In response to longstanding systemic issues, policing around the country is evolving.
Many people know of the events of May 25, 2020. On that day, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was murdered in South Minneapolis while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. All four former police officers on the scene are now serving prison time.
Well before the trials concluded, city and community members came together to work on a plan for an equitable society, and many new public/private alliances have been formed. The common goal has been to reexamine police policies and procedures, as well as reduce violence through prevention, intervention and healing.
Does Minneapolis have a police department?
Yes, Minneapolis has a police department. The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) currently has 571 officers, including 496 officers assigned to the patrol division, the unit that answers 911 emergency calls. MPD would like to increase that number to 513 next year.
How much funding is allocated for police and public safety?
The 2022 city budget includes nearly $192 million for the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The budget also includes $7.8 million for the Office of Violence Prevention, as well as nearly $7 million through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Other city funds are used for a wide range of additional public safety measures.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposed 2023 and 2024 city budgets includes nearly $200 million each year for the MPD. Highlights of the proposed budgets:
Funds 731 sworn officers in the MPD and four classes of new recruits in each year of the budget
Expands the Behavioral Crisis Response program
Transitions the Office of Violence Prevention to ongoing general funds in 2024 and elevates the office to a new, standalone department called the Department of Neighborhood Safety
Adds five new staff positions to the City Attorney’s office to improve charging decisions made on city criminal cases, and to dedicate staff to address findings identified in the Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigation
What changes or enhancements have been made to public safety in Minneapolis?
Since 2020, enhanced funding has been allocated for different public safety programs, departments and initiatives, such as:
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
The 2022 city budget increased funding for several public safety initiatives, including the MPD. The budget includes:
Nearly $192 million for the MPD
$7.8 million for the Office of Violence Prevention
$500,000 for youth-specific proactive violence prevention
More than $100,000 to hire a body-worn-camera analyst
Additional funds are used 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.
In May 2022, the Minneapolis City Council approved Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposal for spending $6.5 million on violence prevention through funding for:
Additional violence interrupters
Trauma and de-escalation response
Expanded group violence intervention programming
Grant funds for youth and community public safety programs
Portable camera and lighting
Behavioral crisis response vans
What is being done to advance police reform?
In August 2022, Dr. Cedric Alexander was sworn in as the City of Minneapolis’ first Community Safety Commissioner. Alexander oversees the mayor’s proposed Office of Community Safety, which will integrate five departments: 911, Fire, the Office of Emergency Management, Police, and Neighborhood Safety (formerly known as the Office of Violence Prevention). The Commissioner leads the strategic planning necessary for the development of the City’s comprehensive approach to community safety.
In November 2022, the Minneapolis City Council approved Mayor Jacob Frey's nomination of Newark Deputy Mayor Brian O’Hara to serve as the next Minneapolis Chief of Police.
As part of the mayor’s Community Safety Work Group, leaders have outlined recommendations related to police and public safety reform such as:
Improving oversight and coordination within the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD)
Strengthening the recruitment process
Improving the quality of MPD training
Strengthening MPD’s disciplinary and accountability systems
The Community Safety Work Group also advanced recommendations related to community safety, violence prevention and intervention such as:
Expanding services and programs
Evaluating and reporting on service and program effectiveness
Coordinating and prioritizing community safety among and within City departments and across jurisdictions
Expanding Minneapolis’ Behavioral or Mental Health Crisis Response Strategy
Have any policing changes taken place?
Yes, changes implemented by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) in the last two-plus years 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 prohibited force, or inappropriate or unreasonable force to attempt to safely intervene by verbal and physical means.
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 the police chief to make timely discipline decisions.
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.
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.
Prohibiting the application for, and execution of, all no-knock (unannounced) search warrants.
Requiring officers to repeatedly knock and announce their presence and purpose prior to entry with a minimum wait time of 20 seconds for all warrants and 30 seconds for warrants executed during nighttime hours (8 p.m. until 7 a.m.).
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 inoperable license plate lights.
Banning "warrior style" training for officers both on and off duty.
Requiring all MPD personnel, sworn and civilian, to have ongoing procedural justice and implicit bias training.
Utilizing a new field training officer (FTO) coordinator to manage the transformation of substantial changes to the structure of the FTO program, including centralized oversight, increased and ongoing discipline review for FTOs, and new on-the-job monitoring technology to track the daily performance of officers in training and the types of calls responded to, and electronically store and track tasks completed.