Justin Klawans, Newsweek, November 2, 2021
Minneapolis voters rejected a proposition Tuesday that would have disbanded the city’s police department in the face of rising crime, and replaced it with a new Department of Public Safety.
As polls closed, the citizens of Minneapolis voted 57 percent to 43 percent with 94 percent reporting to keep the police department in place, despite some nationwide calls among protesters that larger police departments should be defunded.
If passed, the amendment would have removed the Minneapolis Police Department from the city’s charter and also eliminated the police chief position. Staffing requirements for law enforcement would have also been eliminated.
Minnesota state law requires a law enforcement response to at least 13 types of incidents. The city, then, would have drafted a replacement Department of Public Safety to enforce policing responsibilities.
The Department of Public Safety, per the referendum, would have “[employed] a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions … which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary.”
The department would have “[fulfilled] its responsibilities for public safety,” but would also “not be subject to exclusive mayoral power over its establishment, maintenance, and command.” At the helm of the department would have been a commissioner, appointed by the Minneapolis City Council upon mayoral nomination.
The referendum was proposed in response to nationwide calls for police departments to be defunded following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd, who was killed at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.