Minneapolis downtown groups urge collaborative effort for safety plan

Night Minneapolis
Photo credit Entercom

Three Minneapolis civic organizations are calling for law enforcement reform led by a police chief with broad-based community support.

What they don’t want is the dismantling of the Minneapolis police department, saying that the discussion should be reframed.

The Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Minneapolis Regional Chamber, and the Building Owners and Managers Association revealed their proposals Monday morning.

“Better law enforcement, not no law enforcement,” said Steve Cramer, president of the downtown association, referring to the Minneapolis city council’s proposal that would lead to the dismantling of the MPD.

“There needs to be a better effort to really bring people together and build consensus around this strategy,” Cramer told Dave Lee on the WCCO Morning News. “We’ve really heard a lot of slogans, a lot of loud voices, but there hasn’t been a very coherent process to bring everybody together.”

In their statement, which was forwarded to Mayor Jacob Frey and all city council member, the three groups said that they “can anticipate the desirability of Minneapolis as a community to live, visit, invest, and create/maintain jobs within will diminish.”

Here is the list of proposals, which are called by the group the Guiding Principles for Police Reform and Public Safety:

1. Clear Accountability for Oversight of Police and Public Safety

  • Maintain the current City Charter, whereby the Mayor manages the MPD, not the Mayor plus a City Council of 13 individuals. Management of the MPD by committee will muddle accountability where it is most essential.

2.      MPD Reform and Reinvention is Needed

  • Support the Chief of Police more visibly than before and provide regular input on public safety and MPD reform.
  • Educate ourselves - business, community leaders and citizens of all neighborhoods - about best practices we should support.
  • Support a process that utilizes research, best practices, data and engages communities of color.
  • Demand an immediate and lasting change in MPD culture, including, increased authority for the Chief, parting ways with any and all bad officers, and improvements to police officer recruitment with incentives to attract high-caliber recruits

3.      A Continuum of Safety Strategies is Necessary

  • Law enforcement is essential but cannot alone provide for community safety.
  • Downtown and other areas in Minneapolis have adopted complementary strategies that work and should be expanded throughout the City (co-responder models, DID ambassadors, liaisons for the homeless, etc.).
  • Support additional housing services, mental health services, and other community-building assets. 
  • Acknowledge this may require an increase in staff size to achieve the results we expect from a world-class City.

4.      There Exists an Undeniable Role for Law Enforcement

  • Protecting residents, visitors and people who work in Minneapolis is the most important goal of any plan to reform the MPD.
  • Trained, sworn personnel must be available in appropriate numbers to provide first responder capability, 24 – 7 coverage, and address threatening situations affecting citizens, businesses and properties. 
  • Affirm emergency response capacity remains in place during any period of planning or transition.

5.      Build Broad Consensus on the Path to a Safer City for Everyone

  • Develop a “plan to make a plan” that gives multiple perspectives a genuine place at the table and engages communities of color and businesses in Minneapolis. 
  • Provide clarity about the timeline and process for decision-making and any implementation of the plan.
  • Support the implementation of restorative justice measures that emphasizes accountability and justice that is focused on repairing the harm caused by crime.
  • Support work that is consensus building and not polarizing; neither status quo nor chaotic change is acceptable.