I’ve had conversations with hundreds of Ward 1 neighbors and many have said their top priority is improving public safety while ending police violence and abuse. They desire outspoken leadership that will support changes to how we approach public safety. That’s why it’s so critical that we pursue safety beyond policing. It doesn’t make sense to continue spending public money on a system that fails to keep us safe yet perpetuates harm in our communities. We should be investing in data-driven strategies that prevent harm. I’m looking forward to continuing the collaborative, common-sense work that I began last year when my team in the Office of Performance and Innovation at city hall helped pass the Safety for All Budget, which reallocated $8 million away from the MPD and into programs and policies proven to keep us safe. I’m committed to a community-centered public health approach to public safety and I will pursue the expansion of community-based initiatives and programs and prioritize establishing a Department of Public Safety.
The public safety amendment is the result of a democratic, citizen-led process which will enable the city to adopt a comprehensive approach to dealing with harm that expands the city’s capacity for response while not relying exclusively on the police to address every situation. When Minneapolis residents call for help, they should get the right help, from the right professional, right away. City data show the overwhelming majority of calls from residents do not require an armed response. Residents would be better served if we dispatched mental health counselors, social workers, or addiction counselors. If passed, this amendment will allow the city to implement a proactive, public health approach that prevents harm rather than forcing us to rely on a system that’s reactionary, punitive, and perpetuates harm in our communities.
Our public safety system is flawed, we need a department that protects and serves all of Minneapolis, but getting rid of the department before establishing a proven alternative would be irresponsible. This is why, as City Councilor, I am committed to working with our community members and our reform-minded Chief Medaria Arradondo to establish a holistic, hybrid police department. I will push to integrate our health, community and emergency response efforts effectively with the police department. I will also work with Chief Arradondo to fund and stabilize the police department, while also expanding resources for community-centric policing approaches. For instance, increasing funding for the Office of Violence Prevention and the Co-Responder Program. Furthermore, I will lobby to give the City self-control over hiring where State law constrains us. I will push all efforts to ensure that the incoming generation of police cadets are reflective of our community, and are trusted protectors for everyone within our community. I believe these are the most effective and practical reforms to ensure public safety for all residents of Minneapolis.