In the wake of the mass shooting at the Seventh Street Truck Park bar over the weekend, Securian Financial and Ecolab CEO are urging St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter to take a bold step against crime, especially downtown.
“The city of St. Paul is hurting,” Ecolab CEO Christoph Beck said in a letter to the mayor on Tuesday.
Christopher Hilger, president and CEO of Securian Financial, implied that without a strong response from the city, Securian — the city’s largest private downtown employer — could not ask its employees to return from working remotely.
“Our ability to encourage our employees to return to our corporate offices after working from home for 18 months during the pandemic depends on how they feel about the safety and vitality of the City of St. are,” Hilger said in a separate letter. Mayor on Tuesday
Securian sent copies of Hilger’s letter to St. Paul City Council members and St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell.
Carter, who is up for re-election for a second term on November 2, joined the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum on Tuesday, where she took tough questions from her challengers about the city’s rising murder rate. The forum was broadcast live by the St. Paul Neighborhood Network, a cable access station.
He appeared on WCCO’s Chad Hartman podcast on Monday, where he responded to an audio clip of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher saying that St. Paul police need more manpower to respond to the nearly record number of murders this year .
The mayor said officers arrived at the scene almost immediately and two murder suspects have been charged and taken into custody. “Lack of martial law, it’s not clear to me how one, 100 or 1,000 police officers would have turned up on Saturday night,” Carter said at the time.
The mayor, who has called for street ambassadors and other alternative public safety outreach, has authorized $1 million for police overtime, specifically targeted at downtown patrols. Some critics have noted that even after a new police academy, it would take a year or more for those recruits to be ready on the road.
Former Ramsey County Commissioner Dino Guerin, who works for Fletcher and will appear on November’s ballot, is among those calling for two police academies per year.
“I’m not asking for more police,” Jane, a member of St Paul’s City Council, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’m asking us to fill the authorized strength to 620 (sworn officers). We’re around 560 and fall right now. Every year we should have a spring or fall academy so we don’t have a huge drop in attrition .
Ecolab CEO Beck said in his letter: “For employers committed to the City of St. Paul, public safety must be a priority. We need to effectively reassure our employees that the City of St. Paul is safe.”