Protecting your Business During Civil Unrest, Part I

Protecting your Business During Civil Unrest, Part I Main Photo

22 Feb 2021

The St. Paul Chief of Police sent this message to all our businesses:

Dear Saint Paul Business Leaders,

I’m writing to make you aware of upcoming events that may affect the safety and operations of your businesses.

On Monday, March 8, the high-profile court proceedings involving former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin are scheduled to begin in Minneapolis. They are expected to draw people from across the country to the Twin Cities for protests, marches and demonstrations.

I want you to know that the Saint Paul Police Department has been working tirelessly to prepare for any incidents that occur in Minnesota’s capital city. In addition, our department is  part of a multiorganizational effort to coordinate public safety activities throughout the metro.

The goal is to protect people, property and free speech during the trial—and prevent the type of destruction that occurred last year when some used the cloak of protest to burglarize and burn businesses.

Over the last several months, we’ve taken a variety of steps to prepare:

  • Every Saint Paul police officer will be made available to keep the city safe throughout the proceedings, and nearby agencies have agreed to provide mutual aid, if needed.
  • Our Special Operations Unit has been conducting field training with the St. Paul Fire Department and our mutual aid partners for several weeks to ensure we are prepared for emergencies.
  • We’ll continue to reach out to groups that have been involved in protests, demonstrations and marches in the past so we can be prepared to safely facilitate their events.
  • We’re making our expectations of protesters clear: Violence and destructive behavior will not be tolerated.
  • Gov. Walz has activated the Minnesota National Guard to help keep the peace during any protests, marches and demonstrations. We’ll have more than 1,000 guard members assigned to Saint Paul throughout the proceedings.

In addition, we’ll be taking steps to protect critical infrastructure in the city.

We also want to help local businesses prepare for unrest. Based on our experience, the businesses that are most at-risk are neighborhood markets and those that sell alcohol, tobacco, cell phones or shoes; dispense prescription medication; and have ATMs. It might be a good idea to consider limiting inventory that makes your business a target.

Attached to this email is a flyer (Protecting Your Business During Civil Unrest) that can help you plan, prepare and partner with the SPPD.

We’ll also hold virtual Burglary Prevention Workshops where our crime prevention specialists will talk about action you can take to secure your buildings and businesses. We’ll provide more information about the workshops once they’re scheduled.

I encourage you to read the flyer, connect with our crime prevention specialists and then connect with the Senior Commander in your district if you have any questions about SPPD preparations and what you can do to protect yourself:

I want you to know that your city is in good hands. We have an exceptional team of public safety professionals working together to keep you, your employees and your businesses safe.

Thank you for all you do for our city.

Most sincerely and respectfully,

Todd Axtell
Chief of Police