Minneapolis leaders announce completion of after-action review recommendations, unveil new alert system for residents

Minneapolis leaders announce completion of after-action review recommendations, unveil new alert system for residents

Minneapolis leaders announce completion of after-action review recommendations, unveil new alert system for residents

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was joined by city leaders on Tuesday to announce they’ve completed the recommendations from a report on public safety efforts.

The recommendations by the Hillard-Heinze After-Action Report (AAR) included new methods and technology to ensure mistakes from the past weren’t repeated and put the city at a higher level of emergency preparedness.

Following the completion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC) almost two weeks ago, Frey applauded city leaders, staff and first responders for their efforts to transform the city’s preparation for emergencies.

The IEMC is used to test a city’s proficiency in responding to an emergency using the NIMS concepts, which is a national approach for all levels of government and community groups to work together during major events.

“If an emergency strikes, we will be ready – and we have done the preparation to be prepared,” said Mayor Frey. “This past year, we put in over 500 hours of National Incident Management System training to ensure that all City staff are trained in on the same plans and protocols – and we spent the week with FEMA testing our plans and working collaboratively through different simulations. We have built trust between departments, we have agreed-upon plans that will be followed by all, and we have a sustained amount of dedication to provide a top-notch response for our community. But there’s never an end to emergency preparedness training, and we will continue to follow best practices and adapt where needed.”  

The after-action review was initiated by Frey and city leaders in February 2021 following the civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd.

The final AAR report presented to the City Council in March 2022 offered 27 corrective actions that included applying the Incident Command System approach, better organizing the Emergency Operations Center concept, using MAC/Policy groups to inform decision making among officials, and improve flow of information internally and to the public through a Joint Information System.

The report also says the Minneapolis Police Department failed to follow the correct policies for requesting assistance from the Minnesota National Guard because the process “was unfamiliar to those making the requests” and that “those challenges caused a delay in the approval and deployment of resources.”

RELATED: Report: Lack of communication, leadership in Minneapolis following George Floyd’s death

According to the city, several city departments have been working for over two years to complete those objectives. The corrective actions were assigned to the Emergency Management Department, Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Fire Department, City Operations Officer and the City Communications Department.

“Protecting lives, maintaining order, and protecting property are our sworn duty as law enforcement,” Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara said. “Our police officers, firefighters, and 9-1-1 dispatch professionals are the tip of the spear in responding to any emergency, and I am grateful to all of them for their continued service. But first responders alone are not the solution to managing a large-scale event.  Under Mayor Frey’s leadership, the team that has been built over the last 4 years is the solution to responding to and recovering from any large-scale event.”

“The safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us,” said Community Safety Commissioner Toddrick Barnette. “Our community, our staff, and the people of Minneapolis are depending on us and holding us accountable, and it is important that we get this right. So, we will continue to learn, practice, and refine our process to maximize our preparedness across our organization. I’m so proud of our city staff and first responders for their commitment to completing and being engaged during this training.”  

In addition, Minneapolis 911 and city staff have been working to better coordinate the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System, which is a national system that provides information to the public through cell phone alerts.

Another part of the change is the city replacing its own mobile alert system, Swiftreach, with a new one called Smart911. Beginning Tuesday, the city is asking residents to subscribe to a new app-based system that will push information on everything from snow emergencies to special events.

For more information on how to sign up, click here.

The city says that leadership and staff will continue regular training and update technologies to improve emergency preparedness. FEMA will provide a final evaluation of the city’s IEMC training later this summer.