The Minneapolis City Council made steps to move forward with an amendment which could potentially replace the Minneapolis Police Department. According to FOX 9, “under the plan, the police department would be replaced in the charter with a public safety department but doesn’t outline how the department will work or be structured.”
The amendment that passed the policy and government oversight committee was put together by a local community advocacy group called Yes 4 Minneapolis Committee.
According to Yes 4 Minneapolis, they are “a black-led, multiracial campaign composed of a growing coalition of grassroots, community organizations and individuals who believe a people’s petition is the best path forward for implementing a new Department of Public Safety in Minneapolis.”
The question that Yes 4 Minneapolis is proposing to have on the ballot reads, “Shall the Charter be amended to create a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach with a range of strategies and personnel, including licensed peace officers as necessary, to fulfill responsibilities for community safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?”
The explanatory note offered by the organization says it wants to completely restructure the way policing is done in Minneapolis, but it proposes having some “peace officers” that are licensed police officers. It also says the new department would “include a comprehensive range of public health tools (for example: mental health responders, substance abuse specialists, violence interrupters, and prevention specialists) to fulfill the responsibilities of the Department of Public Safety.”
Councilmember Steve Fletcher discussed the amendment, saying, “I’m persuaded that this language is a version of describing the intention of the petitioner and 20,000 people who signed the petition saying they want to create a significant change and that we should put it on the ballot. So I’m going to go ahead and move for approval of language as is.”
Now that the proposed amendment passed the committee, it will go to a full vote of the city council members. If the city council gives approval, this amendment could be on voter’s ballots come November.
A similar proposal was made by city council members who withdrew their request after the community group was successful in moving their initiative forward. As reported by The Minnesota Sun, “The City Council members withdrew their proposal after a community group also came forward with a similar proposal that made it onto the November ballot which would replace police with a community-led group.”
As reported by The Sun, the city has made other steps towards replacing the police.
“The city of Minneapolis has agreed to a contract with a mental health group that has only existed for one year, according to screenshots obtained from city websites. This group, Canopy Mental Health & Consulting, will be assisting with the city’s plan to replace and restructure the police.”
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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network and The College Fix. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. Send news tips to [email protected]