Gov. Walz, state law enforcement discuss public safety presence

(ABC 6 News) – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and state law enforcement leadership on Thursday discussed in a conference the state’s public safety presence.

Governor Walz was joined by Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans, Interim Metro Transit Police Chief Richard Gates and Minnesota State Patrol Lieutenant Colonel Shelly Schrofer.

The event comes one day after several schools across the state were threatened by active shooter hoax calls and a bomb threat at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

Harrington said those swatting hoax active shooter incidents remain under investigation, but one person is believed to be responsible for them all. He added that partners from across the country had alerted the state and local departments that a similar large-scale incident was a possibility.

RELATED: Multiple Minnesota schools receive false active shooter calls

Evans said the BCA continues to work with local agencies to crack down on violent crime specifically in the Twin Cities, which he said has resulted in nearly 400 arrests, the seizure of 244 illegal guns and the recovery of almost 20,000 fentanyl pills since the spring.

Evans also called attention to the BCA’s recent seizure of “rainbow fentanyl” in the Mankato area, the first time the agency has seen that in the state.

“Our role is to provide specialized resources, expertise, analysis, systems so that local agencies can make decisions and keep their communities safe. And that’s the role of the state, is to provide that assistance, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in the city of Minneapolis and surrounding areas, and have been doing so,” Evans said.

Walz was also asked about the Feeding Our Future indictments that were announced earlier this week. While criticizing the “absolute heartlessness” of taking money from hungry children, he defended the state’s efforts in identifying and trying to stop the fraud, and also blamed the court that forced the state to continue paying the organization despite the serious fraud suspicions.

“We caught this fraud, we caught it very early, we alerted the right people, we were taken to court, we were sued, we were threatened with going to jail, we stuck with it, we got the FBI out there, and we have 48 people under indictment,” the governor said.

RELATED: Feds charge 47, including 4 from Rochester, in ‘Feeding Our Future’ COVID-19 fraud scheme

Finally, Walz called on Minnesotans to come together to slow crime and expressed support for law enforcement.

Also, earlier this month, the The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety released data of the states Labor Day DWI campaign that ran from August 19 to September 5 showing a more than 10% increase in driving while impaired arrests this summer versus last summer.

RELATED: Extra Labor Day patrols lead to 10% increase in DWI arrests vs 2021

In addition, the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) is extending its Highway Enforcement for Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) program through the end of the year.

As a result, motorists will continue to see a significant State Patrol presence on highways across the state while troopers focusing on excessive speeding and criminal activity.

RELATED: MSP extends HEAT program through end of year, targeting speeding, criminal activity

Watch the full news conference from our partner station KSTP-TV below.