We must reimagine law enforcement as it is the Number One issue that faces the City of Minneapolis right now.
1. There needs to be a top to bottom review of everything from how 911 calls are handled to the type of handcuffs police are using to the equipment that is being carried on the beat.
2. We need to change the way that policing is done. There’s no need to send in heavily armored police officers to every call. Let’s have other options, from social workers to psychologists to lightly armed peace officers. These new cross-trained peace officers can be more cost effective and they can cost less than a fully armed police officer. Thus the lightly armed peace officers can be deployed in greater numbers and have more of a presence on the street. More eyes on the street prevents crime. Additionally the new lightly armed peace officers will be by design the first dispatched to non-violent police calls.
3. It’s essential that the Mayor remain in touch with what is happening on the ground. As Mayor – I will ride with police squads at least one night a week – to see how they react to incidents and 911 calls. The Police Department issue is our biggest challenge – so we must be willing to put in the extra hours and energy to make sure we get our policing right in the City of Minneapolis. It will be on my mind every day and especially every night as we look for innovative solutions to make our Minneapolis Police Department operate more effectively and more efficiently.
4. I think there needs to be a focus for the Minneapolis Police to be more a “part of the community” and landscape – like the New York City cops you see playing stickball with kids in the neighborhood. There needs to be much more interaction between the men and women in uniform and the people in the community. There will be a new emphasis on a “charm offensive” and chatting up the people of the City. The personal community touch can make a big difference because if we have more communication between police and the neighborhoods – we can help reduce and prevent crime. Police Officers are finally going to be incentivized to interact with people on the street. Being engaged can and will reduce crime.
5. The Police must be part of the community they work in and protect. This means that after eighteen (18) months on the Minneapolis Police Department – anyone employed in a policing capacity will need to move into the city limits. No more driving into police the City and then driving out of Minneapolis at the end of the shift to go to a community that is distinctly different from the one where you are enforcing the law.
6. The Minneapolis Police department should institute a policy that over the next two (2) years they will require a four (4) year college degree for all new police department recruits. A recent study found that officers with undergraduate degrees performed on par with officers who had ten (10) years of additional police experience.
7. A new dialogue must be opened between communities of color and law enforcement. The tremendous trust gap that currently exists with law enforcement is not sustainable. The trust, talking, communication and respect must run both ways and both sides must listen or we will have a community where the laws can no longer be enforced. Minneapolis must regain its faith and trust in its Police Department or the City will be ungovernable. The Minneapolis Police Department must be able to enforce the laws of this City in an effective manner. Time and resources and budgets are limited so we must work together to solve this crisis of confidence.