ST. PAUL - State Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, is authoring a bill to help ensure people who visit regional or statewide sports or entertainment facilities are protected by adequate numbers of peace officers.
“We’ve heard from constituents firsthand the concerns about being downtown to attend events,” Demuth said. “This past summer, my family chose to attend a day game partly due to concerns about being downtown late in the evening. There have been horrific incidents just feet from the entrance to Target Field, across the street from US Bank Stadium, and near Allianz Field.”
Demuth indicated that, over the past 20 years, there has been a 20-percent increase in the Minneapolis population. Meantime, she said, there has been a 22-percent decrease in sworn officers per 1,000 residents.
Her bill would identify a list of regional and statewide sports or entertainment facilities in the state and establish peace officer staffing standards for the protection of visitors to the designated facilities. Cities would be required to have adequate law enforcement at those venues, or risk losing Local Government Aid from the state.
“Minnesota taxpayers should be able to attend the venues they helped build and pay for without fearing for their safety,” Demuth said. “My bill would help bring this issue into focus and make sure event attendees receive the protection they deserve.”
Demuth’s proposal is part of a five-bill “Safety in our Cities” package House Republicans rolled out Monday at the Capitol to heighten public safety in response to a rise in violent crime on Metro Transit systems and in many parts of the Twin Cities. Together, the bills target many of the issues driving crime in the metro area, including gang and drug trafficking activity, as well as the need for additional officers and tools for law enforcement to combat crime on the light rail lines and in communities.