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A Ride-Along With Minneapolis Police Shows How Staffing Shortages Have Officers Stretched Thin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Last week was one of the most violent in city history with 27 shootings.

The Minneapolis Police Department is down more than 250 officers, leaving them time only to react to crimes committed across the city.

Our crew spent the afternoon and evening with Sgt. Andrew Schroeder, who patrols city-wide and is now focused on the city's north side.


For 10 to 12 hours a day, Schroeder's office is his Chevy Tahoe. He works the north side as part of a special unit designed to tackle crime.

"The gun investigation unit, so that unit is responsible for illegal guns, shootings," Schroeder said.

His expertise is needed.

The high number of calls for help center around guns in what police say are two of the most active gangs driving violence -- the Highs and the Lows.

"Each...have their own subset of gangs," Schroeder said.

Crime fighting has changed for Minneapolis police now that people are altering guns to make them fire automatically.

"Before it used to be bang, bang, bang, and now it's burrrtttttt," Schroeder said.

Our crew spent the bulk of the afternoon chasing calls.

With four officers out with COVID-19, a squad from another precinct was helping out.

On a typical night, 10 squads patrol the north side. On this night, just two were in service.

A lack of officers forced Schroeder to respond, search for evidence and investigate.

"You can see it went through his garbage can and then there is the bullet," Schroeder said, while investigating a shooting.

Then the next call came.

A running gun battle, from 37th and Girard to 40th. Shattered glass and bullet casings were left behind. There's much an officer can do when for the past hour-and-a-half they are the only squad in service in north Minneapolis.

"The people expect a level of service," Schroeder said. "I would, and often times we can't give it, not because we don't want to, but we're just not able to right now."

A shooting in south Minneapolis sends officers from across the city to Phelps Park, where a teenager was shot.

Bullet casings and an extended clip were discovered at the scene.

"It's a clear one, so I can actually see the bullets. It's got 14 in there, looks like it's half-full, so probably a 30-rounder," Schroeder said.

While officers were investigating this shooting, calls for help continued to go unanswered.


During the ride-along, Schroeder responded to more than 20 calls, including three shootings and a stabbing.

Officers say they are doing their best considering staffing levels, but say that this unsustainable for the department and the community.

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