Minneapolis announced a new community safety program in an attempt to stop the increase in violence that has occurred over the last year.
This new initiative is backed by the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, as well as other leaders in the community. The goal is to help stop the explosion of gun crime in recent days, through an effort called Community Safety Specialists (CSS).
The Community Safety Specialists are a group of 20 men who will be taking to the Minneapolis streets come June. This effort was created by the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council.
The men will be paid starting at $15.30 an hour, plus benefits, and will be able to work up to a $23 hourly wage. The program includes 180 hours of training in areas of tactical, anti-terrorism, and mental health.
The Northside Residents Redevelopment Council Safety Committee Chair, Gayle Smaller, said in a press conference that their first goal is to try to figure out where all the guns are coming from: “Who has them, how they’re getting them and how we can engage with the kids that have them.”
Smaller was also careful to point out that the initiative was not connected to the Minneapolis Police Department. “As soon as they get the idea we’re working with the police, they shut us out,” he said. “But our ability to establish that separation and bring in real credible guys from the neighborhood allows those thugs to trust us.”
Fox9 reported that the pilot program is receiving one million in funding from the city of Minneapolis, but nothing is known about how much more they will need in the future.
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and the Star News Network. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]