On October 27th, the DMNA hosted its virtual annual meeting and public safety forum and the number of residents participating was record-setting – we had over 350 participants. Neighbors engaged with Mayor Frey, Councilmember (CM) Fletcher, and several representatives from the Minneapolis Police Dept. (MPD) on the current crisis in public safety, asking what can be done to reverse the increase in violent crime plaguing Minneapolis. That very high attendance validates that public safety is a priority issue for residents and compels neighborhood organizations such as ours to urgently engage in the discussion to support policies that will again make all Minneapolis neighborhoods safe.
Earlier this year, the DMNA endorsed Guiding Principles for Police Reform and Public Safety. They include five main elements:
- Accountability and oversight of police and public safety;
- MPD reform and re-invention;
- Safety strategies;
- A clear role for MPD in public safety; and
- Build a broad consensus on the path to a safer city for everyone.
Today what stands before the city council is Mayor Frey’s proposed budget for 2021 which includes funding for three additional MPD recruit classes. We have all been alarmed by the sharply reduced staffing levels that MPD has weathered while at the same time crime is dramatically increasing in our neighborhoods.
The DMNA’s goal for the annual meeting forum was to facilitate resident interaction with decision-makers and to help each of you decide where you stand on the policy decisions. The DMNA’s official position regarding the Mayor’s proposed 2021 budget is to fully support the police component outlined by the mayor. Your decision is, of course, your own. But as a neighborhood association, we encourage residents to write or call their council members with feedback. You can find your ward and city council member’s contact information through this link: https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/city-council/find-my-ward/
The time is now. Budget deliberations have already begun and will end in December. The DMNA encourages residents to also participate in the public comment sessions to be held on November 16th and December 2nd discussing the city budget. If you want to speak, you will need to sign up for one of the available speaking slots on November 16th or December 2nd. Use the following link to sign up; scroll down to select which meeting you prefer: http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/meetings/onlinemeetings/attend-citycouncil-meeting
We are in a time that many would characterize as a crisis in public safety and our elected officials need to hear from their constituents loudly and clearly. The current state of the city is unacceptable on multiple fronts. Providing a safe environment for residents is the most basic responsibility of the city council and improving our police force is equally important. We need to ask ourselves which policies will enhance public safety in our city and reverse the ever-increasing crime rate.
The DMNA believes the answer must be to support Mayor Frey’s proposed police budget at a minimum, while we work together for positive change. We hope our fellow residents will share their views as well in support of the proposed police budget from Mayor Frey.
The DMNA Board of Directors
Pam McCrea, Chair
Kevin Frazell, Vice Chair
Carletta Sweet, Secretary
Dianne Walsh Treasurer
Cc: DMNA Public Safety Task Force