UMN Police to Respond to Off-Campus Calls Amidst Minneapolis PD Officer Shortage

The new agreement comes as the University of Minnesota’s police department is also 15 officers short of a full staff.

UMN Police to Respond to Off-Campus Calls Amidst Minneapolis PD Officer Shortage

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MINNEAPOLIS — Officers with the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD) will take the lead in responding to 911 calls near its Twin Cities-East Bank campus as part of a new mutual aid agreement with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).

The agreement, which went into effect Monday and runs for a year, comes amidst MPD’s continued struggle with recruitment and retention, which has created historically low staffing levels. With just 585 sworn officers, the city holds one of the lowest ratios of officers to citizens among many major U.S. cities, the StarTribune reports.

During a Board of Regents meeting last month, UMPD Chief Matt Clark said Minneapolis police have had “limited capacity” to respond to 911 calls in recent years, “and many of our campus community folks are waiting a long time to get a response from MPD based on historic low [staffing] numbers,” according to AOL.

Clark also noted that while UMPD is also stretched thin, he believes his team can take on the added responsibility. The department employs 58 officers but is 15 short of being fully staffed. Officers have been working overtime to step up patrols at night and on weekends near campus, said Clark. Last year, UMPD responded to over 20,000 calls. Approximately 10% were off campus.

UMPD’s jurisdiction has historically been limited to property owned or leased by the school, though its officers frequently assist other departments in investigating crimes reported in areas surrounding its campuses. Under the expanded agreement, UMPD will now be responsible for all emergency calls in Dinkytown and Marcy-Holmes, two areas of Minneapolis largely occupied by students. University spokesperson Jake Ricker said the area will cover University Ave to 4th Street SE and 35-W to Oak Street SE.

UMPD has bolstered its response in Dinkytown over the past few years, including the addition of police cameras and at least two dedicated patrol officers in the neighborhood each night, KARE11 reports. Clark told the Regents that violent crime in Dinkytown has dropped 60%, from 87 violent crime reports in 2021 to 28 in 2023.

MPD will continue to respond to violent crime calls, said spokesperson Garrett Parten.

“The mutual aid change strengthens our long-standing, existing partnership,” he said. “We will continue to work closely together, respond in a more coordinated manner, and be more responsive to the public safety needs in these neighborhoods near the U of M.”

Hundreds of officers have left MPD since 2020, some taking costly settlements for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosed after rioting sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of an MPD officer. On May 27, 2020, then-UMN President Joan Gabel announced the school would limit its use of MPD officers. Specifically, Gabel said UMN would stop hiring MPD officers to work security at major university events and that it wouldn’t hire the city’s officers for specialized tasks, such as K-9 explosive detection.

MPD has since launched several new initiatives to boost recruitment, including a $950,000 marketing campaign that went live in March. Earlier this year, the departmen’s staffing fell 40% below its pre-2020 levels.

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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