Roy Gilbert

Policing In Minneapolis May Look Different After A Ballot Vote In November

Minneapolis voters will decide this November whether to end their city’s police department, replacing it with a new “Department of Public Safety.”

The city council last week signed off on language for a ballot question to change the city charter to create a new agency.

“We have an exciting opportunity in the city of Minneapolis to do something that has not been done before,” says JaNaé Bates, spokeswoman for ” Yes 4 Minneapolis .” The coalition of activist groups gathered thousands of signatures to get the change to the city charter on the ballot, after a police officer’s murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests last year.

Bates says the proposed new department “will be a fully holistic department that includes police officers as well as licensed professionals and experts, in order to ensure that folks stay safe.”

The intention is to shift the city’s response to crime away from law enforcement and toward social services or other approaches. It would expand on a push that’s already underway in the city to transfer jobs traditionally done by the police to other, civilian departments.

Sasha Cotton, director of violence prevention for the city’s health department, says after the trauma of Floyd’s murder and the effects of the pandemic, “things feel chaotic.” She says police — and government — have lost a measure of “legitimacy,” and she thinks residents are eager for new approaches to public safety.

“A community that’s really taking a stand and saying, ‘No more, uh-uh, we’re not going to do it this way […]

Tagged on: