Temporary gang strike force begins operation next weekby Tom Crann, Minnesota Public Radio,
Toni Randolph, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The new temporary strike force targeting gang activity in the Twin Cities will be up and running starting next Monday, July 13.
About a dozen officers from law enforcement agencies in St. Paul, Maplewood, Richfied, Dakota, Ramsey and Hennepin Counties were named to the new gang unit Tuesday. They'll replace the Metro Gang Strike Force, which was suspended indefinitely last month after an audit criticized how the unit handled seized and forfeited property.
The board also chose to relocate the interim force to Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension headquarters in St Paul. The temporary force will use the BCA's evidence rooms and adopt their evidence handling procedures.
Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mike Campion says the new unit will be less than half the size of the suspended strike force. He also said that the commander of the old unit, Captain Chris Omodt, will lead the new unit, but none of officers from the old unit will remain.
"Is it less than ideal? Yes," Campion said. "Does it serve a need, fill a gap, add a value? We certainly think that it does. We readily recognize that this is not the ideal situation. Experienced people, and certainly more of them, would be the best scenario possible."
Campion has direct oversight over the BCA and he called for the FBI investigation into Metro Gang Strike Force operations. He joined Tom Crann on All Things Considered to talk about the temporary strike force and how it will operate.
- All Things Considered, 07/07/2009, 5:24 p.m.
Tom Crann is the host of All Things Considered for MPR News.