Editor's Note: The following is a city council memorandum from July 12, 2012, written by City Manager Steve Devich.
The City of Richfield assists the 4th of July Committee in hosting and annual 4th of July Celebration. The event culminates with a fireworks display at Veterans Memorial Park the night of July 4th.
The Richfield Police Department, in partnership with Hennepin County deputies, provides a strong police presence and takes aggressive enforcement actions when appropriate during the evening of July 4th when the park is very crowded with large groups of people.
This year, deputies and officers initiated 19 calls for service in the park (the number of actual police calls was higher) and the majority of these contacts were near the carnival. These contacts included disorderly conduct, assault and weapons violations. In addition, there were nine different street gangs identified in the park.
More importantly, officers identified and arrested a 17 year old gang member and a 19 year old gang member in the park with guns. Officers made contact with a third individual leaving the park, who also had a handgun. Charges are pending on all of the suspects arrested.
Violent Offender Task Force officers (VOTF), assisting in the security detail and familiar with gangs in the metro area, were surprised that Richfield didn't have more problems with the mix of Minneapolis north-side gangs present at the event this year.
Although there may be a number of contributing factors for calls for service during the 4th of July events, the Police Department believes the carnival is the primary source of concern and attraction for the gang presence. The that end, staff recommends that the City Council consider discouraging the inclusion of a carnival at future 4th of July celebrations in Richfield.
If Council Members have any questions concerning this matter or wish to discuss it further, please let me know.
Steven L. Devich