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Starting this week, the University of Minnesota Police Department will take the lead in responding to all 911 calls near its Twin Cities-East Bank campus as part of a new aid agreement with Minneapolis police.

UMPD's jurisdiction has historically been limited to property owned or leased by the college, though its officers frequently assist other departments investigating crimes reported in the areas surrounding campuses that span three cities. Responding to a staffing shortage in the Minneapolis Police Department, UMPD will be responsible for all emergency calls in a busy swath of Dinkytown, a Minneapolis area occupied by mostly students, per the new agreement that went into effect Monday and runs for one year.

In a Board of Regents meeting earlier this month, UMPD Chief Matt Clark said Minneapolis police have had "limited capacity" to respond to 911 calls in recent years, "and many of our campus community folks are waiting a long time to get a response from MPD based on historic low [staffing] numbers."

Clark said UMPD is also stretched thin on staffing, but the department felt a responsibility to help fill the need near campus.

UMPD will respond to all calls in an area covering University Ave to 4th Street SE, and 35-W to Oak Street SE, said university spokesman Jake Ricker.

Last year, UMPD responded to more than 20,000 calls — 10% off campus — Clark told the Regents this month. He said the department employs 58 officers, 15 short of being fully staffed, and they've been working overtime to step up patrols at night and on weekends near campus.

At the same time, violent crime in Dinkytown has dropped about 60% since 2021, Clark said. It hasn't vanished, however, as evidenced by a December brawl inside a neighborhood tobacco shop that led to the shooting deaths of two men.

Minneapolis police will still respond to violent crime calls under the new agreement, said Minneapolis Police Department spokesman Garrett Parten.

"The mutual aid change strengthens our long-standing, existing partnership," he said. "We will continue to work closely together, respond in a more coordinated manner, and be more responsive to the public safety needs in these neighborhoods near the U of M."

The Marcy Holmes neighborhood, which includes Dinkytown, as a whole saw violent crime increase by about 60% in 2021 compared to 2019, tracking with a citywide trend of rising violent crime beginning in 2020, according to Minneapolis police data.

The agreement with the university is the latest in a series of strategic changes in Minneapolis to augment an unprecedented officer shortage. Hundreds of police officers have left since 2020 — some taking costly settlements for post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosed after rioting — supercharging a wave of attrition and retirements that police leaders had been warning about for years. Earlier this year, the department hit 40% below the staffing levels prior to 2020, when a pandemic and rioting after the murder of George Floyd disrupted the status quo.

While leaning on law enforcement partnerships to help bring down violent crime, the Police Department has launched several new programs to boost recruiting, including a $950,000 marketing campaign that went live this month. Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara has repeatedly said the new normal relies heavily on overtime and is not sustainable in the long term.

Star Tribune data reporter Jeff Hargarten contributed to this story.