Ride Along with MPD 1st Precinct

August 23, 2021

I had the opportunity for a ride-along with the MPD 1st Precinct (Downtown) starting at 9 PM on Friday night and ending at 4:30 AM Saturday morning (full shift goes to 7 AM). Below are a few takeaways:

- I was very impressed with the professionalism of the officers: the sergeants were great communicators, including during debriefing; instructions were clear and succinct, the officers asked great questions, and it was a serious atmosphere with some good humor.

- I saw the tangible results of our current Mayor allowing a harmful narrative to take hold in the community: our squad car was flipped off or yelled at many times during the night.

- The officer I was paired with had only three years of patrol experience but could not have been sharper or more sensitive: his wisdom and responsibility were beyond his years, and he handled complex scenarios with calm and grace.

- The 1st Precinct is diverse: I met BIPOC, Asian, Hispanic, and LGBTQ+ officers in headquarters.

- The officers are stretched extremely thin: the 1st Precinct overnight force is down to just 1/3 of what it was before George Floyd’s murder, the sergeant’s requests for extra officers to help on OT pay went unanswered, and the officers on duty were asked to stay longer than normal.

- We do not have enough police: people are brazenly breaking the law and I saw firsthand examples of the 1st Precinct not having enough manpower, forcing them to bypass certain crimes to focus on higher priority calls.

- What I saw reinforced my understanding that the streets are getting away from us: the night ended with MPD taping off the scene of a 16-round shooting on 9th and Hennepin.

Hannah Vogel

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