Established in advance: Saint Paul’s sitting city council is never going to be the most completely detached-from-reality elected body in the United States. Even if you leave out Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Berkeley, Cambridge and DC, we are across the river from Minneapolis.

But it’s not for lack of trying.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Ramco sheriff Bob Fletcher – his record of passive-aggression against law-abiding gun owners needs some atonement – but his current term in office has been notable for one of the most interesting social media experiments I’ve seen, his “Live On Patrol” weekly video stream.

The stream – which involves the Sheriff and his partner rolling “tape” for 2-3 hours on, usually, Friday nights around Ramsey County, mostly Saint Paul – have become a hit around the Metro and likely, elsewjhere, as Fletcher just drives from place to place and shows the viewer what Saint Paul is like after dark.

I’ve watched it a few times. As Fletcher notes in describing the show, “‘Live on Patrol’ focuses on community relations, instead of arrest. In addition to preventing crime, the goal … is to build community relationships and improved trust through transparency”

That runs directly counter to the interests of a good chunk of Saint Paul”s radical-left City Council. And they’ve made their displeasure known:

A resolution, which seeks an independent review of the show, is sponsored by council members Amy Brendmoen, Mitra Jalali and Rebecca Noecker and will be discussed at the council’s meeting on Wednesday.

Fletcher said his detractors don’t like that his livestreams show why police are needed.

“Some elected officials are opposed to ‘Live on Patrol’ because it builds trust with the police and that runs counter to their narrative to defund law enforcement,” Fletcher said. “Many council members would prefer the public not be aware of the current increase in violent crime. They are opposed to transparency when it reflects on their failure to keep the community safe.”

The council members are requesting the State of Minnesota Peace Officers Standards and Training Board evaluate the video to determine if it violates the Sheriff’s office’s policies and the Minnesota police code of conduct.

Should be an interesting meeting.

Brendmoen, the City Council president, said it’s not a political issue.

“We’re trying to answer questions that community members have brought to our attention,” she said Thursday, adding that those questions have included: “Why is an elected sheriff able to not wear a body camera while he’s on patrol? Why is a sheriff able to do this patrol with a camera on that’s violating what we believe are the St. Paul police’s rules of conduct and rules of pursuit?”

Brendmoen accuses Fletcher of violating SPPD rules of conduct – and he’s not a Saint Paul cop? Violating rules of pursuit, when (I saw this episode) he was probably seventh car back in a pack of cops pursuing a suspect on 35E?

If Brandmoen says it’s not a political issue, then it is a purely political issue. They see Fletcher – who, while neither conservative nor Republican, seems to be the closest thing the county has to a dissenter with any sort of even potential political oomph – not only gaining popularity, but doing it via media that outflank their political control. That’s got to make the non-profiteers nervous – being doctrinaire progressives from a single party autocracy, they have no idea how to deal with opposition, other than using the bureaucracy to shut them down.

Just like in any non-profit.

This episode may be the first example of oppositional politics outside a DFL convention in Saint Paul since Norm Coleman left the DFL.

13 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. Politicians call for transparency from Law Enforcement all the time. This is the definition of transparency and now they don’t like it. Let’s be honest, they don’t like it because of the popularity of the live stream and the “fan” base the Sheriff has. If you watch it, Fletcher goes out of his way to interact with the community.

    Maybe the city council should do that as well.

  2. Of course they do.

    And sometimes – as, I suspect, this time – those “calls” are really virtue-signalling intended to impugn dissent.

    And just like the pols, I get to say as much.

    By your indulgent leave.

  3. I don’t believe the St. Paul City Council has any jurisdiction over Ramsay County government officials, though I’m sure they all have happy hour together at the same trough.

    As far as this not being a “political issue”, the fact that Brendmoen is involved means it absolutely is a political issue; she doesn’t take an interest in anything that isn’t.

  4. Meanwhile, a resident of St Paul, some youngster associated with the MN House GOP, an Andrew Wagner reports that he

    Woke up to the sound of 50+ gunshots two blocks south of my place. Zero surprise to read this morning it took place at house that’s notorious in the neighborhood because of frequent shootings, fights, and open-air drug use. Do something about this MayorCarter

    I believe I also read yesterday, that St Paul, the quieter and less stressed of the two Twins, is on the way to setting a new homicide record. But Sheriff Fletcher is driving around and filming!

  5. “…it took place at house that’s notorious in the neighborhood because of frequent shootings, fights, and open-air drug use. Do something about this Mayor Carter”

    Not only will he not do anything effective about it, he will not even acknowledge the root cause because it directly implicates the political party and system that provides him with his power and loot.

    When it comes to the inconvenient truth of the consequences of their programs, Democrats are just as skilled at denial as their Soviet forbearers.

  6. Let’s define terms. “Politics” is short hand for public policy.
    What a public official does when he/she is acting as a public official is always politics.

  7. Mitch, the comment it seems to which you are replying, isn’t there. The only one above you is Emery, and he sounds amazingly coherent in his comment. Not nearly toned in a way which requires your response below him at 11:23…

  8. After re-reading both again a couple times, I now understand your response. However, I didn’t take his comment as saying you shouldn’t talk about it. I took it as “this is the response of a stopped clock which is still correct twice a day.”

  9. The Ramsey County Board has some roll in supervising Fletcher’s Sheriff’s Office, namely they set his budget. Not too surprising, Fletcher is suing the Board over the budget.
    The St. Paul City Council on the other hand, can’t do anything, and as St. Paul is within Fletcher’s jurisdiction, they can’t keep him out.

  10. Amy Brendmoen: “Ah, hello. Well first of all I’d like to apologize for the behaviour of certain of my city’s police force you may have seen earlier on Sheriff Fletcher’s television program, but they are from broken homes, circus families and so on and they are in no way representative of the new modern improved City of Saint Paul police force. They are a small vociferous minority; and may I take this opportunity of emphasizing that there is no violent crime in Saint Paul. Absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than we are prepared to admit, but all new Saint Paul residents are warned that if they wake up in the morning and find any bullet holes at all anywhere on their bodies, they’re to tell me immediately so that I can immediately take every measure to hush the whole thing up.”

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