You are Invited to a Community Gathering on Proposed Reframing of Public Safety in The Minneapolis Charter.
The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police set off a worldwide wave of protests, including an uprising here in our city that left hundreds of businesses and homes damaged or destroyed. It is clear that the status quo is broken, and that it is time to make a transformative change to the way that we approach community safety. I believe that we have a unique opportunity and an obligation to transform the way we provide for each other’s safety this year in our City. The Council unanimously passed a resolution committing to do just that on June 12, stating that “the City Council will commence a year long process of community engagement, research, and structural change to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety in our city”: https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/Download/File/3810/Transforming%20Community%20Safety%20Resolution.pdf.
As a next step, on June 26 the Council voted unanimously to put forward a Charter amendment, which I hope will be on this year’s ballot. Folks can find it here: https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/Download/File/3866/MPD%20Charter%20Amendment_VII%20062420%20Final.pdf.
This amendment, if placed on the ballot, will do a few major things. It will remove the Police Department as a Charter department, and replace it with a new Community Safety and Violence Prevention department, which will “have responsibility for public safety services, prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach.” It will not preclude the City from continuing to employ licensed police officers, but will also not require us to do so. The law enforcement division, if we choose to have one, will report to the Community Safety department, and the director of Community Safety will appoint the head of law enforcement, with the Council’s approval.
I strongly favor this change, which in my view is a necessary first step that will give us the flexibility we need to make the deep community engagement we will be doing on the future of community safety meaningful. Whatever the results of that engagement, and the path forward we all choose together, this Charter amendment will give us the ability to move forward.
I believe that it’s time for that engagement to start now, so I am hosting a number of community gatherings to discuss the Charter amendment, answer any questions people may have, and discuss further how this might move forward this year. Keeping in mind that we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I will be hosting these meetings in neighborhood parks. Please feel free to join the meeting in your neighborhood, or that is most convenient for you. Please remember to bring your mask, and expect to remain physically distant from other attendees.
Brackett Park, Saturday, July 4, 11:00 am
Murphy Park, Sunday, July 5, 1:00 pm
Luxton Park, Monday, July 6, 6:30 pm
Matthews Park, Saturday, July 11, 1:00 pm
Van Cleve Park, Sunday, July 12, 2:00 pm
I also understand that some of these times may not be ideal for everyone. I want to assure everyone that this will definitely not be the last opportunity to get engaged on this important topic.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out, if you have any questions, ideas, or concerns. You can email me at email@example.com, and my Policy Aide Robin Garwood at firstname.lastname@example.org.