Question 2 is the only plan to create a Department of Public Safety in Minneapolis.
How will Question 2 be put into practice?
Question 2 will update the City Charter to allow for the creation of a Department of Public Safety. It will remove a requirement for the city to maintain an armed police-only model of safety with no flexibility on staffing and resourcing to meet the needs of the city. (This is a provision that was put in place by the police federation over 60 years ago).
In the first 30 days, the Mayor and City Council will nominate and appoint the interim Department of Public Safety Commissioner.
There will be a data-driven community engagement process to establish the exact number and type of qualified professionals—including police officers—as well as the budget associated to support them.
What will the Department of Public Safety do?
The Department will rework and expand Minneapolis’ approach to public safety by employing a range of qualified professionals who can be called in to address situations based on their expertise.
This would include, for example: social workers and housing experts to help unhoused people find a place to live; mental health and addiction specialists to help people in crisis; trained de-escalation experts to resolve noise complaints or domestic disputes; and armed police to resolve violent or dangerous situations, to keep people safe.
While this transition takes place, the police department will continue day-to-day response and patrol until there can be a smooth integration of the police officers from the current Minneapolis Police Department into the Department of Public Safety.
Minneapolis will maintain police response at every stage of the transition, mandated by an ordinance that is already in place.
Why is this necessary?
The police-only model of safety is not working for everyone in Minneapolis. It’s not even working for police officers themselves, as they are often called into situations for which they don’t have proper training—such as helping someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis, or finding housing for someone sleeping on the street.
The Police Federation has kept this barrier in the city charter since 1961. Removing it allows qualified professionals like social workers, mental health experts, and violence de-escalation experts, and police to provide the right response. It also increases transparency and accountability for those who protect and serve the residents of our city.
If we want to find a way to keep everyone safe and ensure armed police are only being called into situations they are trained for, we must build a Department of Public Safety in Minneapolis—and Question 2 is the only way to make that happen.