Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz pushes for more funding to fight crime
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was joined by members of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Thursday to highlight efforts in the fight against the rise in crime in the state.
Gov. Walz said investing in public safety is the solution to bringing the crime rate down. He said this includes building on more resources especially when it comes to gun crime.
“The shear capacity to process evidence and work crime scenes is critical,” Walz said. “We have heard it time and time again at dozens of stops. Invest money in us. Invest money in the BCA and the researchers and investigators, and we will bring down these numbers.”
Walz said he asked the the state legislature for $300 million to go towards increasing resources in the BCA and the DPS. He recently set aside $4 million from the federal American Rescue Plan.
He discussed the complexity of tracking down criminals and the need to hire more people for the agencies.
“You heard it here, right in this building,” he said. “If we had more people, which we asked for, who could do this work, we could process the firearms faster and get to those people quicker. That’s how you reduce crime.”
Department of Public Safety Commissioner echoed the governor’s opinion that more resources are needed.
“This is not work that is just easily done,” he said. “It is dangerous work and we recognize that.”
He mentioned the State Patrol’s enforced DUI enforcements are making an impact.
From July 15- 17, there were 20 extra troopers patrolling in the metro area. They reportedly made 1,459 traffic stops, recovered six guns and made 45 DUI arrests.
The BCA increased efforts by deploying 12 agents in the spring to help fight the increased crime, especially in the metro area. The efforts so far have resulted in 200 felony arrests, 128 seized firearms and the discovery of more than 4,000 fentanyl pills.
BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said they have been recovering large amounts of ammunition and illegal high-powered guns. He said it’s something they’ve never seen before.
He said they usually see 150 rounds of ammo at a crime scene, but lately they have been seeing thousands of rounds.
“As the governor and commissioner notes, we are overwhelmed with the amount of evidence in our laboratory day in and day out,” he said. “We’ve prioritized violent crime so we can get to those and answer those questions more quickly. This includes guns that are full automatic.”
He said the BCA is partnering with agencies like the FBI, ATF and Minneapolis Police Department in efforts in fighting the crime.
“The BCA and our partners will work daily to identify, arrest and hold criminals accountable that wish to bring harm to our communities,” Evans said. “We’re all in this together.”
The BCA encourages citizens to help fight crime by coming forward with information that may help solve a case or prevent a threatened crime.
People can call the BCA tip line at 1-877-996-6222 or email the BCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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