MINNEAPOLIS — On Thursday, the city of Minneapolis made two big moves toward improving public safety. Both are in hopes of rebuilding trust and relationships with the community.
In the morning, council members approved the, Dr. Cedric Alexander. He will oversee police, fire, 911 and emergency management and violence prevention programs. The goal for this position will be to streamline communications between departments.
Around the same time Dr. Alexander was approved by the council, a merged group of community members and Minneapolis police officers celebrated as a legal agreement, or memorandum of understanding, which was signed by Interim Chief Amelia Huffman and Ian Bethel with the Unity Community Mediations Team (UCMT).
“We sat at the table every day, for the past two years, every week, and we did what this community wanted us to do,” said Bethel.
This agreement makes several provisions to police policies – including use of force, behavioral health, diverse hiring, making sanctity of life a first priority, and accountability.
The Police Community Relations Council, known as the PCRC, will uphold this agreement. It’ll consist of seven officers and 10 community members.
They want people to feel safe reporting any complaints to this group, so that issues can be addressed instead of repeated.
“[The complaint] is monitored, it’s dealt with and not just dying on a desk,” said Jerry MacAfee, a member of the UCMT.
Terinda Love lives in North Minneapolis, and tell WCCO she’s optimistic this is a real step towards rebuilding trust between police and community.
“I definitely have hope,” said Love, but she also says she’ll be paying close attention to changes in officers’ behavior in the streets, hoping officers will make a bigger effort to get to know people.
“Stop just sitting in the car, just waiting for a call,” said Love, “Be out there talking with us, interacting with us.”
This agreement is unique as a “living document,” meaning no matter who the Mayor is, the Police Chief is or who the members of the PCRC are, this document will carry on and be adopted with any new city leadership.
The UCMT will be meeting monthly to offer space for people to share thoughts and concerns with public safety.
This team is open to everyone and anyone who lives in Minneapolis can be a part it. For more information, click here.