Minneapolis Police, Faith Community Collaboration Draws Praise

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"21 Days of Peace," an outreach effort aimed at combating gun violence, assisted in 36 arrests and helped get 16 guns off the street, according to the Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner.

Georgia Fort reports:

State and city officials met with faith leaders Saturday to review the progress of “21 Days of Peace,” an outreach effort aimed at combating gun violence. Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo says the collaboration between police and the faith community was a success.

“We as a police department were never going to create safety by ourselves. If there is any narrative out there that says the opposite, that is patently false,” said Arradondo.

According to Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety John Harrington, 21 Days of Peace assisted in 36 arrests and helped get 16 guns off the street in an effort led by Pastor Jerry McAfee.

“This is not a game,” said McAfee. “Given the problems in our community, how in the world did the problem with police get to be the number one thing?”

More than 100 people attended Saturday’s meeting, including Sharon Smith-Akinsanya, CEO of the Rae Mackenzie Group. She says the success of the program is why she’s voting “no” on the upcoming charter amendment on public safety.

“The partnership between 21 Days of Peace and our law enforcement community - it’s working! Why would we want to stop that? So this ballot amendment that’s coming up needs to be struck down,” said Smith-Akinsanya.

There have been 69 homicides in the city of Minneapolis this year and more than 470 people injured from shootings. This weekend alone 11 were injured following seven shootings.

Advocates for the creation of a new department of public safety say that meaningful change requires addressing the root causes of crime and violence, such as poverty and unstable housing.

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