Scott County law enforcement officials said local police departments are considering additional training and equipment following protests in the metro over the killing of George Floyd.
Prior Lake Police Chief Steve Frazer told local officials during a recent Scott County Association Leadership and Efficiency meeting that area police chiefs met last week and discussed increasing their "crowd management" training and riot gear in the wake of civil unrest in the Twin Cities.
"The sheriffs and chiefs from Scott County and then the Carver County Sheriff have been looking at what we're ready for and what our preparedness level is and what's the commonality of our equipment and training," Frazer said. "We realized that there's probably some gaps in areas that we can fill in on that."
National protests radiated out from Minneapolis after video emerged of three Minneapolis police officers pinning a handcuffed, 46-year-old Floyd to the ground by kneeling on his neck and a fourth officer holding back a crowd. Floyd died in police custody.
A video of the arrest, in which Floyd, of St. Louis Park, is heard pleading “I can't breathe,” sparked international outrage and calls for change.
The FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are currently investigating Floyd's death. Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were fired in connection to the incident and now face criminal charges ranging from second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and aiding and abetting.
Frazer said that area law enforcement agencies are working on implementing additional training around crowd management "sometime in the next 60 days."
He said that the agencies would likely return to the SCALE body for a funding request for additional police equipment as the agencies are "all at different equipment readiness and preparedness" levels.
"Very little (equipment) that says 'law enforcement' on it is cheap in the world," Frazer added.
He said that he estimates it would cost about $1,000 per police officer to outfit them with proper equipment to respond to the types of crowds seen in recent protests and that it could cost close to $250,000 to cover the county's 240 officers.
Frazer said the additional training may mean local agencies are able to respond to situations across the state.
Scott County Sheriff Luke Hennen said the county made arrangements to accept inmates from Hennepin and Ramsey county as law enforcement began arresting protesters in late May and early June.
The county made plans to send officers to respond to the Twin Cities if asked, however, no officers were called to join the state's response to protests in Saint Paul or Minneapolis, he said.
"We had one of our jail pods ready for inmates to show up on a bus anytime," Hennen said. "We were ready to call people in in the middle of the night. Both those pieces were put on standby mode — they were never utilized — but we were ready for that."
Hennen said that the county increased security around the government and law enforcement center after the Dakota County Courthouse was set on fire on May 29 during the riots. A Savage man and Long Lake man were federally charged in connection with the incident.