Rich’s Promises to Hennepin County
In 2006 violent crime was so bad in Minneapolis, The Weekly Standard called it “The Return to Murderapolis.” The gangs returned first to Minneapolis’ North and South residential neighborhoods and then expanded to the streets of downtown. Businesses asked for help, but were told to hire private security guards. The Minneapolis Police Department couldn’t respond to all the calls for assistance. Once again, Minneapolis had become one of the most dangerous cities in the nation.
That’s when Rich Stanek first ran for Sheriff, and he made five promises to the voters of Hennepin County.
Rich promised to bring the resources of the Sheriff’s Office to the fight against violent crime in Hennepin County – that we would bring Deputies, Analysts, Crime Lab Technicians, and Detectives out of the office and to the daily work of policing, preventing and intervening in criminal conduct in neighborhoods throughout the County. It hasn’t been an easy transition, but it has made a big difference! Since Rich was first elected, violent crime in Hennepin County is down 36%.
Rich promised to bring the resources of the Sheriff’s Office to combat the lethal combination of guns, gangs, kids, and drugs that threaten to destroy lives and families and neighborhoods. The Agency has taken on initiatives to collect unwanted prescription drugs, alert residents to the growing heroin epidemic, to combat human trafficking, to educate community leaders and elected officials at all levels of government about countering violent extremism and the alarming link between mass shootings and untreated mental illness.
Rich promised to engage diverse communities, seek resident input, and build lasting and innovative partnerships across the County to strengthen the public safety fabric – to foster trusting relationships with the people he is sworn to serve and protect. The Sheriff’s Community Engagement Team, Citizens Academies and Community Advisory Board have advanced the Agency’s visibility, transparency and accountability; they have become models for Sheriffs Offices across the nation. And with his efforts, the Agency has improved the diversity of its personnel – and hired and trained the nation’s first Somali deputy.
Rich promised to respect and protect all residents and their civil rights and liberties. When he took the Oath of Office, he swore to uphold the Constitution, which is reflected in the work of the Agency: in the way the Agency respected Occupy Minnesota’s First Amendment Right to demonstrate and protest; in the way the Agency advocated for law changes to ensure mentally ill inmates get treatment immediately; in the way the Agency led the nation in refusing to fulfill ICE Detainer requests (instead we detain upon a court order). These decisions may have been controversial to some, but they bring honor to our work as a law enforcement Agency.
Rich promised that he would serve as a good steward of taxpayer dollars. Since 2008 the Sheriff’s Office worked with a reduced staff (nearly a 10% rduction in the work force), to hold property taxpayers harmless to the economic challenges of the Recession. With his efforts, the Agency has recruited and trained hundreds of Volunteers and Special Deputies who contribute more than 40,000 of hours every year to serving residents throughout the County.