In a news conference this morning in Saint Paul, Governor Mark Dayton announced the establishment of the Governor’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations. The council, established by Executive Order, is charged with developing recommendations to build trust and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
I welcome Governor Dayton’s establishment of this important Council. The City of Minneapolis, Chief Harteau, and I are committed to offering data, information, and full support now and throughout the process in order to ensure the Council’s success.
Minneapolis has been leading the way nationally in working with the communities we serve to build a 21st-century police department and to foster trust, transparency and transformed police–community relations. An intentional statewide conversation is an important next step that I applaud.
Current initiatives already underway in the City of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) include, but are not limited to the following:
National Initiative for Building Community Trust & Justice (NI)
The MPD, along with other City staff, continues its work implementing the recommendations from the National Initiative. Throughout 2016, all officers in the department—joined by community representatives—completed Procedural Justice Training. The final module of that training is currently being facilitated, as officers receive additional training on recognizing how implicit biases affect interactions. Chief Harteau and her staff also continue to work with community leaders to conduct empathy and healing sessions, aimed at acknowledging the history of troubled police–community relations and addressing how that history plays a role in current police–community relations. More information on the NI can be found on the trustandjustice.org website.
Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)
By the end of the 2016 calendar year, all MPD Patrol Officers will have completed this 40-hour training, which improves the safety of residents, family members and officers by providing the foundation necessary to assist individuals with mental illness through recognition, communication, and de-escalation techniques. The training is facilitated jointly by the MPD, the Minnesota CIT Officers Association and the Barbara Schneider Foundation.
Thorough Assessment of ‘Use of Force’ Policies and Training
In the summer of 2015, the department’s Leadership and Organizational Development (LOD) Division was tasked with conducting a top-down assessment of the MPD’s use of force policies and training. Through that process, it was clear that the department’s training and policies were up-to-date and progressive compared to other departments around the country. However, the Police Chief and the Commander of LOD continued to explore ideas intended to improve the safety of our residents and officers. In July of this year, the MPD announced the following new and updated policies:
- Sanctity of life: The cornerstone of the MPD’s use of force policy is the sanctity of life, and the protection of the public.
- Duty to intervene: Officers are required to intervene if they are at a scene where physical force is being applied by another officer, if that force is inappropriate or continues to be used when such force is no longer required.
- Duty to report: Employees must report any misconduct at the scene of an incident to a supervisor, as well as the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU). This mandated reporting includes, but is not limited to, unreasonable force.
- Manual revision of policy regarding de-escalation: The policy was updated to emphasize de-escalation tactics and was reformatted for clarity and consistency.
Body Worn Cameras (BWC)
By the end of October 2016, every Minneapolis Police Department Patrol Officer will be trained and equipped to use a BWC. The policy resulted from community input and research of similar programs in other departments and is a key element in ongoing efforts to improve community trust and transparency. The BWC policy is in alignment with national best practice standards and sensitive to the unique needs of our diverse Minneapolis communities.
Fair and Impartial Policing (FIP) Training
In 2014, every MPD officer and recruit went through this training, which gives officers the tools to recognize their biases and the biases of others. All future recruits will also receive the training, a science-based model developed by nationally recognized experts. The FIP training is based on the underlying understanding that every single member of society has biases.
More details on these current progressive initiatives (and others), training manuals, complete policies and MPD assessments can be found on the MPD’s website, www.insidempd.com/initiatives.
In my proposed 2017 budget, released in August, I emphasized the need to invest in the community to improve public safety, and the need to invest in the Police Department to improve public trust. I proposed several investments, including:
- $1,305,000 for fifteen new sworn Minneapolis Police officers: 12 for community policing, and three for a police/mental health co-responder pilot program.
- Nearly $1 million for community-based strategies to improve public safety, including:
- $500,000 for collaborative, community-driven, public-safety strategies in two locations with high levels of youth violence: West Broadway between Lyndale and Girard Avenues, and Little Earth. This innovative initiative will provide technical and financial resources for residents and business owners of these areas, and the community-based organizations that serve them, to decide for themselves what downstream public-safety interventions would best improve public safety there.
- $290,000 for a Group Violence Intervention strategy, a collaboration among the Health Department, MPD, and the community that offers support and resources to offenders who leave violence behind, and holds accountable those who do not.
- $200,000 for mental health co-responders to be paired with sworn officers in the co-responder pilot program. This is community-based public-safety initiative is often requested by community members, and is a recommendation of the City’s Police Conduct Oversight Commission.
- More than $1 million annually for a new, ongoing Community Service Officer class to build in more capacity for a proven, effective pathway for people of color to become sworn police officers.
- Ongoing resources to manage and operate the Minneapolis Police Department body-worn camera program.
- An additional civilian case investigator at the Office of Police Conduct Review, and improvements to the process of filing misconduct cases.
The Minneapolis Police Department is leading the nation in progressive change, and in addressing and implementing the six pillars defined by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st-century policing. The final report of the President’s task force can be found here.