Minneapolis citizens’ group calls for emergency plan to address growing public safety concerns

A Facebook group called Operation Safety Now has nearly 250 members since its launch last Friday and its administrator, Bill Rodriguez, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the group has a three-part plan to address a growing concern about public safety.

“Altogether talking about making a 60-day emergency plan that addresses the issues at hand,” Rodriguez said. "At a time when the city needs to be trotting out cannons, they’re responding with fly swatters. And we need to get a sense of what the longer-term plan is because we don’t think there is a plan."

Rodriguez said the plan would have city, county and state leaders convene and implement the proposed 60-day emergency plan which includes the possibility of hiring part-time officers to fill a void being created by dozens of officers leaving the Minneapolis Police Department.

"Every solution we have out there, may not be the perfect one, but we’re just citizens. All we’re trying to do is start a conversation,” said Rodriguez.

Mayor Jacob Frey, through a spokesperson, issued the following statement to KSTP:

“Mayor Frey is continuing to work closely with Chief Arradondo and his leadership team to strengthen public safety throughout Minneapolis. The two leaders have detailed clear and concrete responses to staffing shortages and adjustments they’ve made to add capacity where it’s needed most. And the mayor’s 2021 budget proposal includes funding to both accelerate officer recruiting efforts while supporting new violence prevention and interruption initiatives. He remains committed to working with partners in local government and community to advance our shared public safety goals.”

Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll said the union would not be opposed to talking about the possibility of bringing on part-time officers.

“We’re open to negotiations. If they would like to have some type of temporary approach, the key being temporary," Kroll said. "But our officers are run down, they’re worn out, they’re overworked and they need some relief."

KSTP asked City Council President Lisa Bender for an interview or comment on the citizens’ group plans, but Bender has not yet responded.