EXCLUSIVE: Alpha News tags along for Minneapolis police operation

Alpha News captured a gritty, first-person perspective of crime and punishment in the worst neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

Alpha News

“The kid that we arrested yesterday is sitting in his back seat. The kid sitting in the front seat is out on bond for a murder,” Sgt. Andrew Schroeder of the Minneapolis Police Department said, returning from the driver’s side of a car he’d just pulled over.

The driver of the vehicle has also been charged after allegedly shooting two people.  Hennepin County’s comparatively low bail requirements and the fact that bondsmen now accept collateral as low as 3% in some cases means that a huge number of violent criminals are bonding out and returning to the streets, Schroeder explained.

Schroeder provided Alpha News with an inside look at “Operation Safe Summer,” a week long inter-agency effort involving MPD, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the ATF, the DEA, the Minnesota BCA and the DOJ.

During our ride-along, we watched rare moments of proactive policing as officers were cut loose to pursue suspects who have been on their watchlists for a long time.

“What you guys are doing with me today isn’t the normal life of a Minneapolis police officer,” Schroeder explained. “A normal Minneapolis police officer goes from call to call to call to call to call from the time they log into their shift to the time they go home. They’re overworked and understaffed.”

“There’s days where north Minneapolis has four cops,” he said, explaining how this “staffing crisis” has caused specialized units to be cut. The only one that remains is Schroeder’s gun unit. Others, including the gang and narcotics units, have been cut.

However, many feel that Operation Safe Summer stands as a testament to what Twin Cities law enforcement is capable of when provided the appropriate resources. All in all, the operation led to 97 arrests, the seizure of about three dozen illegal guns (including four machine guns), the recovery of 20+ stolen or carjacked vehicles, and the arrest of three fugitives wanted for murder.