Hennepin Co. Sheriff's Office Has Stepped Up While Contract Gets Worked OutBy Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As violent crime went up in Minneapolis last year, the number of police officers went down. So, two months ago: The city gave the police chief money to hire outside help.

The new year came without extra officers on our streets, however. WCCO looked at what happened, and what comes next.

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Following the death of George Floyd, some officers left, others retired and a number went on leave. Minneapolis police have said they need more officers to keep people safe in the city. In mid-November, the city council narrowly approved $500,000 for police to contract with other agencies. Metro Transit said it couldn’t help. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office stepped up.

“With or without a contract, we’re helping the city of Minneapolis combat violent crime every single day,” Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson says his office regularly helps cities in the county; they just don’t get paid extra to do it. And says they’ve continued doing that in Minneapolis, while the contract gets worked out.

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“The attorneys are worried about the indemnification, so both sides are coming to an agreement,” Hutchinson said.

So, what happens to the approved money? A city spokesperson told WCCO the unused money will stay in the city’s contingency fund. Also, Minneapolis police will need to go before the city council again for future approval.

Mayor Jacob Frey said, “We are appreciative of the additional assistance we have been getting from the Sheriff’s office over the last month, including but not limited to the recent successful crack down on carjackings. We are now working through the legal logistics to get a formal contract going into 2021.”

Police tell us law enforcement partners continue to step up.

“We have been doing the work and we’ll continue doing the work until the end of time. The contract is going to help us with extra funding, so we can give more resources. Minneapolis is going to need our help for the next year or probably two,” Hutchinson said.

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WCCO asked if the police department has reached out to any other agencies for assistance. A spokesperson said they’re not disclosing the list of law enforcement agencies that are reviewing draft contracts.

Jennifer Mayerle