Everybody deserves to feel safe in their communities, and our city has an obligation to support the safety of all of our residents, particularly the Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant communities which have been too often left out of community safety considerations or victims of those systems. We need to make steps towards a just and equitable system of public safety, and that requires concrete policy change and community investment. I will introduce and/or support community safety initiatives, strengthen accountability systems, and improve our 9-1-1 emergency system by implementing more efficient, effective, culturally-sensitive response options. I strongly support harnessing our city budget to set large investments in historically underfunded non-police-centered public safety alternatives, including fully funding and expanding the Community Safety Specialist (CSS) Program. I’ll collaborate with city officials, local leaders, and emergency service administrators to help give proper resources to first responders who can most effectively respond to crime and de-escalate emergencies, like EMT’s, firefighters, mental health workers, social workers, and domestic violence responders.
Of course, public safety does not start and stop with policing, and I will take specific steps on a wide range of public health matters to improve our community’s safety. I will call for the declaration of a gun violence epidemic and public health crisis in Minneapolis to open up funding options to better support victims and families of gun violence. We should also use our city budgeting powers to increase funding for mental health resources to address rising rates of suicide and youth crises in our neighborhoods.
Public safety is a multifaceted issue, and our solution to public safety crises must be multifaceted as well. I support nuanced, intentional, community-backed initiatives to improve our community safety and public safety systems, and I will work with my constituents and fellow councilmembers to implement effective solutions.
Public safety is more than just crime. If we are truly going to solve the public safety crisis we are in right now, we must respect and recognize the comprehensive nature of the problem. It’s going to take an approach that acknowledges the role that issues such as homelessness, drug use, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, alcohol addiction, and other contributing factors play in making our lives, neighborhoods and families feel more vulnerable and less safe.
Shootings, stabbings, car jackings, gun use, and violent crime grabs most of the headlines and creates a lot of fear within our community. For Ward 9 residents, it discourages travel, investment, and steers us away from frequenting local businesses and establishments in our own neighborhoods. Therefore, public safety is part of a larger cyclical downturn that can ruin cities and make life unlivable for residents and force out otherwise viable and successful businesses.
Last Summer, after the murder of George Floyd many elected officials, especially those on our city council, made amazingly irresponsible and dangerous statements in which they pulled support away from our police officers specifically and the department in general. This caused a loss of staffing of unprecedented levels. We’re now operating with skeleton crew staffing and cannot possibly respond to all the calls for assistance.
To begin to counteract the damaging effects of past bad decisions, we must begin a new process of re-staffing our police department to its fullest capacity. We need to hire hundreds of new officers, equip our department with more resources and implement techniques and methods that increase effectiveness and efficiency. I believe we can do all that, while also updating our police department from a 1950’s model to a 20250, forward thinking model, effective right now, and for decades into our future.
We need to focus on diversity and inclusion in our hiring practices, bringing in more women, more minorities, and more multi-lingual speaking candidates. Including people from our LGBTQIA+ community. We should also be targeting people who are Minneapolis residents and provide meaningful incentives for officers who live in our communities.
We need to restore our funding for police department including incorporating raises and bonuses to equal the pay that they would get in other, safer cities to prevent their relocating. These funds can provide better training and equipment. More training in areas like de-escalation techniques, violence intervention and public courtesy. Equipment such as closed-circuit cameras, adhesive tracking devices, and a more collaborative radio and communications system that ties everyone to a central dispatcher.
We need a full spectrum of human resources so that we can always apply the correct and appropriate response to every call. A significant percentage of calls do not require an armed response, and so we must coordinate our mental health responders, our social workers, our crisis interventionists, and other unarmed assistants into our regular active-duty protocols. Most of the problem interactions between the police and the community would not have happened if we had the available and correct personnel involved from the beginning.
We need more community level policing. Foot patrols, bicycle patrols, and walking beat officers need to be dispersed into our highest crime areas, establishing new and better relationships with the residents and businesses that they are there to protect and serve. Additionally, it has already been proven that private security sub-contractor operations, tasked to reinforce local crime “hotspots” have a huge impact of lowering and deterring crime. These cooperative relationships are not only useful in many ways, but they are also incredibly cost-effective.
For the police to be effective, there needs to be a feeling of partnership and trust with the community they serve, therefore, we must focus on rebuilding that faith and trust. By offering meaningful gestures of reparations” to the community, we will take the first steps in proving that these new reforms are not meaningless words. Moves like ending the use of attack dogs as police accomplices and re-opening old cases of excessive force or fatal encounters with the police will help prove to our community that we are serious about changing the old style of policing, and beginning something radically new, better, and different.
Messaging has long been a problem with this department. I would work to revolutionize the way in which our department communicates with the public. Remove the police spokesperson, and replace them with a local, community spokesperson. A trusted member of the community, who works on our behalf to make certain that facts are accurate, and that only the whole and truthful story, whether it is positive or negative, becomes the narrative.
Community and social programs are the best way to provide uplifting alternatives to drugs, guns, and gangs, especially for our at-risk youth, so, investment through the department, into community-oriented options and opportunities will yield a tremendous return. We need to apply everything we have, park and rec. sports, boys and girls club and YMCA programs, or public/private affiliations with Boys’ and Girls’ Scouts, Pillsbury House, or district-sponsored afterschool activities, to giving young people their best choices that steer them away from negative influences and destructive culture.
We need to liaison with our state and federal partners to create and alter legislation that furthers our efforts and goals. There are current laws that would need to be removed or amended, such as Stanek’s state law regarding residency or the current federal guidelines covering qualified immunity that all need to be revisited and adjusted for “best practice” effectiveness.
Lastly, let me mention accountability. While most residents in the 9th Ward all agree that we need more police and more police resources, they will also quickly add that we need more accountability, transparency, and oversight. This means, the rules and policies that force our police officers to behave better must be implemented and followed under strict punishment of termination. Our executives and administration must be empowered with the ability to discipline and terminate bad officers, we need a community-based oversight committee that has both the authority and the access to view any footage, call witnesses under oath, examine police reports, and make recommendations that result in action.
I’ve lived in Minneapolis my entire life, and in 52 years, we have never had a better moment, or a more critical opportunity to make significant and transformative changes and upgrades to our policing system. We have a chief who is from our community, who grew up here and understands this department. We have a new police union president who is willing to listen to ideas and compromise for the betterment of the city and the officers she represents. We have a city that is 100% behind making bold, new improvements that address the historic imbalances and discrimination that has persisted for so long. So, I am truly hopeful that this city will vote “NO” to the politically poisonous ballot initiative, and “YES” to a platform of candidates who will address this public safety crisis with the pragmatic and solution-oriented professionalism needed to solve it completely, for now and for all time.
1. The first step of rebuilding public safety is going to the source. I would like to build a relationship with Chief Medaria Arradondo and Commissioner John Harrington of public safety because these are the two African American men that are responsible for our safety. As an African American woman, I know the task can be difficult but how safety is approached is disappointing. I believe sitting down with them and seeing what changes are going to be made to make the community trust, and believe we can feel safe with their officers on the street. The Police Department and the police union should have liability insurance for the Minneapolis Police Department. This should be put in place to protect the citizens in the homeowner’s a Minneapolis. Minneapolis citizens should not be responsible for the bad behavior of the Minneapolis Police Department.
2. I would build a misconduct team — this team would be separate from the Police Department. This team will review all Minneapolis Police Department misconduct reports. This team will be responsible for reviewing and setting up a mediation for any misconduct against the Minneapolis Police Department. If this department feels the need for mediation to happen, this team will set up a mediation and request to have two citizens, two police officers, and two members from their department who have not reviewed the case.
These six people will listen to, review, and decide if a settlement is needed. To make sure that this is fair and safe for all six participants. None of the six people will ever be in the same room nor will they be identified by each other or the public. They will be asked not to release any information about the cases. If this group decides the settlement must be done, this information will be given to both parties. The settlement amount will be decided by the lawyers.
If an officer has two incidents, this officer will not lose his/ her job, but he/ she will be suspended without pay for two weeks and be put on a list that state once he/she decides to leave the MPD he/ she will not be able to be hired as a police officer in the state of Minnesota. During the two weeks, the officer must be reviewed by a local psychiatrist to make sure he/she is mentally able to go back to work. If this officer is not mentally able to go back to work. He/she can choose to use his or her PTO to extend his time off or he/she can take it without pay. This will never be considered work comp.
If an officer receives a third violation. This officer will no longer be a part of the Minneapolis Police Department.
3. Regarding policies, all police officers will have their body cameras on at all times during each call. No more shutting off cameras during the call. if this behavior happens more than two times, a police officer should be suspended without pay for two weeks.
A police officer should never have their weapon drawn for a simple moving violation or a simple call. This policy will be set up due to the way Mr. Floyd was approached on May 25. 2020. There was no need for this situation to have any guns drawn in a non-violent situation. Also, I believe an officer should never tap their gun against a car window. This is not safe for the citizens in the car, and it could be an accident that could have been prevented.
A new policy should be put in place due to minors: anyone under the age of sixteen should never be assaulted by any weapon nor by physical force. If you need to detain this minor, I will request to use Mace first, unless a minor has a weapon. This policy will be put in place due to the minor who was injured and physically assaulted by officer Derek Chauvin on September 4th, 2017.
The next policy I would make sure that would be put in place would be identifying the reason a person is detained. As a woman I have been detained and asked to be removed from my car and was put in the back of a police car and handcuffed on a regular moving violation. They have told me in the past that this is standard procedure. After speaking with a lawyer this is not correct. I feel this policy should be put in place due to minorities. I have witnessed males and females being put in handcuffs and sitting in the back of the car. I had my granddaughter in the back seat of my vehicle and they left her there in her car seat. This kind of treatment is mental abuse. Every citizen should be informed of the reason they are being handcuffed and detained by an officer. You should never handcuff a citizen just because.
What specific steps are you in favor of to deal with public safety concerns?
1. Transform the Minneapolis Police Department.
We need a strong police department to work for us and protect us when needed. But we need a police department that is committed to equity and justice for all citizens and is guided by policies and procedures that ensure the rights of everyone. As your City Council member, I will work to strengthen the community’s relationship with law enforcement by advocating for greater community engagement and input into how the police interact with people on the streets. I support Chief Arrandondo and will work with him to build a better police force.
2. Strengthen existing community-based public safety efforts.
Minneapolis neighborhoods have a strong history of working together to promote public safety. Neighborhood Watches, Block Clubs, and Night Out are a few examples of what we have done together in the past. I believe that the City of Minneapolis needs to find new ways to support and encourage these kinds of neighborhood-based response.
3. Develop new community-bases solutions that mobilizes residents of the city in new and creative ways.
One of our city’s greatest strengths is an incredibly strong network of community-based nonprofit organizations and faith-based communities that can reach out to those who are likely to be either victims or perpetrators of violence and crime. There is a critical role for these partners in creating a safe community and I will support the work they do.