Uptown has two new beat cops working 4:30 p.m.–2:30 a.m. five days a week Monday–Saturday.
Officers Marshall Collier and Anthijuan Beeks started patrolling the area in late December. They are an addition to officer Butch Blauert, who started working the Uptown beat during the day Monday–Friday earlier this year.
"This was the inspector’s idea," said Lt. Don Banham, who was acting inspector for the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct while Insp. Kristine Arneson was on vacation earlier this month. "It was a decision she made based on the need for officers due to the popularity of the area."
Arneson has voiced her desire for night cops in Uptown in the past and area businesses have also requested them.
Both Collier and Beeks already work in the 5th Precinct, Collier a late-night shift and Beeks a daytime patrol. They were moved as part of a reconfiguration of the force for 2008, and their new Uptown focus won’t have a negative impact on other areas of Southwest, Banham said.
The officers’ workdays will vary, but they will always cover five of the six days they’ve been assigned.
Blauert, whose shift ends at 5 p.m., said the new officers would enhance the relationships with businesses he started building this year and provide some muchneeded law enforcement at night.
Aggressive panhandling is one of the issues Blauert said he has a handle on during the day, but it’s a different story when the sun goes down.
"I think some of theses guys come out when they know I’m done at five," he said.
Plus, most of Uptown’s drug users come out at night.
"Things are really just starting to pick up during the end of my shift," Blauert said.
Uptown Association Director Maude Lovelle said the new officers would be well received by area businesses. The association recognized the need for night patrols in 2007 by making money available for off-duty officers. It will continue to do so, she said.
"We’ll always make money available because there can never be enough police officers," she said.
Jenna Victoria, co-owner of Amore
Victoria, said the new beat officers would be a welcome sight at night. The restaurant has had problems with car break-ins in the past and, though a surveillance system has helped stop the crimes, officers would only improve the safety of the area, she said.
She said she’s already noticed a reduction in crime during Blauert’s daytime shift.
Reach Jake Weyer at 436-4367 or [email protected]