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4 pro sports teams in downtown Minneapolis call on city to add police officers

Updated: September 25, 2019 06:27 PM

Executives from the four professional sports teams in downtown Minneapolis are calling on the city to take steps to make sure their fans feel safe.

The move comes at the close of a particularly violent summer, and just as some of the sport seasons ramp up.

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In an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, executives from the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves and Lynx, wrote how if the city doesn’t step up, crime could “spiral out of control.”

“The reality is downtown Minneapolis is not as safe as it once was,” the piece said.

Ted Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer for the Lynx and Timberwolves said in his 17 years with the club, he doesn’t remember a time when all the teams collaborated on a unified message about public policy.

“This is really a first,” he said. “We believe what has happened over the last six months is different and unusual. It’s something that we haven’t seen before.”

The teams are calling on the Minneapolis City Council to get behind Mayor Jacob Frey’s request for 14 new officers in next year’s budget.

A spokesperson for Minneapolis Police said in order to address concerns, following video of the violent robbery and attack outside Target Field, the department began re-routing city-wide units to the area.

However, MPD has not bolstered staffing levels within the precinct.

This summer, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo requested a total of 400 additional officers over the course of several years.

Johnson said 14 is at least a start.

“We think that is fundamental and critically important to do, and we are supporting his call to put more officers on the street,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to raise alarm bells unnecessarily, but we also want city leaders to know it’s a real issue. It’s not just a perception problem, it’s a reality problem.”

Council member Alondra Cano said in an email that she is working to do "a better job with our youth violence intervention strategies to support the youth who are in the downtown area between 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m."

Next year’s budget is set to be finalized by December.

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