I am committed to building a city where every resident feels safe and served by their local government. My role as a policy maker is to make sure every program here at the city is guided by that vision. Public safety services, whether here in Minneapolis or across the nation, have not historically operated that way. Policies and practices rooted in racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other ideals embedded in hatred have warped several aspects of the traditional public safety and criminal justice systems.
That is why I am working to transform the way we provide public safety services broadly. Ensuring they are more robust than traditional policing, are built through an equitable lens, tear down practices rooted in hatred, and build transparency and accountability are my top priorities. This is how we build a procedurally just system.
One way I see this vision becoming a reality is by transforming the way we respond to calls for help. Throughout my tenure as a Council Member I have said that when you call for help, you should have a say in what kind of help arrives. I remain committed to that statement and to allocating resources that keep our 911 emergency response times down. I also believe that we need to broaden how we define help and not just rely on police officers to respond to calls that they are not equipped to handle.
I remain a strong advocate of growing our co-responder program, that pairs officers with mental health professionals who respond to mental health crises. I believe expanding programs like this and redirecting non-emergency calls to administrative staff are a great step forward in providing more robust and equitable service.
A few of my public safety priorities that I have worked on:
- Successfully pushed the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) to be one of the earliest police departments to adopt body cameras.
- Led to the audit that formulated the City’s body-worn camera policy and have worked improve compliance with that policy.
- Reorganized the City’s Audit Department to advance police accountability, expanding the department’s role in investigating MPD operations and policies – from hiring practices, to off-duty work, to the use of ketamine and more.
- Rewrote the Police Conduct Oversight Commission ordinance to ensure more rigorous investigations into the MPD.
- Co-created a workgroup that’s digging into the impact of off-duty work on the City and MPD officers, and the effects of privatizing public safety.
- Supported hiring more sexual assault investigators so that victim-survivors can see faster results.
- Advocate for embedding wellness and mindfulness trainings into how we train our first responders.
- Advocate for an early intervention system within MPD that identifies problematic practices and behavior in a way that allows us to better educate, train and discipline offers.
- Advocate for changes to state policies around discipline and arbitration that get in the way of improving accountability for police officers in our city.
While I have worked to implement oversight and strengthen accountability of police officers, I know that these measures are not enough. They were not enough to protect Justine Ruszczyk Damond, George Floyd, and numerous people of color and Indigenous people in our city who have suffered at the hands of police misconduct. We can and must do better, and I am committed to pushing our city to be better.