Uptown’s daytime beat cop has had his hands full with more than crime prevention lately.
Sgt. Butch Blauert of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct has made a priority of revamping the old, long-underused “cop shop” space just south of McDonalds (actually part of the McDonald’s building).
Blauert cleaned and repainted the tiny room and was working in late May to get some new carpet and furniture to make it more appealing to the public.
The idea is that the space, renamed the Minneapolis Police Uptown Office, will serve as a place for officers to stop occasionally to interact with the community, fill out paperwork or take a break.
“It would be kind of a center point of patrol, because this is the center of Uptown,” Blauert said.
He said he’s already received plenty of attention whenever he’s been in the office. During one day spent cleaning the space, he said about 30 different people stopped to talk with him.
“As soon as I turned that light on, people were stopping left and right; it was just unbelievable,” he said.
While being interviewed in the office for this story, two different people stopped by. One was on a bike, looking for directions. The other was Robert Sorenson, owner of Bobby Bead at 2831 Hennepin Ave., who chatted with Blauert about the crowd this year’s St.Paul-hosted Republican National Convention might bring to Uptown.
Sorenson, an Uptown Association board member, said he was looking forward to seeing the Minneapolis Police Uptown Office open.
“It just makes us all feel a little more safe and protected,” he said.
The Uptown Association has been a big supporter of getting the office opened.
It fell into decay in recent years, when no beat officers were around to use it. Blauert started his daytime shift last year and two night officers started working the Uptown beat shortly afterward.
The revitalized office should be open this month, but officers will not hold set hours in the space.