Savage Police are calling on city officials to invest in greater security measures surrounding the police headquarters and town hall properties.
In a business meeting on Monday, city staff urged Savage City Council to invest about $ 160,000 in fencing material to cordon off the property in the event of civil unrest or other emergencies.
Savage City administrator Brad Larson pointed to the Brooklyn Center in a location for fencing material, alluding to the arson that destroyed Minneapolis 3rd Ward last year following the murder by George Floyd.
In April, when protests against Daunte Wright’s murder erupted outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, chain-link security fences surrounded the property.
Larson said the fence, which the Brooklyn Center had readily available due to previous unrest issues, helped prevent another police station fire.
Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer said local officers were on “high alert” in light of civil unrest and perceived threats in surrounding communities, such as Burnsville and Shakopee.
“We have threats on either side of us and we’re in the middle and I don’t want that to happen in the town of Savage,” he said.
Council member Bob Coughlen insisted on the need to “militarize our campus,” a characterization with which Seurer said he disagreed.
To secure the city campus, a permanent fence would be needed around the rear of the property where the terrain is too difficult to place a temporary fence, according to Larson.
Temporary fencing could then be used if necessary to secure the rest of the campus in an emergency.
Seurer is also asking for a permanent fence to secure the parking lot for police personnel at the entrance to the police garage.
He said it’s not uncommon for the public to walk through the police parking lot, making officers uncomfortable – sometimes a person will be spotted walking in the middle of the night.
“The majority, I think, were playing Pokémon,” Seurer explained. “But still, it raises a red flag.”
Other incidents – such as burst tires and spikes on the sides of vehicles – were of more concern, Seurer said, adding that members of the department “would greatly appreciate” safer parking.
Council member Matt Johnson said he supported the plan, but wanted to pay attention to the aesthetics.
Council member Christine Kelly also stressed the importance of maintaining a welcoming atmosphere if plans to add fencing go ahead.
“I feel like this is the building of our people,” she said, referring to the citizens of Savage.