Governor Walz hosts roundtable with Duluth public safety officials

[anvplayer video=”5092341″ station=”998130″]

Governor Walz in Duluth today, continuing his statewide public safety tour. The Governor is proposing a $300 million dollar public safety plan which would fund different departments across Minnesota to better public safety.

Governor Walz saying, "$300 million in this budget to allow them to make the decisions that they know best. That would mean hiring more police in some areas. It’ll be the precision policing that you see in cities like Duluth using social service work."

The proposal would also fund other public safety departments, like fire departments.Governor Walz says, "the takeaway is, is to continue to see this innovation that we’re seeing is that we need to resources we need to do so now.”

Duluth public safety officials in approval of the legislation. Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken says, "And in fact, one of the things I love about this legislation is the fact that The Governor is going to earmark money that’s going to come to our communities. But it doesn’t come with requirements to do certain projects."

Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj says, "Cities across all of Minnesota, including Duluth, just really have a hard time funding with just the regular tax base, grant money, or things that are the federal dollars that we’ve got. And there’s usually restrictions on those."

Amongst the disparities in Duluth; infrastructure, technology, and recruitment are all problems the departments are facing. Chief Tusken says, "We’re about a 15% down from our full staffing. It is a problem. It’s a problem here at the city of Duluth, it’s a problem across the state of Minnesota, it’s a problem across the nation."

And now public safety departments are facing more calls regarding mental health emergencies.

“We recognize that we have to have more tools in our tool belt. And those include having core responder models and pairing police officers with social workers to have a more robust response, so that we can get people the help they need."