Minneapolis Voters Will Decide Whether to Replace the Police Department With a Public Safety Department
Emma Tucker, CNN, July 23, 2021
Minneapolis city officials voted Friday to approve the language of a ballot measure that will ask voters in November whether the city’s police department should be replaced with public safety department.
The Minneapolis City Council approved the ballot question language, which will be presented to residents in the municipal general election on November 2, 2021.
If approved, the Minneapolis Police Department would be eliminated, and a new Department of Public Safety would take its place.
The public health department would take a “comprehensive public health approach to safety” and include “licensed peace officers,” according to the proposal. Essentially, the measure would also remove the police chief and the mayor’s power over the agency, the proposal states.
The measure — which was proposed by an advocacy group called Yes 4 Minneapolis — comes more than a year after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, a Black man, in May 2020.
Yes 4 Minneapolis has called on city leaders to “move away from violent policing to create a department that addresses community safety holistically and with a public health approach,” according to its website.
The ballot question measure has been submitted to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for his consideration. He has five days starting Monday to decide whether to sign or veto the resolution, which the city council can override with a two-thirds majority vote. If the mayor decides to abstain from approving the ballot question, it will go into effect on July 31 without his signature.
In a statement to CNN, the mayor’s office said he “will not be signing the measure, but appreciates the careful work and thorough analysis done by City staff to prepare fair and accurate language for voters to consider this fall.”