Now work to restore MPD to handling Viking Stadium security
Mayor Betsy Hodges announced September 23 reappointing incumbent Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Chief of Police Janeé Harteau, to another three-year term. Supporters of both women agreed it was the right decision.
The reappointment comes at a challenging time for the city, especially in terms of public safety related to (1) the streets, (2) the new Viking stadium, and (3) the encroachment on the MPD by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and backed by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA). The MSFA is pulling another “Lucy,” the comic strip bully who promised to hold the ball in place only to pull it away at the last minute.
MSFA Chair Michele “Lucy” Kelm-Helgen and MSFA Executive Director, Ted “Lucy” Mondale, are again trying to pull the football on their public promises about supporting hiring African Americans. This time take the Viking Stadium MPD security detail and give it to the Hennepin County Sherriff’s office. The MPD has diversity. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s department is nearly all White.
This secretive backroom attempt came to light after Sherriff’s department called the NFL seeking three free suites at the upcoming Super Bowls so it can learn for the 2018 Super Bowl in Minneapolis, claiming to be the security detail, even though no contract has been signed. Shocked at this unprecedented out-of-protocol act, the NFL called the MPD to ask what’s going on, unknowingly letting the cat out of the bag.
- The MSFA announced two years ago that (1) the Vikings would play the 2014 and 2015 seasons at UM TCF stadium, (2) campus police would handle security for the UM TCF stadium, and (3) MPD would again have the security detail at the new Vikings Stadium when it opens in 2016.
- According to those involved in formal discussions, the sheriff’s department is to be selected by the MSFA as the new vendor in charge of the Vikings stadium security detail.
- When questioned, MSFA, sheriff’s office and hired Chicago security firm, all claimed the new stadium is a private project and not subject to bids.
- The legislation authorizing the stadium defined it as public, as does the over $500 million to be paid by tax payers.
- This power grab of the sheriff’s department to reign over the MPD could last 20 years or longer.
- How many other no-bid deals will increase cost overruns?
- What other deals are being cut by the MSFA and who all will benefit from these deals?
- What was the leverage or inducement enabling the Chicago firm to get the MSFA executive director and chair to turn their backs on Minneapolis and the MPD, when the legislation calls for Minnesota firms first?
We write from a two-part understanding of stadium security:
- The overall electronic and security technology (software, hardware, fire walls and anti-hacking/intrusion, security cameras, sensors of all kinds, alarms, etc.), awarded to the Chicago security company
(2) Non-electronic security: the men and women providing live security details that should be done by the MPD
We call on the Minneapolis Legislative Delegation and other Minnesota legislators to work closely with the chief and the mayor to reestablish and carry out the promise made to the MPD, and to demand an explanation from both the MSFA and the governor for this raid on the City’s MPD, and demand ending considering such a decision.
We don’t believe this decision will stand the scrutiny of the legislature or the courts. We urge the mayor, chief, and MPD Federation to work together in common cause to re-secure the security contract for the MPD.