Our public safety challenges today are the result of the racial disparities due to Black folks in our city being left behind across nearly every aspect of our lives, from business opportunities to homeownership to accessing basic resources. The cost has been tremendous generational suffering and pain. It is no coincidence that over 80% of gun violence victims in our city are Black. We need short-term solutions to stop the immediate spread of violence, long-term solutions that solve the underlying root causes of violence, and improved ways to hold people accountable who cause harm in our community. We also need to remember the history that got us here. We will overcome the racial disparities that have plagued our community for generations by carefully and intentionally investing the right resources, at the right time, going to the right places. Only then will we achieve lasting peace. Our investments must reflect our values. We cannot afford to do the same thing we have always done. We can and must face these challenges head on and move forward together.
My public safety analysis includes a framework for building a comprehensive approach to public safety, as seen below:
1. Building out alternative responses to certain types of 911 calls. This is just continuing forward work I have led with creating unarmed mobile mental health teams and directing report-only calls to 311. It will ensure the right response to calls for help, as well as unburden police from having to take calls that either are outside of their purview as law enforcement or do not require their level of expertise to handle.
2. Investing in the public health approach to public safety through evidence-based violence prevention and intervention strategies. This includes, but is not limited to, Group Violence Intervention, hospital-based bedside violence interventions, and Cure Violence.
3. Transforming policing to solve persistent public safety issues in a collaborative, proactive way. Reforms offered are mostly surface level responses to problem behaviors or are taken tools away from police. What I advocate for is fundamentally reorienting how we allocate our police resources to provide police with new, more effective tools in crime prevention and disorder management. Strategies include approaches like focused deterrence and problem-oriented policing, which target specific hotspots, people, and public safety problems rather than our current wide-net, responsive-only approach to policing.
4. Creating a network of reentry supports for those coming back home after incarceration. One way of preventing new crime is disrupting recidivism for those who have already served time for previous crimes. This looks like supportive housing, specialized job training, and full-family support.
5. Establishing common sense public safety governance structures like creating a new Department of Public Safety. This will consolidate the City’s different public safety services and functions under one department leader who is accountable to the people of Minneapolis for providing integrated, high-quality public safety services.
In closing, we cannot put the pressure of fixing an entire system on one person – Chief Arradondo – who has not committed to renewing his contract before it expires in early January 2022. We should not govern based on personality, but instead institute smart public safety policies that are based on research, evidence, and experience.
Drug use of any kind is a health matter, NOT a police matter.
However, in 1971 President Nixon initiated the War on Drugs that gave police the authority to stop and frisk and sniff and snoop mostly minority people in order to arrest millions because he hated them. I want the police to leave all matters of drug use to health officials.
I support a police department that is fully staffed, well-funded, and professionally trained with non-racist sworn officers.