ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, said House Republicans have issued a package of bills aimed at improving public safety amid soaring violent crime rates in Minnesota.
Urdahl said the package focuses on three key areas: crime prevention and accountability for criminals; police recruitment and retention; and holding the criminal justice system accountable.
“Public safety is a cornerstone of our government’s responsibilities and Minnesota’s surge in violent crime suggests improvements are needed in that regard,” Urdahl said. “The bills we have assembled provide common-sense solutions to help keep Minnesotans and our visitors safe.”
Urdahl said a spike in carjackings may be the most glaring example of why action is needed. Minneapolis police reported 655 carjackings last year alone – with only 91 related arrests. A measure in the House Republican public safety plan makes carjacking a new criminal offense with increasing penalties for the level of violence.
Minnesota also must ensure local law enforcement agencies have enough officers on patrol, Urdahl said, and that they have the resources they need to do their jobs. House Republicans are offering legislation to bolster law enforcement recruitment numerous ways, including providing education reimbursements and Pathways to Policing program funding.
“Law enforcement officers have been leaving their posts in droves the past year or so,” Urdahl said. “We need to replenish our law enforcement ranks one way or another and the ideas we put forward could be part of that puzzle. It also would help if we could put an end to the damaging anti-police rhetoric. Thankfully, people in our particular area already are overwhelmingly supportive of law enforcement officers and their public service.”
Urdahl also said data shows that judges statewide are departing from the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines at a troubling rate and issuing lesser sentences for more violent criminals. House Republicans have authored several bills on this subject to increase transparency and to help us better understand why violent criminals continue slipping through the cracks in Minnesota.