FAQs about Operation Safety Net

​​​​​Frequently asked questions about Operation Safety Net​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What is Operation Safety Net?

Operation Safety Net is a coordinated effort to ensure the safety of the public during the trial of Derek Chauvin. The organizations participating in Operation Safety Net are committed to protecting people, property, and freedom of speech.​

Why is Operation Safety Net necessary?

This trial is of significant public interest and as people gather to exercise their rights, public safety professionals are making plans to keep everyone safe and respond to challenges as they arise. Across the country and here in Minnesota, peaceful groups have been targeted by individuals intent on doing harm. Operation Safety Net was created in preparation of this event to facilitate First Amendment speech while also protecting people and property from individuals intent on doing harm.

What is Operation Safety Net's mission?

  • Preserve and protect lawful First Amendment non-violent protests and demonstrations.

  • Prevent large-scale violent civil disturbances, assaultive actions, property damage, fires, and looting to government buildings, businesses, and critical infrastructure.

Who is leading Operation Safety Net?

This is a joint effort between the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the State of Minnesota, as well as the Metro Transit, Ramsey County, and other local jurisdictions. Agencies that are part of the effort include: Minneapolis Police, Metro Transit Police, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Minnesota National Guard, and other entities.

These agencies will be operating under unified command in order to coordinate their services and resources. Unified command means multiple voices from involved agencies contribute to the operational decisions.

The City of Saint Paul is leading a parallel planning effort as part of the East Metro Response Group which includes Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, the State Patrol, the Minnesota National Guard and other entities. Operation Safety Net and the East Metro Response Group are working together closely to ensure a unified response.​

Will other agencies or levels of government be providing support?

Yes, as part of the mutual aid system other agencies from around the metro and the state will be part of supporting the coordinated response under unified command.

What is the role of the National Guard?

At the request of Mayors Carter and Frey, Governor Walz​ activated the Minnesota National Guard to assist in a wide range of emergency situations and support public safety related to the trial.

In addition to their federal missions serving the nation overseas, the Minnesota National Guard helps on missions here at home in Minnesota. Over the past year, the Guard has played a critical role supporting the State of Minnesota, including running COVID-19 testing sites, helping take care of residents in long term care facilities when too many staff were sick due to COVID-19, assisting with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination effort, and helping to protect Minnesota communities during challenging times including civil unrest, spring flooding, and dangerous winter storms.

What is the timeline for the trial?

Learn more about the trial on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website​.​

Where can I get the most current and accurate information about Operation Safety Net and law enforcement activities?

The Operation Safety Net website and ​social media channels are the best place to receive the most official, accurate and up-to-date public safety information. Please follow these accounts:

What can Minnesotans expect to see?

For the duration of the trial, Minneapolis, Saint Paul and metro area residents will begin to see equipment, barricades, fencing, traffic control, National Guard vehicles, and helicopters. There may be temporary closures and restrictions for streets, parking, and other facilities.

Why this level of security?

Extremist groups may view the trial as an opportunity to do harm. Threats could include individuals with a radicalized ideology intent on disrupting the trial or seizing an opportunity to do harm. This level of security is necessary to ensure the trial can occur and that those who gather are safe.

​Is this level of security planning happening because law enforcement thinks the public will be unhappy with the verdict?

Keeping the public safe during all phases of the trial is critical, as is ensuring the justice system can do its job. The court, prosecutors, and defense attorneys will argue this case, and ultimately jurors will decide the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Making sure that the trial can be carried out safely and without interruption is part of securing justice.​

Will there be protests?

Part of the reason we need to do this level of planning is we have concerns that people exercising their rights around both the trial itself, the death of George Floyd, and other related issues may be targeted.  Extremist groups have before, and might again, view these issues and the trial as an opportunity to do harm. This level of security is necessary to ensure the trial can occur and that those who gather are safe, in addition to protecting property.

What activities are encouraged? What are unlawful activities?

The organizations participating in Operation Safety Net want Minnesotans to have clarity about which activities are encouraged, and which activities are unlawful.

Encouraged Activity

  • Peaceful assembly
  • Marching (not on a freeway)
  • Making your voice heard
  • Exercising constitutional rights
  • Remaining in public areas
  • Signs and other peaceful expressions
  • Assembling in designated areas

Unlawful Activity

  • Protesting on or entering a freeway as a pedestrian
  • Throwing objects
  • Setting a fire of any kind
  • Damaging property or graffiti
  • Use of illegal fireworks
  • Display or use of illegal weapons
  • Reckless driving, especially near pedestrians

Can people protest on the freeway?

The State Patrol supports the right to exercise one's First Amendment rights, but the freeway is not the place to do so. An interstate freeway is used by everyone, including emergency vehicles that are involved in life-saving missions. It is illegal to walk on the freeway and blocking traffic is dangerous for both pedestrians and motorists.​​​​​​​​​

What are the best numbers to call to report suspicious activity or an emergency in Minneapolis?

  • 911: Life safety emergencies requiring an immediate response from police, fire or EMS.​
  • 612-673-5335: Tips to Minneapolis police about suspicious activity not requiring an immediate response.​
  • 612-673-2499: Minneapolis business and property owners with questions about business operations during the trial and general information about regulations and resources.
  • 311: For non-emergency city information.​​​