Duluth Police to tackle mental health, gun violence, staffing challenges in 2023

News conference to review 2022 public safety report
News conference to review 2022 public safety report(northern news now)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 9:20 AM CST
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DULUTH, MN. -- On Thursday, Duluth Police Chief Mike Ceynowa and Mayor Larson held a news conference, looking back on a challenging year in public safety and laying out their goals for 2023.

“2022 has been marked with success, transitions, and challenges for the Duluth Police Department,” Duluth Police Chief Mike Ceynowa said.

Ceynowa, who took for the now-retired Chief Mike Tusken, said one of the biggest challenges his department faced was major staffing shortages seen here and across the country.

“We will start 2023 off with 22 sworn staff down,” Ceynowa said.

He said his department also saw a rise in mental health calls relating to gun violence.

“This number increased from 28 in 2021 to 41 in 2022,” Ceynowa said. “This increase occurred largely because of an increase in self-inflicted and accidental shootings, along with suicides.”

Ceynowa also noted the growing opioid problems within the community, but also a significant increase in lives saved using Narcan.

“We thought we were on pace to have a record of overdose deaths this year,” said Ceynowa. “However, that number only increased by one, which is far too many. "

While they saw a stabilized rate of overdose deaths, Duluth Police also reported what they called a significant drop in overall crime last year.

Data showed calls for serious offenses dropped by 1,600 incidents and smaller crimes dropping by 300 incidents.

As for their 2023 goals, officers will continue working with groups like CHUM and CORE to bring down crime and violence brought on by mental health crises.

“To know that we are measuring crime in these very tangible ways,” Duluth Mayor, Emily Larson, said. “Crime is going down. We are seeing greater confidence in safety in our community right now.”

Ceynowa also stated that the DPD will continue their Racial Bias Audit process that began last October.