If you are traveling on I-94 between downtown and I-694, you may notice a heavier than usual presence of State Patrol on this stretch of 94.

The Minnesota State Patrol announced the increase in patrols for the next 10 days to attempt to curb the increase in excessive speeders and those that attempt to flee law enforcement.

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According to FOX 9, the Highway Enforcement for Aggressive Traffic aka HEAT, will take place at night on I-94 between downtown and I-694. It will run 7 PM to 1 AM.  The State Patrol will also have a helicopter to assist in tracking those that flee patrols.

"Some drivers are speeding for no reason, while others are fleeing police after committing a crime," Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol said in a release. "These HEAT patrols will increase our presence on the freeways so we can stop speeders and catch criminals who attempt to escape. If you don’t pull over we’re going to find you with our aviation assets."

The area that HEAT is taking place has had it's share of crime recently, raising public safety concerns. Two separate shootings took place on this part of I-94 last week and surrounding neighborhoods have been experiencing a concerning amount of gun violence, according to Colonel Langer of the State Patrol.

"I think it’s really twofold. It’s the amount of violent crime in that area and on the freeway as well as the ridiculous speeds that we see. It’s time to get that under control and for us to step up to the plate do everything we can to fix whatever we can fix," Colonel Langer said.

There has been some criticism of the State Patrol operation along this stretch of I-94. "There is no evidence that people are more prone to speeding or committing crimes on the targeted stretch of highway than on any other.  Instead, this appears to be the kind of discriminatory targeting of people of color that led to the death of Daunte Wright.  It is not lost on us that Brooklyn Center is one of the targeted communities." 

"Communities United Against Police Brutality condemns all discriminatory law enforcement activities and specifically condemns the State Patrol’s HEAT program.  We demand this poorly conceived plan be curtailed."

"We hear all different opinions related to more policing or less policing. This is common sense. Speeders are out of control and there’s a violent crime and one of the things that we can do to solve that is to ask our state troopers to go over there and do what they’re really good at and that’s to combat speeding and crime," Colonel Langer said.

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