Public Safety Update

An update from Council Member Alondra Cano on recent crime.

September 2020

The Ninth Ward Office continues to ensure that the following measures are implemented in crime “hot spots” in our community. These include:

  • Traffic calming
  • Code compliance of properties and abandoned vehicles
  • Improved outdoor street lighting
  • Connections to City resources and City staff who can help with economic development, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and community-safety beyond policing efforts such as the Office of Violence Prevention programs and funding opportunities for neighborhood non- profits
  • Using the budget process and budget investments to respond to emerging community needs and priorities
  • Consistently reaching out to the Minneapolis Police Department to encourage awareness and follow through on increased gun violence and other crimes

Residents should continue to call 911 for immediate safety needs and to report crime. If 911 does not receive the call, there is a high chance the activity will go untracked and unreported.

In the Minneapolis government structure, Mayor Jacob Frey holds utmost authority and oversight over the City’s policing functions.

For help reaching the Mayor on issues related to public safety, please contact his Public Safety Aide Jen White at Jennifer.White@minneapolismn.gov or 612-673-3436.

Police Federation Contract Negotiations

The City of Minneapolis is currently in mediation with the police federation, these negotiations began in December of 2019. While public sector labor contract negotiations and related documents are public, when the State Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) is mediating a contract, the proceedings and documents are non-public.

Charter Amendment

On August 5th, the Minneapolis Charter Commission voted 10-5 to continue to engage the community for input on the proposed Charter amendment. The Charter Commission is a 15-member body appointed by the Chief Judge of the Hennepin County District Court. While the Charter Commission does not have the authority to block a question from reaching the ballot, they can take 90 days from Wednesday, August 5th to submit a recommendation to the City Council on the amendment language. Once the 90-day timeline has expired, the five Council authors of the amendment will continue to work to get the question placed on the November 2021 ballot.

The Charter Commission report is due no later than November 27 of this year. Following the completion of this report and referral back to the City Council, the Council can introduce a new, same, or similar ballot question in 2021 for the general election on November 2, 2021, or any of the special election dates allowed for under State law. This of course would require the Charter Commission’s examination and referral back to Council, but would be given with ample time for the ballot measure to be referred to voters.

In 1961, the City Charter codified a minimum level of police officer staffing for our city at .0017 officers per Minneapolis resident. This measure presents as a barrier to any budgetary efforts that seek to invest more significant resources into strategies that would not require the role of a Minnesota licensed officer. The Charter also expressly excludes the City Council from acting as a direct governing authority over the Minneapolis Police Department, providing a reporting line only to the Mayor.

The Charter amendment proposal asks voters to amend our Charter, which acts as the city’s constitution, to:

  • Create a new Charter Department of Community Safety
  • Remove the Minneapolis Police Department as a Charter Department, thereby annulling the minimum officer staffing level requirement.

The new department would be responsible for public safety services, prioritizing a holistic, public health- oriented approach, and have the ability to maintain a division of law enforcement services composed of licensed police officers.

Read the full language of the proposed Charter amendment.

Read an FAQ about the Charter amendment process.

The ballot initiative was conceived as one piece of a year-long engagement process to abolish our current policing system and create a new, transformative model that cultivates public safety. In June, the City Council formed a Future of Community Safety Workgroup to develop a process for residents to share ideas and engage with public safety strategies outside of the ballot box like innovative programming, funding, and ordinance changes.

Participating in Creating a New Public Safety System

Submit a public comment to the City Council and Charter Commission on the proposed amendment that would create a new Community Safety & Violence Prevention Department and remove the Police Department from the City’s Charter.

Learn more about the overall vision to transform public safety in the City.

City-owned Third Precinct Property

The work being currently done on the City-owned building that used to house the Third Precinct includes:

  • General clean-up
  • Inventory of the condition of the building through a structural analysis which includes mechanical and electrical systems.
  • City Staff and contractors are expected to access the building throughout the coming weeks.

Since the civil unrest, Third Precinct staff have been temporarily operating out of the Minneapolis Convention Center in the downtown area. As the City continues to evaluate the future of policing, there is a need to find a different location for the Third Precinct employees to work out of. On numerous occasions, Council Member Alondra Cano has publicly stated that she does not support relocating officers back into the old headquarters of the Third Precinct.

Property Services Staff and City elected officials worked together to propose an alternative temporary location for the employees of this precinct.

Read about this proposed 3rd Precinct location.

Moving forward, the City will continue to partner with the community to guide future decision-making on where the Precinct should be temporarily relocated to using the Future of Community Safety Work Group. This City Work Group was established less than a month after Mr. Floyd was killed when the City Council voted to adopt a formal community engagement structure to re-imagine the City’s public safety system. In this action, the Council approved a “Declaring the intent to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety in our city” resolution thereby establishing the Future of Community Safety Work Group. The Work Group is comprised of the Office of Violence Prevention, the Department of Civil Rights, the City Coordinator’s Office, in coordination with the 911 Working Group, the Division of Race and Equity, and the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department.

Related yet on a distinct track, Council Member Cano has convened the other five Council Members who represent the Third Precinct area to establish a unified and publicly accessible community engagement process that can help advise the City on the cultural, economic, and healing recovery efforts needed for the intersection of Minnehaha and East Lake Street. Council Member Cano continues to center the diversity of the history and voices of the area and will champion a public engagement effort that promotes the role of healers and artists, and strives for immediate transparency with a public website to reflect the vision, meetings, and decisions about the area’s future.

Questions for MPD

Personnel: The Third Precinct is the largest geographic precinct in the city. Overall, MPD is experiencing changes in staff due to officer leave, normal attrition, retirements, hold-off of City onboarding of a new class of recruits, and PTSD leaves.

Crime Prevention Specialists: MPD is putting a hold on the replacement hire for Karen Notsch. If you would like them to fill this position, please contact Deputy Chief Kathy Waite at 612-673-3292.  

There are two other Crime Prevention Specialists who are knowledgeable about Sector 2 issues, you can contact them below at:

  • John Reed, Latino Community Crime Prevention Specialist, Minneapolis Police Department
  • John Baumann, 3rd Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist, Minneapolis Police Department