The Future of Public Safety in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is being transformed by what has taken place. More voices are being included in our city’s plan for an equitable society, many new public/private alliances are being formed, and the world is watching as we reimagine the future of public safety.

Updated: October 25, 2021

The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, led to protests around the world. It also sparked a nationwide movement calling for changes in policing and public safety.

Minneapolis is being transformed by what has taken place. More voices are being included in our city’s plan for an equitable society, many new public/private alliances are being formed, and the world is watching as we reimagine the future of public safety.

Does Minneapolis still have a police department?

Yes, Minneapolis has a police department. The 2021 city budget includes more than $171 million for the Minneapolis Police Department. Additional city funds are used for a wide range of additional public safety measures. Seven community organizations are also visible in the community to facilitate communication and de-escalate, mediate and resolve conflicts if needed.

Have any changes to public safety funding taken place?

At the start of 2021, a small portion of the Minneapolis Police Department budget (less than 5%) was reallocated to fund or enhance funding for different public safety programs, departments and initiatives, many of which are part of the Office of Violence Prevention. Examples include:

  • Mental Health Co-Responder Program
  • Community Group Outreach and Intervention
  • Gang Violence Intervention
  • Hospital Based Intervention
  • 911 Training on assessing and responding to mental health issues and situations
  • De-escalation and restorative justice training
  • Moving all parking related calls to Traffic Control
  • Assigning non-police staff to respond to theft and property damage calls

In early July 2021, an additional $13.7 million for policing and public safety initiatives was approved as part of the first round of American Rescue Plan funding.

In August, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey unveiled his 2022 budget plan that seeks to increase funding to several public safety initiatives, including the Minneapolis Police Department. The mayor’s budget includes nearly $192 million for the MPD, $7.8 million for the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), $500,000 for youth programming in the OVP and more than $100,000 to hire a body-worn-camera analyst, as well as funding to contract with mutual aid agencies, provide overtime to work with violence prevention teams, increase health and wellness programs, and purchase an early intervention program to flag problematic behavior among officers. The plan also calls for adding five (5) recruit and cadet classes for the MPD.

Have any policing changes taken place?

Yes, changes implemented by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) include:

  • Banning neck restraints or choke holds for any reason.
  • Requiring MPD officers to use the lowest level of force needed to safely engage a subject and to first consider all reasonable alternatives before using deadly force.
  • Requiring any member of the MPD who observes another member of the MPD use any unauthorized use of force to immediately report the incident while still on scene to their commander or their commander’s superiors. 
  • Requiring any member of the MPD who observes another member of the MPD use any unauthorized use of force to attempt to safely intervene by verbal and physical means. 
  • Allowing only the police chief or the chief’s designee at the rank of deputy chief or above to authorize the use of crowd control weapons during protests and demonstrations.
  • Requiring the police chief to make timely discipline decisions.
  • Not allowing officers involved in critical incidents – including the use of deadly force – to review body camera footage prior to completing an initial police report. 
  • Banning unannounced entry or no-knock warrants except in extreme cases like a hostage situation and requiring MPD officers to announce their presence and purpose prior to entry.
  • Not allowing officers to deactivate their body camera to discuss issues privately on scene while an event is still in progress.
  • Ceasing pretextual stops for offenses like expired tabs, an item dangling from a mirror or an expired license.

What additional measures are in place to de-escalate tension and provide support in the community? 

The City of Minneapolis selected seven community organizations to provide positive outreach and support services during and after the trials. These organizations are A Mother’s Love, Center for Multicultural Mediation, Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), Corcoran Neighborhood Organization and T.O.U.C.H. Outreach, Change Equals Opportunity (CEO), Restoration Inc., and We Push for Peace. These organizations will provide positive outreach and community engagement, support two-way communication between communities and the City, de-escalate, mediate and resolve conflicts if needed, and share information about existing City and community supports and help community members access them. Contracts run through Dec. 31, 2021.

Are any other discussions or actions taking place around the future of public safety in Minneapolis? 

Several proposals have been advanced related to the future of public safety in the city:

  • In the summer of 2020, the State of Minnesota passed a police accountability bill into law that bans neck restraints, chokeholds, and fear-based or “warrior-style” training. It also imposes a duty to intercede on officers who see a colleague using excessive force and strengthens the role of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Board. .
  • Mayor Frey – along with the police chief, members of the city council and community leaders – proposed a new “Minneapolis Model for community safety and accountability.” There are four key priority areas: summer 2021 safety response; targeted investments and resources; policing accountability and culture shift; and safety beyond policing and alternate response. Full details are here.
  • A coalition of grassroots, community organizations and individuals submitted a petition for the formation of a new public safety department. This proposed amendment to the city charter is on the November 2021 ballot. The November ballot proposal states: “Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to eliminate the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety, with those specific functions to be determined by the Mayor and City Council; which will not be subject to exclusive mayoral power over its establishment, maintenance, and command; and which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?”
    • Explanatory note: "This amendment would create a Department of Public Safety combining public safety functions through a comprehensive public health approach to be determined by the Mayor and City Council. The department would be led by a Commissioner nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Council. The Police Department, and its chief, would be removed from the City Charter. The Public Safety Department could include police officers, but the minimum funding currently required would be eliminated."

I've seen images of destruction and damaged buildings in Minneapolis. How might that affect visitors and/or meeting and convention attendees? 

Most of the damage that occurred in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020 took place three miles away from the Minneapolis Convention Center and the city’s downtown core. The two neighborhoods impacted the most saw hundreds of volunteers immediately step in to help clean up and businesses are rebuilding. A very limited area of downtown experienced damage from an isolated incident of unrest later last summer.

As a meeting planner, if I hold my event at the Minneapolis Convention Center, what are my security options?

The Minneapolis Convention Center has an in-house security team with its command center located prominently on the main level. If an event requires additional security, the Guest Services team works with the client to review the level of security needs and determines an appropriate source.

Will I be safe when I’m in Minneapolis?

Local law enforcement works hard to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, workers and visitors to Minneapolis. In addition, MPD, Metro Transit Police and the Hennepin County Sherriff’s Department work together, as needed, with a common goal of keeping our city safe. Plus, community and business leaders throughout the city work together on multiple initiatives to help ensure a safe environment for visitors and residents. This includes easily identifiable Downtown Improvement District (DID) Ambassadors who help visitors with directions and information, providing roughly 89,000 pedestrian assists each year. Additionally, Minneapolis downtown partners are connected to a Safety Communications Center. It’s located in the Minneapolis Police Department’s First Precinct and focuses on rapid responses for inquiries or incidents when needed.

For safety concerns, who can I contact?

If someone’s safety is at risk and an immediate response from police, fire or medics is required, call 911. The city also provides services via 311 for non-emergency information. You can call, text, email (minneapolis311@minneapolismn.gov) or download the 311 smartphone app.