The Future of Public Safety in Minneapolis

Updated: November 25, 2020

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.

What happened in Minneapolis?

Following the death on George Floyd on May 25, 2020, protests took place across the world. Most protests in Minneapolis were peaceful, though some resulted in riots and looting, and multiple businesses and buildings were damaged in parts of Minneapolis and elsewhere.

Are protests still taking place?

There continue to be scheduled peaceful protests regarding racial injustice, police policies and public safety throughout the city and metro area. There have also been isolated incidents of unrest.

Does Minneapolis still have a police department?

Yes, the Minneapolis City Charter requires a minimum level of police staffing based on the number of residents in Minneapolis.

Has the Minneapolis Police Department been defunded, dismantled and/or disbanded?

No. The Mayor of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis City Council have not changed the funding levels or day-to-day operations of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Calls to defund, dismantle or disband police departments are generally about addressing systemic problems in policing and strategically reallocating some resources, funding and responsibility from the police department towards more community-based models of safety, support, and prevention.

The bottom line is that Minneapolis will not be without a public safety system. Like other cities in the U.S., it is examining how public safety can look in the future.

Have any policing and public safety changes taken place?

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

  • 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.
  • Banning neck restraints or choke holds for any reason.
  • 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.

Why is there continued talk of defunding or dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department?

Minneapolis City Council Members would like to create a "transformative new model for cultivating safety in our city." A work group is tasked with recommending policy changes for transitioning to a new approach and seeking community input during that process. An amendment to the Minneapolis City Charter is required to modify the number of mandatory police officers. An amendment was not on the ballot this November, but could be included in 2021. In the meantime, the Minneapolis City Council has agreed to extensive engagement of the public to help set the future vision for public safety in Minneapolis.

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 earlier this summer took place away from the Minneapolis Convention Center and away from 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 looking to rebuild. A limited area of downtown also experienced damage from an isolated incident of unrest late this 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?

Yes. Minneapolis is a vibrant, big city with an active downtown where more than 51,000 people live and traditionally more than 200,000 people work. Community and business leaders work together on multiple initiatives to ensure a safe environment for visitors and residents. This includes our Downtown Improvement District (DID) Ambassadors who help visitors with directions and information, providing roughly 89,000 pedestrian assists each year. There is also a DID Livability Team and our downtown partners are connected to a Safety Communications Center, which focuses on rapid responses for inquiries or incidents when needed. In addition, several pilot programs were launched late this summer to address public safety on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.