The silent majority speaks up — Minneapolis wants its 3rd precinct back.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct was overrun and set afire on Thursday, May 28, 2020, during the civil unrest that followed the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Three years later the building remains much the same, surrounded by barbed wire and covered in graffiti, like a giant trophy for lawlessness.
Sadly, area residents have paid the price for this inaction, with many areas in the precinct having deteriorated beyond acceptance for any city that considers itself serious. Response times for priority calls in the 3rd precinct rose to over 18 minutes in 2022 as a result of the precinct headquarters being forced to operate out of a “temporary” space downtown.
Minneapolis residents deserve better, but far too many of them have found it easier to stay silent and avoid attacks in recent years. That silent majority has begun to find its voice as evidenced by a series of community feedback meetings held recently to solicit public comment on which site is preferred.
Thankfully, the city is finally moving forward on plans to re-open a precinct building within the geographical boundaries of the city’s 3rd precinct. While this might seem completely justified and reasonable, many activists have been demanding that the city not place a precinct building in the 3rd precinct boundaries.
The city has properly determined two options for moving forward — a development that gives the community an opportunity to weigh in, while not hopelessly delaying the process with endless debate.
The first option is restoring and re-opening the existing precinct building at East Lake Street and Minnehaha Ave S. for approximately $12 million. This plan would take about 18 months to complete.
The second option is to build a new precinct four blocks away at 26th and Minnehaha. This plan would cost nearly twice as much, and the project would take twice as long to complete — leaving the city without a 3rd precinct headquarters for nearly six years before completion.
Read more about the projects here: https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/programs-initiatives/3rd-precinct-building
These options were presented to residents during a series of five community meetings held around Minneapolis in mid-April 2023. The meetings were organized by DeYoung Consulting, which gathered public comments on the two options and will supply a report to the mayor and city council in May. A final decision on the direction the city will go is expected in July.
I attended the community meeting held at Roosevelt High School on April 15 and came away with the distinct feeling that the silent majority was beginning to wake, and that under the surface, a great deal of respect and desire for law and order remains.
The meeting started with a city public works official introducing the two plans. She was quickly interrupted by one of a handful of agitators that appeared to have spread out throughout the auditorium, and who had the obvious goal of undermining the city’s efforts to re-open a 3rd precinct. However, after a short time many in the crowd began to push back. Average citizens stood up and offered some resistance to the agitators — what a breath of fresh air.
The meeting then transitioned into several smaller breakout groups where actual comments and discussion were shared. In the breakout groups that I was able to listen in on, it was obvious that even in Minneapolis, when citizens have a choice between law and order and continued chaos and disorder, the choice is clear. Average residents spoke passionately about wanting safety and security in their neighborhoods, and opined that re-opening a precinct headquarters in their neighborhood was an important step in achieving that.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each plan; however, it seems obvious that re-opening the existing structure for half the price and in half the time is the best option.
Detractors who suggest that the existing location will just represent more of the same, will also complain about the alternative location at 26th and Minnehaha. Minneapolis should move forward with the plan that supports its silent majority over its activists, and provide its residents with a police station in their neighborhood — sooner than later.
Members of the public are able to share their opinions through April 30, 2023, using the survey found here: https://www.minneapolismn.gov/news/2023/april-/third-precinct-survey/