My Priorities

Carjackings

One thing I am asked about frequently is how to stop carjackings. They stand out amongst the other violent and criminal acts that plague our county. Along with the visibility and long-acting solutions included in the Prevent and Partner prongs of my violence reduction plan, I want to elaborate a bit on the Prosecution prong as it relates specifically to carjackings:

Prosecution is the ultimate goal when an arrest is made.  Deputies will ensure they are submitting high quality cases with sufficient evidence for charging by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.  From there we will follow-up to ensure charges are being filed and if not, either hold the attorney accountable until charges are filed or provide the necessary follow-up investigation/evidence until the suspect is charged.  This also includes holding judges accountable to following the State sentencing guidelines.

How do we catch the criminals committing the car jackings? 

  1. We need to increase the number of cops on the street. I pledge to work with the Hennepin County Commissioners and our partners in law enforcement to make that happen. For HCSO we will conduct an evaluation of staffing to make sure we have the right people in the right positions.  In other words we will ensure we are utilizing licensed deputies in roles where their skills and training are best suited and utilizing civilians in roles that don’t require the additional specialized training a licensed deputy possesses.  In addition, we will work with State and Federal partners to seek out additional funding sources to hire more deputies.
  2. We also need to focus on collaboration between agencies. MPD is in a difficult place right now with dangerously low staffing levels and the Department of Justice turning over every stone. I would work to strengthen existing partnerships along with finding new ways to increase efficiencies through information sharing and technology to catch carjackers and other violent criminals.
  3. Conduct targeted enforcement and investigative operations leaning heavily on HCSO task forces to take guns and drugs off the street and safely arrest criminals. 
  4. I would leverage the HCSO’s own accredited Crime Lab to expedite evidence processing related to violent crimes for ALL Hennepin County cases (especially Minneapolis cases) so that timely cases can be delivered to the County Attorney’s Office and federal prosecutors to minimize the time offenders are held prior to their court case and also ensuring they aren’t back on the streets committing new crimes while waiting for their other court cases.
  5. We need a voice at the Capitol in St. Paul. I promise that I’ll make Hennepin County voices heard to get additional funding, along with any legislative changes needed. I will ensure we hold violent criminals accountable and make Hennepin County a safer place for all who live and visit the County.

Community Outreach – COP Houses

Another initiative that I plan to execute as your independent Sheriff are  COP Houses. COP stands for Community-Oriented Policing and while that specific concept has been around for much longer, the concept of a COP House originated in Racine, WI, in 1993.

 

By themselves, COP Houses will not stop the surge in crime seen in Hennepin County, but I believe they are part of the solution. To stop the cycle of violence, we need to connect with youth in a positive way, before they turn to gangs and give them opportunities to make better lives for themselves, and subsequently, their community.

 

But what are COP Houses? They’re actual houses located in high crime areas that would be purchased and renovated by the HCSO and private partners into meeting spaces. They would be staffed with deputies and other service providers during strategic hours to create a presence and build relationships in ways that far exceed ice cream giveaways and seasonal projects (but I reserve the right to serve ice cream and take kids shopping still). It’s immersing law enforcement and services (access to social workers, public health, tutors, etc.) in communities hardest hit by crime, listening to the needs of those communities then following through while serving and protecting.

 

COP Houses are a tactic that have been deployed in multiple communities throughout the United States, including Minnesota, and, when executed properly, lead to significant reduction in crime, increased trust, and stronger relationships between communities and law enforcement. COP Houses are part of a multi-pronged approach I plan to take to reduce crime in Hennepin County – they’re part of the first “P” of my overall crime reduction plan – PREVENT.

 

By increasing the visibility and availability of deputies and collaborating with other service providers and private partners – we can make a difference in neighborhoods with the greatest need, by providing tailored resources and fostering positive, sustainable police-community relationships (especially with youth and families).

 

As your independent Sheriff, I’ll work tirelessly to provide public safety for all Hennepin County residents. My plan is to start in the hardest hit areas of the county and expand to others as needs, resources, and partnerships allow. We will make a difference, but only if we put people before politics.

 

Go Here for more information

Community Response Teams (CRT)

I have previously talked about my violence reduction strategy and how I will address carjackings.  A key component of those responses will be the use of the Community Response Teams (CRT Teams).  These teams will be a group of deputies and will be available to assist any agency with Hennepin County that needs additional assistance in addressing a current crime trend.  In addition, if a crime trend is occurring in a city and the local agency either can’t or won’t address the issue the CRT teams will respond to take action and reduce or eliminate the current trend.  Also, since we know criminals don’t care about city or county limits the CRT team will coordinate with multiple cities in their response and have the flexibility to quickly and efficiently address these fluid problems.

The CRT teams will also have additional training to recognize people in crisis and how to best respond to them.  They will also partner with support services such as social workers, addiction specialists and mental health resources to both understand the resources available and again how to best address those that may be suffering from one or many of these ailments to ensure they receive the resources they need.  This partnership will assist the community by allowing deputies and social services to work together to get community members the resources they need.  This will also help them work together to determine if the best avenue to assistance is through the criminal justice system or the healthcare system and can be decided on a case by case basis.

Radio Encryption and Transparency

Encryption of sensitive public safety operations like undercover investigations and tactical/SWAT operations has been used for over a decade to maintain the integrity of those operations and the safety of those involved – for officers and civilians alike.

 

In October 2019, under the direction of Sheriff Hutchinson, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office moved to encryption of all radio transmissions on their law enforcement radio channels – whereby routine radio traffic was encrypted and unavailable to the public and the media, except by data request. The encryption of radio traffic avoids the broadcast of the sensitive victim and private information, prevents criminal actors from listening to law enforcement radio traffic (including officer movements and operational details), and prevents unmanageable crowds from arriving at sensitive locations, consuming public safety resources when they are already in short supply.

 

While I value the tool of encryption as one providing safety and privacy to officers and the people of Hennepin County – it creates a barrier for transparency and trust between law enforcement and you, the people we serve.

 

I believe that there is a middle ground that helps keep officers safe and private information out of the wrong hands. If elected, I plan to develop and implement a solution that restores timely access to non-sensitive radio traffic. I will establish a workgroup to develop a technological or operational solution that keeps officers safe and makes transmissions accessible to the people we serve – with established guidelines, including written policy governing reasonable procedures for the accessibility of radio traffic.

 

Workgroup members will include our Public Safety partners, the media (including social media advocates), and community members, working together to build confidence, transparency, and trust between the public and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

 

The subject of immigration and enforcement of federal law by local authorities is an emotional one, with very passionate and compassionate people advocating on all sides. As your independent Sheriff, I will to work towards finding common ground and will establish policies and procedures to serve all people of Hennepin County.

As an immigrant myself, I enjoy the full rights and privileges of U.S. citizenship and want nothing more for everyone living in and visiting Hennepin County. I also know that there is significant aid provided by the federal government that helps law enforcement keep our communities safe. Per 8 U.S. Code 1373 The Department of Justice requires that most recipients of federal grant money certify their compliance with all federal laws.  This includes saying that officials may not restrict Immigration and Naturalization Service Officials with determining the lawful or unlawful immigrations status of individuals. 

How do we help undocumented people find paths to citizenship and continue to get federal aid by meeting requirements for funding and maintaining good working relationships to improve public safety?

  1. HCSO deputies will not arrest on questions of citizenship, we will only arrest for violations of state law.
  2. We will not ask victims, reporting parties, bystanders, or anyone about their immigration status.
  3. We will identify and promote resources for helping undocumented people become citizens and utilize HCSO outreach operations to facilitate putting residents in contact with those resources.
  4. We will report only required information to federal authorities to maintain working relationships so that all communities in Hennepin County can receive federal funds to keep our communities safe.
  5. We will honor lawful detainers from federal agencies for only the required time periods for inmates that were lawfully arrested and in custody on criminal violations of MN Statutes that are supported by probable cause.
  6. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not have an office at the jail – federal agents may drive to jail to request records and request to visit inmates just like any local or state law enforcement agency.
  7. Inmates will be informed of who is requesting to visit them and they will continue to be allowed to decline visits, just like any citizen that comes to see inmates at jail. (Inmates will be advised of these rights both verbally and through the use of posted signage.
  8. In addition to putting non-custodial residents of the county into contact with citizenship resources, my administration will also partner with immigration advocacy organizations to ensure that inmates receive due process and access to immigration-focused legal resources while in custody, including if ICE requests to interview them.

U.S. citizenship is a beautiful thing and I am fortunate to enjoy it. Everyone should have the ability to obtain their citizenship if they’d like and help them become full participants in the Country and the County that I love. I look forward to restoring public safety in Hennepin County and collaborating with those who share in that goal. This includes advocates, non-profits, private partners, and local and federal agencies who want to help get criminals off the street and who play a role in protecting the integrity of the criminal justice system, including the right to due process. As your independent Sheriff – it’s about PEOPLE, NOT POLITICS.

Violence Reduction Strategy

What is the problem?

Spikes in violent crime have occurred across the U.S. and Hennepin County has not been immune. Specifically, Minneapolis has seen a drastic increase in gun violence with high numbers of car-jackings and shootings impacting neighborhoods throughout the city. The death of George Floyd, effects of unrest following his death, and resulting efforts by defunders to hamper the ability of police to keep communities safe have contributed to the uptrend. Due to a mass exodus of personnel, MPD and other police departments have been forced to dramatically scale back responses and divert preventative resources, and our communities are paying the price.  This problem also plagues the suburbs of Hennepin County with increased violent crimes in many cities.

 

What I will do as Sheriff to reduce violence?

If elected, I plan to take a multi-faceted approach to combat violence – Partner, Prevent, and Prosecute.

 

Partner – with MPD and other public safety entities, community leaders, legislators, businesses, other public agencies, and the PEOPLE to continually seek resources and feedback to provide relevant and cost-efficient services to Hennepin County residents.

Prevent – increase HCSO visibility in neighborhoods with the greatest need; provide stable support and foster sustainable police-community relationships (especially with youth and families) through HCSO Cop Houses*; and engage the people through neighborhood events focused on fun, food, and building lasting relationships with community members.

Prosecute – Ensure HCSO resources are allocated where they are best trained and hire additional resources; utilize collaboration, intelligence, and technology to create efficiencies to catch violent criminals faster; targeted operations with HCSO task forces to remove guns and drugs off the street while safely arresting criminals; leverage the HCSO’s own accredited Crime Lab to expedite evidence processing for ALL Hennepin County cases (including Minneapolis cases); deliver rock-solid criminal cases to the County Attorney’s Office and federal prosecutors; and lobby lawmakers, the Judiciary, and charging authorities to do their part to keep criminals in jail and out of our communities.

All the way up to Election Day, please check back here as we continue to add my leadership priorities on how I would better serve the people of Hennepin County if elected your sheriff.