Robert Olson on Minneapolis crime and community relations

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Tuesday night marked the first shift for 12 state troopers who've come to Minneapolis to help the city's police force handle a spike in violent crime. Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson joins to discuss.

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(00:00:00) From Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Perry fanelli Richfield base Best Buy is Raising its earnings estimate for the second quarter and the coming fiscal year the Consumer Electronics retailer site strong sales increasing profits and cost controls Best Buy now expect second quarter earnings to be 10 cents higher than its previous estimate and higher than analysts readings Abbott Northwestern which is building a new heart hospital has reached a deal with the technology corporation Siemens that could say the Twin Cities Hospital at least 35 million dollars over the next ten years. Abbott. Northwestern will have exclusive use of new cardiac medical equipment made by Siemens Medical Solutions while Siemens we use a hospital as a development site for new technology. The Heart Hospital is scheduled to open in 2005 the Episcopal Church USA's House of Bishops has approved a document acknowledging same-sex blessings do take place. The church is nearing the end of its two-week long National Convention in Minneapolis. The statement was part of a larger resolution calling for the creation of liturgical rites for the blessing of Mid same gender relationships that section of the measure was removed before the remainder passed on a Voice vote Minnesota Bishop James. Jelinek said yesterday, he was in favor of passing the resolution intact including the creation of liturgical rites. I'm one of those who thinks that we've talked about talking about blessing of same-sex relationships for a long time and we haven't really talked about them jelinek also voted in favor of the controversial election of Gene Robinson as the church's first openly gay Bishop the same gender resolution now heads to the house of deputies, which must also approve it partly to mostly sunny skies across the state today will see high temperatures from the mid 70s in the arrowhead to the 80s elsewhere right now in the Twin Cities. The skies are sunny and the temperature is 79 degrees. I'm proven Ellie, Minnesota Public Radio. All right. Thanks Perry. It's six minutes now past 11. And good morning. Welcome to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten any apples police chief. Robert Olson says that citizens played a key role in helping police. Crack the D. Ahsha Hayes Lee case last one month twice last week rather 20 month old D'ass ich dich was shot and critically wounded when bullets were fired into her home in North Minneapolis this week just a few days after the shooting police announced the arrest of three men in connection with the shooting and chief Olson says the case may Mark a turning point in police-community relations in Minneapolis. Well, the chief is on the line today. He's joined us this hour to talk about the hazily case police community relations and other issues facing the Minneapolis Police Force. And if you'd like to join our conversation, we invite you to give us a call or Twin City area number is 6512276 thousand 6512276 thousand our toll-free line is 802 for 228286512276 thousand or 1-800 to for to 2828 Our Guest is Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson Chief Olson. Thanks for joining us this morning. Well, thank you Gary. You were quoted as saying that the city may have reached a Tipping Point in police-community relations. What did you mean by that? (00:03:13) Well, I mean, I don't think I tied it directly to commute police-community relations, even though I think we've been doing a lot of progress with that and as you know, we've got a lot of things going on right now to work to enhance that even better. But what I was talking about was that that it seems like that there's been a higher level of Community Connection to the police when these crimes occur in our neighborhoods. I mentioned tyche Edwards last year was I mean, we got terrific cooperation and here we are in as you know with this current case. Real tough neighborhood for us in a tough neighborhood with relationships, you know, we had a bit of a meili earlier this year down there and and so for us to have been able to get in there canvas immediately with police officers and some of the community members I know mad dad's was there to work with us getting to those individual houses and citizens, you know, they didn't do the geez. I wasn't there. I didn't see anything people who actually came out and talked to us even some folks who maybe have been in some issues with us in the past came forward and talk to us and we were able to take that information plus the excellent investigative work done by our officers in the homicide unit and our cert team their fourth precinct and and bring it to from our perspective a successful conclusion with the arrest and charging of the individuals We Believe are responsible for that (00:04:45) tragedy. Why do you suppose the improved collaboration? (00:04:50) Well, I think it certainly a little bit had to do. We're talking about a 20 month old and not the not the shooting of a you know, 26 time Gangster certainly that had something to do with it. But but I think that you know, the very good sort of you know, when people talk about Jordan and and Jordan is it it's a good neighborhood and it's far safer than it was five six years ago. And there's the these good folks down there that don't want these these thugs you marijuana dealers and others that are out there all the time and and we're sensing that there's more probability on their part to cooperate with us to kind of step up front and have the courage to say what they're seeing and to call us when they see it happening so that we can work with them to try and make the quality of life and their neighborhood better (00:05:41) you get the sense similar change is occurring in some of the other neighborhoods where there have been problems over the years. (00:05:48) Well, I think we're making good progress and across the city. We've been reaching out to our Latino Community. For example on the South Side. A lot of those issues are language barrier stuff tonight at seven o'clock. I'm going to be down to fifth Precinct and we're going to be graduating our second Latino Citizens Academy, which was done primarily in Spanish frankly to educate the community and have allowed them to talk to us about what our job is so that we can work closely with them. We've been doing some of that in the Somali community. So we've been making strides across the board but it's a never-ending job that we just have to stay on top (00:06:24) of go back to this arrest in the the Asha case doesn't arrest in a case like that have any kind of deterrent effect in the sense that it may give would be troublemakers pause. (00:06:39) I think it does because some of the activity that's going on in some of these few hot spots that we have around the city. Mostly these gangster and drug dealers type of people. I think it it does. Send a good message that hey, you know, the really is somebody watching what we're doing and those neighbors really do care and they're willing to call I think in this particular case one of the messages that I think is going to it's going to be helpful with dealing with those folks is the fact that we've charged and if you noted this morning, there was an announcement. We we did make a fourth arrest in that thing. And now that individual has been charged for, you know, basically hiding out one of the culprits and and the fact that we're going to be pursuing those folks who want to cooperate with the bad guys or not. Tell what they know or give us false information about it that they're going to get roped into this as well. So we hope that sends a message to some of those hangers-on and other characters. It seemed to be around the scenes of these violent crimes (00:07:38) are talking this hour with Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson about some of the law enforcement issues facing the city. If you would like to join our conversation, give us a call or Twin City area number is 6512276 thousand. Six five one two two seven six thousand or toll free line is 1-800-222-8477 6,000 or 1-800 to for to to 828. Of course, the state has assigned 12 state troopers to the city to help you folks out. Is that going to make it much difference? (00:08:13) Well, I think it's a you know in the bigger scheme of things. This is just a short term thing. So in the long term probably not but but in the short term, you know, we've been doing initiatives as we have every year frankly and will continue to do we started early this year in May using our resources partnering with the probation department. The Sheriff's Office of State gang Strike Force the federal authorities ATF has got five agents that they've freed up for a few hours almost nightly that they're going to be coming in. So so we've been doing these things all along and as we got A towards August here. Frankly. We're just a little bit of running out of gas. Maybe that's a good way to say that because of some of the budget issues and stuff that is taken a toll a little bit our ability to sustain that. And so what the these 12 Troopers have done is that at least for a full shift? We're going to have six six folks on the North side where we have a few hotspots as everybody knows we also have some on the south side and there's another six that are pairing up with our officers. So this is this is also going to free up some of the resources. We've already been using to plug into some of those other time frames with the whole idea of keeping all of these these characters on edge is where we're going to be and what we're going to be doing. So in the short term as we go through the end of the summer and get into September the help from our our state Partners is going to be very helpful (00:09:45) budget issues aside Chief Olson how many more police officers would it take in Minneapolis to? To get a handle on the drug dealers the gangsters in the (00:09:56) rest. Well, you know, that's that's often a simplistic question that people ask and you know, the police are the folks that show up when all of the other social structures have failed to make a change in society. And so to say how many cops does it take to you know, I mean, you know, we could put you know, one round the clock on every other corner and he's hot spots and we'd certainly suppress some of their activity but that doesn't get to the heart of really what the issue is in in in this is about hopelessness and a disproportionate a number of minority men who have found solace in the gangs and and and and not having work and not having education and and we could talk about this for a long long time. But the real issue here is is to assess this Flexion frankly of joblessness hopelessness, and and people that that aren't getting the kind of attention at a young age that they need. I mean, that's really what we need to be focusing on. I mean sure I could use a lots more you give me give me a hundred more cops and I'll I'll find about 25 Corners around here. We could we could be a presence but that is not the solution. The solution is we really got to look look back and and see why these gangs some of them seem to be thriving and and and get people to get out of the gang life. (00:11:16) We were talking the other day with City councilmember down Samuels and he seemed to suggest that the city needs to focus on both of those asked both aspects of that problem that yes, you have to address these these long-standing underlying issues no question about it. But at the same time they're probably needs to be more police presence to deal with the folks who are currently committing (00:11:41) crimes. Well, that's true and it's not just a Police Issue either. It's a Issue and in councilmember Samuels is clearly, correct. I mean there are out there in these gangs and some of these folks clearly some incorrigible people who make a living of making life miserable for other folks, you know, and and these are the people that we really do need to focus on I mean and and use all of the resources of the criminal justice system to not only you know, we can try and rehabilitate them. But we also need to try and get some of these folks off the street and frankly there's a few of these folks, you know, when they when they commit a crime at a level where we can put them in the penitentiary, you know, we just need to keep their long as we can because they've shown by their behavior that they're not about to change their stripes and and and there's not much else we can do with them. And so you're correct in that is that realm that we need to continue to focus our law enforcement resources on those folks and believe me we intend to do that working with our partners, but Yeah, it is a to two-pronged approach that needs to happen (00:12:49) is at this point Minneapolis a pretty safe City. (00:12:53) Absolutely. It is Gary. We you know, we've done a lot here over the last five six years seven years and code for has been in place for five years and and and we're still down at the reported levels of crime that were being reported back in the 19 late 1960s. So so we've done a lot to bring us back from where I think a lot of us remember and 95 and 96 when the gang shootings and the salts and thefts were just going through the roof. We brought that down and I think that's a testament to a great community and a great Police Department all working together here to deal with a lot of these issues. But but now we still need to sustain those kinds of activities so that we don't go back up. But you're you you're absolutely right at least the Answer is yes Minneapolis for major city is a safe City and we should be proud of that. (00:13:52) We're talking this hour with Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson. Again. If you have a question for the chief, give us a call six five. One two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand. Our toll-free line is 1-800-543-8242 neapolis. Willie. Go (00:14:11) ahead. I think scary and thanks for all your hard work Chief Olson. Hi. Hi, I live on the North side. And and I believe you're doing a good job attacking the violent the violent criminals. I think there's just a few bad apples, but the nuisance crimes are the activity seems pretty widespread. I can drive to work literally every morning and I have women who appear to be prostitutes waving their their arms at me and I have men who appear to be drug dealers nodding their heads and and given me the A sign and it seems to me if there was just a few more undercover agents that they could easily pick these guys off one at a time. So I'm curious about your use of undercover police for the for the more than nuisance crimes. Okay, that's it. Thank you. Will that's a good question actually and this is sometimes I think where we do get into some of the resource issues we prioritize, you know, where we get the best bang for our buck. And we also realize that there are some areas where we just can't be there on a constant. I'm a constant vigil we do however do a lot of undercover our community response teams. Each Precinct has and we've been able to keep in our budget and they're going to be in the budget next year. Those are the folks that do the the stings and it's not just the prostitute on the corner frankly a many times. The the problem is the suburbanite traveler coming into that area to take advantage of their services the oh The supply and demand and so we do undercover not only to pick up these prostitutes, but we also do it to pick up the customers that come in and try and thwart that but some of that nuisance activity like prostitution again, this goes back to all those social issues that's got those people out there in the first place the drug dealers. They're tough one. We work with the community we get where they're at. We come in we sweep. We do different things. They go away for a while seems like they come right back and that's that's just kind of an ongoing challenge for us. But but we're doing our best to try and keep them down as much as (00:16:18) possible back to this conversation. We had the other day with councilmember Samuels and he said one of the things that he finds very frustrating is what amounts to the revolving door and the court system police pick up these fellows take him downtown the right back on the street and over and over the system of the the cycle continues. Do you see that as a big (00:16:38) issue? Well, it's I think it's always been a perennial issue and and but on the same token here, we don't want to just sit and You know, we can all you know, we can all point fingers at each other, I guess and say they're not doing their job or they're not doing theirs and I don't even want to go there but but there is some issues with a lot of these folks that get involved in minor things and the fact that they don't if they get cited or even get booked and they don't show up for court and they're back out doing different things and that's kind of been an ongoing thing. And I think a lot of it has to do with certainly with resources all through the criminal justice system, and and we need to be more Vigilant in trying to work out. Immediate consequences and ways and I'm not just saying go to jail or whatever but you pick up somebody on a nuisance thing. We need to have more opportunities for those folks, you know the next day. They're not going to jail. Maybe they're out there in that same neighborhood was one of those yellow or orange jackets on picking up trash along there. And then again, it also goes back to okay. Why did this - is person been picked up in the first place. And so things like project right turn which is being done through the African American men's project through the county and we're certainly collaborating with that one. Where are they? They want to find some of these folks. I think the number I heard was like 200 of them and to point them in the right direction and and we certainly support that but on the same token people who don't want to accept that kind of help and don't want to get a better life for themselves and willing to take that extra step there needs to be consequences all through our criminal justice system when the police actually do get in there get a good arrest good report and a good George gets filed on them something needs to happen. (00:18:24) Bob your question, please. Hello. Yes. You're on the air. (00:18:28) Okay, I'm pretty disgusted with the Minneapolis Police and I definitely don't feel safe in my neighborhood. I live by powder on Park and I frequently hear gunshots. I've hit the only run the only times I've had run-ins with the police was they were harassing me. I've never been arrested and I mean on the fourth of July, we had a huge fireworks display across the street until 1:00 in the morning two nights. I couldn't get any police to come. There are three police drove down the neighborhood the same night and we tried to flag them down and they wouldn't stop. I I saw a couple of kids blew off a large gun at 38th and Chicago a 44 magnum I later found out and it took the police 20 minutes to get there after 911 was called I call 9-1-1 and what I get. Oh, it's you. again So I will no longer call 9-1-1. Okay, I don't rely on the police because the police are not reliable. We got police on the force that if they had any other job, they would have committed crimes but they weren't charged and they're still on the force one of the head of the sex crime division cost the city a million and a half dollars. How do you expect people to have respect for the police? Well, I certainly appreciate your concerns that Bob but the and I have to tell you the Fourth of July was a pretty tough night for us and there was a lot of Stack Up of calls and in a lot of this goes to some of the resources that we have and the fireworks down there in Powderhorn were there was a lot of them and we did a lot of scrambling to try and have as many officers as we could in the area because of the crowds and the things that we're going on so they were very busy and we're sorry if we missed on the one call that that you wanted but we've got a very dedicated Police Department particularly down there that third precinct those folks They really come together when they have to and again, we we're doing the best we can with what we got. (00:20:29) Bob said that when he called 911 he was kind of greeted with. Oh you're the pest is on the line again. Is that (00:20:37) typical know that that really isn't and and we always encourage it and he said and especially if it's an issue regarding 9/11. They don't feel that they were treated properly, you know those 911 calls when you call in everything is tape-recorded and everything else. And so if a citizen does have concerns about how they were treated there or even with an individual police officer, you know, we have several mechanisms. We want them to call us and tell us and we'll we'll look into it. And if somebody did something wrong will bye guys we'll deal with that and but we can't deal with things that we don't know about and so on that particular one, I did encourage encourage Bob to drop a line or get a note down here to me and my officer in Internal Affairs or even the director of communications and We'll look up that tape and find out if that operator was on a (00:21:26) line should Minneapolis citizens feel confident that if a police officer does something wrong that they'll actually be disciplined taken care of or will the whole thing. Just be covered over (00:21:38) those things are never covered over and as I said before, you know, you have to know about things in order to deal with them. So we encourage actually citizens to call us when they feel they've been wronged by an officer many times. They haven't been in fact the officer doing what he was supposed to do the citizen just didn't understand the law that can happen many many times. But but we're not naive either and we have we have over a thousand employees and occasionally one of them will get out of line and we need to know about it and we have mechanisms. I don't have in front of me the numbers but people don't hear about the fact that we routinely suspend officers. We we terminate them frankly when they when they do something really bad. We counsel them. We haven't A warning system that even if they haven't been found the sustained on the complaint, but if they just get more complaints for example, then than the norm they immediately go into a process where they're counseled and talked to by their Commander we offer them help if they needed but but I'm kind of know hey what's going on here? And and what we found is by doing a lot of this proactive stuff the numbers of complaints against the officers reduce or stop altogether. So we've got a lot of mechanisms in place and citizens shouldn't feel that. Oh it isn't going to do any good, you know, and whether it's how they were treated or if they think their property wasn't given back to him that kind of stuff. We have a very good mechanism. Actually. It's a national model for discipline that we use here in (00:23:11) Minneapolis. You say that citizens shouldn't feel that way. They should should they should report things and feel like something's gonna be taken care of. Do you think people actually feel that way? (00:23:23) Well, I think you know some do some don't and of course you kind of going to you're not going to make everybody happy. Sometimes when the facts come out, you know, we find out jeez, you know that the officer wasn't really out of line here. Actually, the caller might have been a little out of line and that particular incidents can happen or what the officer did is right and proper and you should have been arrested and you should have been handcuffed and you should have been taken downtown and and barked so that that can happen to and and I mean we're not trying to please people. We we have a professional thing that police officers have to do here and we have a job we have to do and we want to do it with courtesy professionalism and respect and if we didn't use those three things we need to hear about it so we can correct that behavior (00:24:05) Linda are your question, (00:24:06) please? I was wondering if the speaker could talk a little about what hotspots what neighborhoods are particular hot spots and the cities and what we as individuals in a community can do great question Linda. I think you know, I hate to give it, you know, just total specific boundaries, but there are some areas in our Phillips and Central neighborhoods that and we had earlier caller talk about Powderhorn. I mean if we look in that area there's a there's a few spots under where we're currently looking as it relates to some of the gang activity on the South Side. We've got we've got about three gangs that seemed to be in broiled in a little bit of a drug Turf battle type of thing and and and we're dealing with that on the North side. There's some areas certainly of Jordan but you can go up North and get up there around darling. There's a there's a group of folks. It seemed to be bent on doing that same kind of behavior. And so we've been focusing there. We need citizens to do even as frustrating as it might be but when you see something that isn't right, you know, there's three guys back in the alley their hand and stuff back and forth to each other or or you see a big bulge. It's summertime, you know, and the guys got something covered up there you're our eyes and ears and and and maybe there's a squad car clothes and maybe there isn't but we need you to call us and and and don't feel like you can if you're in doubt, give us a call just say hey, there's three guys back in my alley. It might be 15 minutes before a car can get back and take a look at that. But at least we got it. It came across the MDT and the officers at work that area know there were there were three people there and they can take a look at that that (00:25:49) neighborhood. Do you advise chief that folks in the neighborhoods confront these these (00:25:54) characters know I don't know it's fine different. I suppose if you have an organized neighborhood block Patrol group that's being monitored and and actually kind of trained by I know Don Samuels was getting volunteers to walk up there where we're going to work closely with that group that's walking just to give you know, give them tips about how not to not to get themselves hurt, but for an individual citizen to just run outside until 3 Dope Dealer standing on the corner one of which you may have a pistol in his pocket there, you know, the dada dada no. No, we don't it. That's our job. We just need them to let us know when and where these folks are doing their thing and that goes for you know, there's some person on a corner looks like they're prostituting themselves or whatever. We don't you go out and do it. Let us know so that we can send the an officer someone to go and take a look at that (00:26:46) guy in this hour with Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson. He has joined us to talk about some of the law enforcement issues facing the City of Minneapolis get if you'd like to join our conversation. Give us a call six five. One two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand toll-free line is And we'll get to more of your questions here in just a minute or so picture a place where the latest news from the Minnesota Arts world is ready and waiting to be consumed. We're in depth Arts reports from Years Gone by I haven't disappeared Into The Ether but beckon you to revisit them or hear them for the first time a place with a capacity to connect you to hundreds of Arts organizations throughout the region. This place is real it's called The Word of Mouth web page and it can be found at Minnesota Public Radio dot-org by clicking programs weather forecast for the state of Minnesota senator partly sunny today with a high temperature mid-70s in the Northeast mid 80s across the rest of the state tonight clear to partly cloudy with an overnight low mid 50s to the low 60s and then tomorrow kind of a repeat of today partly cloudy with a high in the 80s as for the extended forecast right now Saturday and Sunday basically partly cloudy and Mild all weekend though. There is a continuing Ants that a thunderstorm might break up when Sunday forecast sunny today with a high in the low 80s tonight partly cloudy with a low in the lower 60s and then tomorrow partly cloudy with a high in the middle 80s currently in the Twin Cities. We have a sunny sky and 79 degrees Our Guest this our Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson who has joined us this hour to talk about some of the law enforcement issues facing the city and Marcus up next with a question for the chief Mark. Go (00:28:35) ahead. Yes, a chief Olson for is all like to say I think you're doing a very good job. I lived in in Jordan neighborhood for six years and I saw some things in that definitely did work and didn't work and it's my understanding that when mayor Giuliani cleaned up New York, and he subscribed to a sociologist Theory called the broken windows Theory and and and in that case he started out going after windshield washers and prostitutes and everybody was screaming. Why aren't you going after drug dealers and murderers and the theory is That if you have a large manufacturing building with Windows and one of the windows get broken, if you don't fix that eventually all the windows will be broken and and I think the simple way to look at some of the problems in Minneapolis. I did live there when helicopters were sent out with spotlights and and please do not allow people to stand on West Broadway. And it really just you know, it just moved the people. They're kind of like cockroaches. They just moved a street over or whatever from the things that I saw that really worked were doubling up street lights and some of the people on the street I lived and they paid an extra five dollars out of their own pocket double up the street lights that worked better than any extra police patrol. I ever saw in criminals don't like light removing pay phones outside of convenience stores. That's another thing the drug dealers like to use and and I've seen those things be done. And the results were phenomenal and and I think it's great that you guys are doubling up. But I think it's been proven that that sometimes at the extra police out there. Don't necessarily work. I think probably the biggest broken window in North Minneapolis that I saw were landlords that are allowed to allow crack houses and people of ill repute to do business out of their buildings (00:30:36) in all right, let's get the comments for could get a comment here from the (00:30:39) chief. Well, thank you Mark. That was an excellent commercial for code for what you're talking about are the very things that there's a foundation of code for and all of the points that you've made we've been recommending and in some cases trying to do over the years. There's nowhere near the number of payphones in this city that there was five six years ago the streetlight issue. I totally agree with you these Folks are like cockroaches. They don't like to be seen in out in the open and when the lights come on they tend to go away and so we have always supported additional Street Lighting in the neighborhood and and that whole broken windows theory is what what community policing is all about and what we've been trying to do here. So thanks for the commercial but we're we are doing those things and that's why the collaboration with the community is so important. (00:31:33) Do you still get a lot of complaints from people that you're picking on picking on community residents specifically black people. (00:31:41) Well, we do get we do get some of that and a lot of it revolves around, you know individual to rest that are made in some of these hot spots and and and you know, we have to be be honest and the fact that in a lot of these hot spots and a lot of these gangs are members of minority groups and so it's a very touchy issue and that's why it's so important that we when we do what we have to do and I think the residents - to do we have to use courtesy professionalism and respect as we're doing it is sometimes when you're in those neighborhoods, you also might be stopping someone who does live there and and we need to be right with them and let them know what we're doing and explain why they were stopped and that sort of thing and frankly. Most people kind of say, well, that's okay as long as you're treated right and and we're making strides in making sure that they get to get treated just the way they should (00:32:35) be. Do you need many many more black police officers to handle these issues. Well, who's that racial tension that in it seems to inevitably (00:32:49) develop. Well, I think that that can go a long way to help but you know, my experience has been and believe me that's a priority for the city. It's a priority for the mayor everything to diversify the 2000 census. Just kind of blew our our goals out of the With the jump in people of color in our city and we're going to do everything we can to be able to maintain a recruiting program that will get that diversity into the police department going into next year and Beyond but having said that you know, frankly police officers are not black or white there blue and and and and and just because we're going to have five more and we'll just use Jordan as an example and we're going to have six more black officers work in Jordan. That's no magic wand as far as relationships. I think it is good and it's positive that we need to do that because it also sends a message to the young people that live in there and and and many of the comments that the Don Samuels made on your program here a couple of days ago as it relates to that. I think Don's right on target with that and and we need to make sure that that happens but that's no magic wand that relationships and everything are suddenly going to get more wonderful because we have more black officers (00:34:04) wreck your question, please (00:34:06) yes. I want to first of all thank Chief Olson. I also live in the Powderhorn neighborhood and sort of contrary to your previous caller. I have had nothing but positive experiences with the police. Thank you. And I've had also positive experiences while I call 9-1-1 so I cannot confirm anything that was previously said, however, I have a question and that is I wonder how the recent changes in concealed carry laws have changed what you do and how you handle gang situations. Now, I don't know that that's necessarily where you'll see the most difference but I'm just wondering how that has changed things. Well on the on the concealed carry, I think the full impact of that it's going to be a while before people start to see that but to get to your question. I haven't changed anything on how our officers respond to people carrying guns. That's a that's a that's a dangerous call for officer person with a gun that comes out on her MDT and until the officer is able to dispel any Alarm that that would ring we haven't changed our training at all. We want them to be safe out there. And you know, if you want to be a concealed carry person and pack a pistol out there and somebody calls on you were going to treat you just like an unknown and and we'll do that. We're starting to see a little bit where I've been made aware anecdotally of some thefts and this is one of the main things that I was and have been in still am afraid about is that as people are allowed to carry these things around. It's no different than a radio or a laptop computer or a telephone. They're getting stolen and lost from them and they're ending up in the hands of folks that we don't want to have them out there. And so I think the jury's still out we'll have to wait and see what happens there. But but more guns in our community is not a good thing. I've always felt the less guns you got in your community the less violence you're going to (00:35:56) have on the other hand there haven't been big shootout so far as we've heard involving people carrying permits or anything it has there been a pretty Have people over reacted to this. (00:36:09) Well, I don't know about overreacted. I personally felt the state law was fine the way it was and and as you know, all the local police Chiefs are a little bit in if that are our ability to know our communities and know who should or shouldn't be packing one of those things out there was taken away and so we're still kind of smart and from that a little bit but I think it's just hasn't been enough time here. We just going to have to see what what happens. We've got some worries and we'll just we'll see what the future (00:36:36) brings Janice your next. Go ahead Place. (00:36:39) Hello. Thanks for taking my call. Chief Olson, I think that you're sincere about improving Community the community's relationship with the with the police. And while there are some wonderful officers like Hassan Gillis. There are some I think that your your your enthusiasm is not transferring down to the force. I'm African-American. I work in the city at an elementary school and I had an encounter with the officer while his reasons for stopping my car. We're legit. There was a taillight out. His treatment of me after that was totally like you said, it was unprofessional and it was very disrespectful and I think more more people than than let on experience that and maybe the reason they don't report it is because they know nothing will happen of it. Nothing will become of it. I hear lots of stories from people. Who have been disrespected or violated by police officers treated in an unprofessional way for no reason but and before I always thought well, they're probably just exaggerating or maybe they it needed to happen or whatever. But I after what happened to me. I just really believe that it is a wife but problem. Well Janice, I think you just reiterated. What I said earlier about our need to have citizen cooperation with those things that thing that the judge you just talked about where you felt you weren't really treated properly. I would hope you would turn around and call somebody about it because I we need to know if we don't know and work with the community on how we're performing out there. We can't put in the mechanisms that are necessary to correct that behavior. And so I'm going to give you a phone number. It's 673307. For that's our Internal Affairs number just tell them the chief gave you that number and you've got a complaint and that way you could you could follow through because I mean if somebody disrespected you Janice that's that's not right. And I know our commanders in the precincts don't want that and you know, if we've got an officer out there that's got an attitude or other problem. We need to hear about it so that we can move forward and correct it so singing for (00:39:06) information number of 612 the area code and 6733074. Is that right? (00:39:12) Yes, that's our Internal Affairs office (00:39:14) talking about this the relationship between the police and the community especially members of minority groups Spike Moss was quoted as saying the other day that fundamentally he doesn't think anything is changing that most crimes unlike the the hazily case most crimes. He says aren't solved because people don't trust the police. Is he on to something? (00:39:40) Well, I I disagree with that a bit certainly there's levels of distrust. I think that it's nowhere near what it was when when Spike and I started our careers because I'm he's right up there with the time on the streets that I have and things have changed an awful lot and and and I'd love to actually try to pull some of those stats out. We we do solve I mean along the same level was across the country. So we're not outside of that but a lot of the offenses frankly in that regard. He's probably right because a lot of these people that get shot and whatnot. They're people that are involved in drug seeking or other behaviors and and they don't even cooperate with us as a victim which makes it pretty hard for us to try and solve and so in that regard spikes really right. There's a lot of people who don't cooperate with us. They walk in the North Memorial or HCMC and they got a bullet hole in there behind or their leg or their Armand and they're pretty vague about what happened to him. Those are tough cases to solve unless we can get an eyeball witness that'll help us identify then, you know, then we get a suspect but the victim won't identify them. And so we have a lot of those kind of problems with spikes. He's probably right in those regards but where we have an incident where the community does come together and da she is there of a classic example where the community did come forward did give us in help give us the help that we need. We were able to bring that at least from the police side to the closure. And and I think if we can get more citizens to step up to the plate and do that are clearance rates on those crimes where we have a victim that needs and wants to be have Justice that will even do (00:41:30) better Jamie. I your (00:41:32) question. Yeah. Good morning. Chief Olson was wondering if you could give us some direction on a problem that we've had with what a homicide Minneapolis that Place on October 14th of 2001 and this is an elderly Somali man who was beaten at a bus stop and initially the police investigators were had problems translating information from Witnesses Hispanic Witnesses and others and they did not investigate it as an assault hours of murder the FBI did step in and it was declared a hate crime and a murder and since then nothing has happened and nothing has been said there hasn't been a plea for public information more witnesses have step forward. They've been interviewed in the local television and also by the FBI and I was wondering what can we do to get the Minneapolis Police to try to find the person who assaulted this elderly man who died a few days later in the hospital? Well, you're you're talking about an active case and I'm familiar with that one. Were you your comments about the the FBI? I never heard that and I don't believe that's accurate that they've declared that a homicide. But but I know it's an open case and this is just another case where a better citizen cooperation could it could help I think if we can find an eyeball witness that may have seen what happened to that to that person and and you should also know that since then in fact at that time and and later we is established in the Somali Community a Somali liaison person who speaks the language and is now working very closely with the Somali community so that we have better communication. We also have an individual in our Spanish outreach program who's also acting as late as on so we made a lot of strides on that and the but this particular case it's still an ongoing open thing and I wouldn't want to comment on the air on it. Yeah, Moe you're next. Thank you for taking my call. My name is Guillermo Perez. And I'm going to member of this of the second class of the Spanish-speaking Academy for the police addict. Yeah, I wanted a couple words to say to the chief. Thank you. Thank you very much for making history. I'll be worried about the Spanish Community. As you already mentioned early tonight is going to be the ceremony and for sure. I would attend that and the second in the second term. I know it's kinda hard to say you for this situation with the budget. But how many Spanish-speaking people police officers you got? We don't know for sure. But we got one Sergeant Giovanni bellinis. The one is conducting the academy and the other fine officers such as the commander of traffic and some of the officers they have been given the class is great, please I beg you don't stop this because the Spanish Community is aware of the fine job during doing Thank you. Mr. Perez. And yes, and I'm going to really enjoy being there tonight. That is one of the issues that has really been a challenge for us. We we utilize a language line. That's a national language line that the officers have a number they can call. It's very cumbersome, but we can we can get some translation services right in the field and we did a study of that in 85% of the use of the line was for Spanish. And so that's why we we were able to establish the Spanish Outreach person who speak Spanish but we still have a real problem with the probably no more than a half a dozen or more of our officers at least have come forward and told us that they do speak Spanish on top of that Academy though for the officers. We have over the last year and a half have been offering to the officers. They come in on their own time, and we have a street Spanish course and and I'm very pleased that I've been told that up to a hundred of our Others have taken advantage of that to come in and try and learn the language so that at least they can at a random entry level try to communicate right on the scene with Spanish-speaking residents. So thank you for your again advertisement for our citizens police academy and and rest assured. We are going to continue to do what we can we're trying to in our diversity hiring identify not just African-Americans, but certainly Latino candidates as (00:46:00) well. How big a problem is this language issue? Because I mean what are their fifty a hundred languages spoken in the city? (00:46:08) You're correct and frankly. This is one of our major challenges we've even outlined it in our budget documents to counsel is this growing new and wonderful, frankly immigrant populations that are dropping in we've got Russians that are here and all of a sudden. Wow, how can we find somebody who can speak Russian, you know, and and and the course Ali we're struggling with that as that population continues to grow so language is becoming more and more of a big issue. I'm waiting for this new technology advanced that we all watch on Star Trek, you know, or they can talk through the little communicator and it goes out in the language of your choice. Maybe somebody will come along with that and it'll solve all our communication problems. But but it's a constant struggle for us (00:46:58) Aaron now your question. (00:46:59) Okay. Chief Olson. I have actually kind of a two-part question. I went to college with a guy who told me he couldn't wait to become a police officer so that he could rock some black people's heads. He actually didn't use that word. You used an N word gotcha and I'm wondering if there's a way that that you are able to screen officers 44 racist Behavior or is there anything that you do to curb that kind of thing? And also my second question is there is an incident recently. Shooting at about Lake and Clinton I just read about and I'm wondering what's going on with that. Well, I'm the last question. I heard there was one to I just have haven't had a chance to get briefed on it personally. So I'm not up on the facts of that. Otherwise, I'd certainly tell you whatever was public data on the screening frankly. We have a very sophisticated screening process. I I altered it somewhat I'd like to think enhanced it when I came here some years ago and there are a variety of tests and backgrounds that are done on our candidates to specifically screen out the character that you just described to me. We have no room for anybody like that on our department and and I'd like to think that our screening process has been pretty good frankly. We've really get some great candidates to do come in but finally make it through all those Hoops that they have to jump through on top of that we've we've applied for and received in are currently using a justice department grant to do some evaluations of Of what good officers are and then studying to go back and look at the indicators when they were hired to see what those good traits were, you know, as opposed to always just trying to screen out the bad. We also want to screen in people with the good traits that we want and at the same time identifying we do do this whenever we have an officer that really goes bad and we firm that up we go back to our our background and hiring process and look at what you know, what did this officer look like? Were there any indicators that would indicate that you know, three years later we'd catch them doing what they were doing and that's also been helpful. And so this is going to be part of this this federally funded study and I'm hopeful that will come out of that with some things not only to share with the rest of the country but also to enhance our screening process for the candidates that we put on the Minneapolis Police (00:49:30) Department. I would think that peer pressure or policing your own ranks would play an important role here. Is that part of the Police culture where Five Guys who are upstanding police officers five men and women might take that six-person aside and say look buddy. This isn't acceptable or is the culture such that you know, it's kind of Live and Let Live you go your way. I'll take care of my business. (00:49:57) Well, you know and I go back more years and I want to put on the air but but you know years and years ago and that that was what you said is kind of what the norm used to be that's changing what we find in our our Internal Affairs cases, for example, 60 percent of those cases are begun by an internal officer or supervisor bringing Behavior to our attention so that we can deal with it and and that wasn't happening here even 8 years ago. You know, when I came it was not just wasn't a lot of that going on. We're seeing more and more of it and I think that reflects in the training and the fact that a lot of these officers that Hiring they don't want a bad guy out there either and they don't want to get drawn into some nonsense that that person because of their their problem with a race or something else would get them into it. And I'm you know, we got a long way to go to keep working on that but I'm very optimistic and and feel good at the progress. We've (00:51:00) made Rebecca quick question here. (00:51:03) Yes, I live in the Uptown Minneapolis neighborhood and I just wanted to call and say that I've been really happy to see police officers on bikes in the neighborhood patrolling and out on the street. I think it's just a really smart program because it it makes the officers more a part of the neighborhood rather than a presence in the neighborhood and I just wanted to ask if this program is going to be expanded and how successful it's been well we're we've expanded it a lot and and of course when you know in the weather's right is when we use them and they're very very effective not the bit not to mention the fact that's better than a buck sixty nine a gallon for gas, but haven't said that. We're going to be doing that. Not just that but we're going to be initiating more Park and walks on the part of our officers. I don't know how many more we can put on bikes because there's a three-day training course, by the way, even before we allow him to get on those bikes. But but we want to maintain for sure what we have and but the same time get our officers out more whether it's on bicycles or walking or whatever and and we're going to be doing that but we have no intention to push back on those bikes because you're absolutely right and they cover a lot of territory and it's remarkable what they can sneak up on evenly some of these little drug dealers on the corners. They they see a bike coming and they just don't you know, it doesn't visualize police officer and they can get a lot closer to (00:52:22) them to am bar closing. How is that turned out for the city? (00:52:26) Well, you know, we're still in that newness period which I hope subsides a little bit we're finding out that at least so far that were just Those same crowds we had that one o'clock are now out at 2 o'clock. And but that's just you know, the newness of it I think is going I think a better Benchmark will be you know, after it's been in place for a while and we'll see what happens. But I was actually I was downtown at two o'clock this morning checking on something and and I was kind of amazed at the number of people that were out roaming around coming out of those spots and on a Wednesday night. So we've got a lot of activity down there and what we're finding too is we got people coming from other places not to go patronize these restaurants and bars, but just to come down and mingle and watch the people and hang out. So we we've got some of those issues that we're dealing with to kind of keep people moving (00:53:30) along he falls in what happens at the end of the year. Are you planning to (00:53:34) retire? Well any any plans or whatever I do or Or don't do well be you know, we'll talk about that then but right now I'm the chief of police for the city and I'm going to continue to do that and work with this great bunch of men and women that serve the city every day. I've just been blessed with you know, I've said long ago that you know, you're only as good as the people that work for you and I've got some really great folks that work for me in this (00:53:58) organization. I ask that because the mayor has been on the air say well, of course Chief Olsen's retiring in January. (00:54:05) Well, I certainly am eligible. I'm past the the age I could certainly take a pension but I'm you know where the future will take me. Well when it happens you'll be about the third or fourth people to know (00:54:19) and otherwise just to recap where we where we started with the program you're confident or at least hopeful based on what's happened with this case the hazily case that that maybe maybe relations with the police Community are getting (00:54:34) better. Well, we're you know, I'm you know, I'm one of these guys that always looks at the glass being Have full and and it really is a positive development and now it's up to us and the community to try and make that relationship last and believe me on our side. We're going to be working very very hard to do (00:54:51) that. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Okay, Gary Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson joining us this first hour of our midday program to talk about some of the law enforcement issues facing the City of Minneapolis. By the way, you may have missed it. But the chief announced during the program that a fourth person has now been charged arrested in the shooting of disha hazily the 20 month old toddler going to break here for some news headlines. And then right after the news we're going to focus on the Mississippi River a new Mississippi River visitor center is opening this weekend. We thought it'd be a great opportunity to take a look closer. Look at what's actually happening on the river and hear from a couple of folks who have spent a lot of time on the river. Voices of Minnesota interviews. We're going to hear from a National Park Service Ranger and we're going to hear from a retired pedal boat captain all of that coming up after the news. Your to 91.1 Candor wfm Minneapolis and st. Paul like to remind you that whether on Minnesota Public Radio is supported by Marshall Field's announcing their power shopping two-day event throughout the entire store in our weather forecast calls for a sunny sky that is throughout the rest of this afternoon with a high temperature in the low 80s currently in the Twin Cities. We have a sunny sky and 79 degrees tonight partly cloudy in the Twin Cities, maybe some fog late tonight with a low in the low 60s and then tomorrow and of a re-run of today partly cloudy sky is forecast and temperature high in the middle 80s over the weekend right now the extended forecast calls for a partly cloudy partly cloudy Sky both Saturday and Sunday. There's also a chance for a shower or thunder shower Saturday and Sunday temperature highs are forecast to be in the 80s over the weekend.


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