In order to fight violent crimes throughout Minnesota the HEALS (Hope, Education, and Law and Safety) program was established over 10 years ago. This unique program involves both corporate commitments and public agencies in collaboration to help reduce violent crime.
One of the corporate sponsorâ€™s for HEALS is Honeywell, Inc. Back in 1996, a New York Times article named Minneapolis as â€œMurderapolisâ€ reflecting a sharp rise in homicides from 60 in 1994 to 86 in 1996. Honeywellâ€™s world headquarters is located in one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in Minneapolis. As a result, Honeywell was concerned for the safety of its employees and property and for the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhood. Honeywell decided that in order to remain in the inner city, it had to do something about violent crime.
In 1997, Honeywell’s chief executive officer recruited other CEO’s from private corporations such as Allina Health Systems, 3M, General Mills, and the staff of the Minnesota Business Partnership. They met with the Governor to share their concerns about the escalating local and statewide crime rates. The Governor pledged his support and a series of planning meetings were held with the business community along with Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies where they developed the Law Enforcement Task Force.
Today, Minnesota HEALS is a 61-member organization made up of private corporations and local government agencies. This includes the chiefs of police and mayorsâ€™ offices of Minneapolis and St. Paul, sheriffâ€™s offices, attorneysâ€™ offices and commissioners from Hennepin and Ramsey counties. With 25 to 30 law enforcement representatives from the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments’ gang, homicide, and narcotics units, the probation department; and Federal agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ATF, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office the HEAL program targets specific groups such as gangs, homicide suspects and helps victims of these crimes.
The Minnesota HEALS program offers a rapid response team, saturation patrols, state gang task force and community and prevention strategies.