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Suburban police chiefs make call to community regarding gun violence

Violent crime is up 23% across Hennepin County, and suburban chiefs want communities to know it isn't just Minneapolis driving the trend.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — Brazen is the word that comes to mind when at 3:30 in the afternoon last week at a Brooklyn Park strip mall, a group of four men surrounds another, and it quickly turns into a shootout.

"I've been here 30-plus years, and I've never seen the amount of people shooting each other, shooting cars, shooting houses," said Brooklyn Park Police Chief Craig Enevoldsen.

Brooklyn Park isn't alone. Crystal has had similar incidents, including an incident where two men rolled out of a car fighting on a residential street one afternoon, and then started shooting each other.

"People think they can do whatever they want right now. I'm not sure why that is," said Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering.

"They think the police don't matter. I think people have been listening to anti-police rhetoric through the region, through the state and through the country, and just believe that their police department isn't legitimate," Enevoldsen said.

Enevoldsen and other suburban Twin Cities police chiefs are speaking out because as nationwide calls to reform police continue, violent crime is escalating, and needs to be addressed as well.

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"We can have this conversation, too, along with all the other conversations that are happening around policing," said Plymouth Police Chief Erik Fadden. "But to know that we are pleading with the public right now to partner with us to just try to make their communities safer."

Fadden is fortunate to have received 200 tips in the recent high-profile shooting death of a youth baseball coach right on Highway 169.  

Enevoldsen says community help solving crimes in Brooklyn Park has never been lower.

"People at the scene refuse to cooperate. Witnesses won't cooperate. We've had victims who are shot, and while we're tending to their injuries, asking their name and where they live, refusing to tell us that," Enevoldsen said.

Chief Revering believes people are afraid to call 911 and share what they know when these shootings happen.

Collectively, they are making a public plea for support to address the increase in violent crime as well as continuing reform.

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