s an educational thing,” said Ted Kozlowski, Stillwater’s mayor. “They’re like, ‘Hey come on guys, get out of here. Let’s separate.'”
Kozlowski asks Stillwater residents reporting violations to call 911, though that is not the norm everywhere in Minnesota.
In Edina, the city is asking for voluntary compliance. In a statement, a spokesperson said:
We do not want to overwhelm public safety by asking Police Officers to respond to reports of group play. Please do not feel you need to report your neighbors. We have reassigned several employees to serve as park ambassadors, looking out for this sort of thing. If they see lack of social distancing, they will ask the group to comply with the Governor’s order and break up play. If you absolutely must make a report, call the Police Department’s non-emergency line: 952-826-1610.
As of Sunday, there have been:
49 calls to City parks
- 44 were handled by park ambassadors
- 5 were handled by police officers as the calls came in after hours for the ambassador program
- Officers assisted park ambassadors twice with resistant groups
10 calls to school playgrounds/fields
- 6 were handled by school staff
- 4 were handled by police officers as the calls came in after hours for the school staff
- Officers assisted school staff once with a resistant group
There’s also a hotline with the State Emergency Operations Center at 651-793-3746 to report stay-at-home concerns and violations. To email, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.MORE NEWS: Northern Minnesota Man Arrested After Allegedly Assault 2 People With Hand Saw
The SEOC will assist in putting you in touch with the proper local authorities.