A call for leadership

Thankfully, the importance of leadership continues to gain momentum in discussions about crime and public safety in Minnesota. The Star Tribune Editorial Board hit on this theme today, though they oddly conflated the issue of restoring order in Minneapolis with the mass murder incident in Highland Park, Illinois on July 4. 

Center of the American Experiment has been emphasizing the need for strong public safety leadership and pointing out where current leadership has been lacking for some time.  

The events of July 4 in Minneapolis involving multiple shootings, fireworks being shot at people, residences, and the police, street racing, assaults, overdoses, and some 1,300 emergency calls for service, served as ample evidence that we do not have control of public safety at this time.

It’s also critical that law enforcement muster an adequate response before the summer of 2022 spins even more out of control.

Unfortunately, the two plus years of calls to “defund,” “destruct,” and “re-imagine policing” has had a disastrous impact on police staffing, and maybe more importantly on police leadership. Today our two largest cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) and our largest county (Hennepin) are operating with Interim Chiefs of Police/Sheriff. Nearly a dozen other suburban or county law enforcement agencies are being headed by interim or newly appointed chief law enforcement officers. Years of experience, and relationships have walked out the door. 

The ability of law enforcement leadership to coalesce and strategize has been hampered. Just as it will take years to recover from the staffing issues facing law enforcement, it will also take significant time for law enforcement leadership to find its footing.

The reality is we can’t afford to wait. We need our leadership, whether interim, new, experienced, appointed or elected, to rise above the challenge. A plan to address out of control crime, despite a crisis in staffing, is rightfully demanded by the public.

The Star Tribune has added its voice to the call for our political leadership to respond, and it is welcomed.

Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter need to work with Gov. Tim Walz, along with state Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, on possible solutions to prevent an even more violent rest of the summer. Reinforcements are needed, and some type of National Guard presence might be necessary.  

We must all keep the faith that through strong support for law and order, and by holding our elected leadership accountable, the tide will turn.