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UPDATED: Police Budget Cuts Hit Southwest

The Fifth Precinct could lose its two current crime prevention specialists, but gain two from other precincts.

They may not be the most glamorous members of the Minneapolis Police Department, but they issues around the community. Now, the jobs of five crime prevention specialists are under the budget axe as the department tries to balance its books for 2012.

These are examples of the last month in order to keep property tax increases down for next year.

The crime prevention specialists "keep us on track" in addressing neighborhood problems, Police Chief Tim Dolan said at a budget hearing Wednesday morning. 

The specialists also help residents deal with chronic, quality-of-life issues such as party houses or problem rental properties while working with crime-fighting block clubs.

Of 18 specialists city-wide, Dolan told members of the City Council that five would lose their jobs as the department restructured its operations to keep the number of officers on patrol steady in 2012. The department is technically seeing a $788,000 increase in its proposed budget for next year, to $128 million, but Dolan said that falls $4.42 million short of what the department needs to pay for increases in health-care and other personnel costs.

Because the layoffs will be conducted by seniority, the Fifth Precinct, which covers Southwest Minneapolis, will lose its two specialists

"This doesn't mean that any of those tasks can't get done," said Assistant Chief Janeé Hartau. "We're looking to automate some tasks."

Hartau said the department wants to focus the remaining specialists on door-knocking and organizing block clubs. 

The City Council votes on the final city budget on Dec. 14.

UPDATED 1:28 p.m. 10/7/11: MPD spokesman Sgt. William Palmer tells Southwest Minneapolis Patch that if the City Council approves the department's budget, the Fifth Precinct will still lose its Crime Prevention Specialists, but they will be replaced by two of the remaining 13 Specialists from other precincts in Minneapolis. However, they will be having to learn the details of a new set of neighborhoods.

James Sanna October 06, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Which neighborhood organization(s) do you work with? Also, what have previous CPS folks been like?
Kassie October 06, 2011 at 03:07 PM
I think Amy Lavender is amazing. She comes to our Crime and Drug meetings every month. She supports our neighborhood association. She always gets back to me when I inquire about a crime. She has even contacted me before I contacted her about a criminal who was active on my block as he made his way through the court system. She is has a no nonsense approach to dealing with neighborhood issues and always lets us know whatever she can about a crime. I really hope she has the seniority to stay, as she is a true asset to the community.
Sara Strzok October 06, 2011 at 07:32 PM
I've contacted Amy Lavender twice in my capacity as block club leader. Both times she got back to me within the day with accurate and helpful information about ongoing issues in our part of the neighborhood. I was surprised to see the negative comment above, since that has not been my experience with her.
Kassie October 06, 2011 at 09:24 PM
The Fifth Precinct only has 2 CPSs and we are losing both because they are low in seniority. So we are losing Amy Lavender and Chelsea Adams. My understanding is a CPS from one of the other precincts will be moved to the 5th, so someone who may be great, but doesn't know Southwest Minneapolis.
Mary Pat Ruff October 06, 2011 at 10:39 PM
Amy and Chelsea have personally help me with things. Amy was very instrumental with advice and guidance with a personal safety issue with a neighbor. This is so sad.

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