On Feb. 25, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the future site of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office 911 Emergency Communications Facility in Plymouth.
The new facility will ensure uninterrupted service for 911 calls, radio dispatch, and technical services.
To begin digging with ceremonial shovels, Sheriff Rich Stanek was joined by Plymouth Mayor Kelli Slavik, Hennepin County Administrator David Hough, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mike Carlson, and Hennepin County Commissioners Jan Callison and Linda Higgins Jeff Johnson.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at the construction site in Plymouth near the county’s Adult Corrections Facility, also known as the “workhouse.” It is expected to be complete in late 2014.
The new 50,000-square-foot facility will significantly increase communications system reliability, improve operational efficiencies, and optimize operating expenses by collocating three principal functions – the 911 Public Safety Answering Point, Critical Infrastructure Radio and Data Network Center, and Radio Systems Operations and Technical Services.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is releasing statistics that provide an estimate of the county’s violent crime in 2012. The statistics show that violent crime has decreased countywide by 37% from 2006 to 2012.
“Our quality of life is improved significantly when we make public safety a priority throughout the county. The partnerships between all local law enforcement agencies, businesses, schools, and the residents are playing a significant role in crime prevention,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.
It is believed that 2012 had one of the lowest levels of violent crime countywide in more than two decades.
Violent crime is defined as: murder and manslaughter--non negligent, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The definition is from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Year-to-date, from 2011-2012, there was an estimated 3% increase in violent crime countywide. Despite the slight increase year-to-date, last year’s overall violent crime numbers are historically low.
Sheriff Stanek credits several areas of law enforcement with contributing to the effective fight against violent crime: the expansion of partnerships among law enforcement agencies, enhanced criminal information sharing and analysis, and improved use of technology by law enforcement.
On Feb. 4, President Barack Obama visited Minneapolis to discuss his proposals to address gun violence. Sheriff Stanek joined Minneapolis residents and law enforcement leaders in a roundtable discussion with the President. Among the reasons for President Obama’s visit was to highlight why Minneapolis and Hennepin County have sustained overall reductions in violent crime in recent years and to look for solutions to further reduce gun violence.
As a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment, Sheriff Stanek talked about how the problem is one of access.
“Gun ownership isn’t a privilege, it’s a right guaranteed by the Constitution,” said Sheriff Stanek. “We have an access problem; people already prohibited by law from owning or buying a gun should never have access to firearms. We shouldn’t impose on the rights of law abiding citizens to try to solve this problem. Gun control alone will not solve the complex problem of guns and extreme violence.”
Sheriff Stanek emphasized the need to improve the current background check system to ensure all court records containing information that would prohibit someone from purchasing a gun under current law are actually entered into the system nationwide. This position, along with several other suggested reforms have been adopted by the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
In the photo, a member of the Sheriff's Mounted Patrol is saddling up for a training exercise. The Sheriff's Office is grateful to the talented and dedicated volunteers who use their own horses to work in the Mounted Patrol. They are highly-trained and they earn the title of Special Deputy.