Community organizers presented Minneapolis City Council’s Policy and Government Oversight Committee with more than 20 recommendations to improve community-police interactions.
The 22 recommendations come from the “Minneapolis for a Better Police Contract” coalition, and range from reducing the hours worked by MPD officers to reporting use-of-force incidents. However, the coalition expressly said it does not want to touch police pay or benefits, but rather implement reforms.
“We're trying to have an expanded Response Network, so that the right people answer the right things… I don't go to a brain surgeon for a heart problem,” Communities United Against Police Brutality and member of the MBPC Michelle Gross said. “But look, it's for these officers and their health. So we really have to do this.”
According to Gross, some of the recommendations brought forward by the coalition have already been accepted by the city, including removing a requirement for roughly a quarter of the force to be sergeants and 10% to be lieutenants, something Gross said was “ridiculous and expensive.” It was among the first provisions to be accepted by the city.
Other proposals, such as the removal of the requirement to have two MPD officers in a squad car, are policies that have already been adopted by other cities in Minnesota. Currently, no other city in Minnesota requires two officers in a vehicle on patrol.
The coalition took issue with a number of police practices that are currently in use, including the hiring of outside officers without properly training them to MPD standards, and the requirement of MPD to notify officers of the names of people who seek personnel data. The coalition says the language around the disclosure requirement will reduce police accountability and discourage public information requests.
“If you don’t like what’s in the contract, don’t feel like it includes enough reform, vote it down,” Gross said to the city council. “Your vote is meaningless if you can’t vote no.”
Gross said this is the most important police and city labor negotiation in Minneapolis’s history.
Police and city labor negotiations are open to the public, and those who wish to stay engaged can follow Minneapolis for a Better Police Contract.