The Future of Public Safety in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is being transformed by what has taken place. More voices are being included in our city’s plan for an equitable society, many new public/private alliances are being formed, and the world is watching as we reimagine the future of public safety.

Updated: January 12, 2022

The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, led to protests around the world. It also sparked a nationwide movement calling for changes in policing and public safety.

Minneapolis is being transformed by what has taken place. More voices are being included in our city’s plan for an equitable society, many new public/private alliances are being formed, and the world is watching as we reimagine the future of public safety.

Does Minneapolis have a police department?

Yes, Minneapolis has a police department. The approved 2022 city budget includes nearly $192 million for the Minneapolis Police Department. The 2022 budget also includes $7.8 million for the Office of Violence Prevention, as well as nearly $7 million through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Other city funds are used for a wide range of additional public safety measures. Currently, seven community organizations are also visible in the community to facilitate communication and de-escalate, mediate and resolve conflicts if needed.

What did voters decide about the future of public safety in Minneapolis?

In November 2021, Minneapolis voters chose to keep the current structure which includes the Minneapolis Police Department, reporting to the Police Chief and the Mayor of Minneapolis, along with a separate Office of Violence Prevention. They did not approve a proposed amendment to the city charter that would have created a new Department of Public Safety.

What does that mean for public safety in Minneapolis?

The current structure of policing and public safety remains in place, with both the Minneapolis Police Department and the Office of Violence Prevention. The Minneapolis Police Department will be continue to be headed by the Police Chief who reports directly to the Mayor of Minneapolis.

The mayor, police chief and other elected officials in Minneapolis know there is much work to be done to ensure everyone feels safe. Important reforms to policing have taken place and will continue.

What changes or enhancements have been made to public safety in Minneapolis?

Enhanced funding has been allocated to the Office of Violence Prevention for different public safety programs, departments and initiatives, such as:

  • Mental Health Co-Responder Program
  • Community Group Outreach and Intervention
  • Gang Violence Intervention
  • Hospital Based Intervention
  • 911 Training on assessing and responding to mental health issues and situations
  • De-escalation and restorative justice training
  • Moving all parking related calls to Traffic Control
  • Assigning non-police staff to respond to theft and property damage calls

In early July 2021, an additional $13.7 million for policing and public safety initiatives was approved as part of the first round of American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's approved 2022 city budget increased funding to several public safety initiatives, including the Minneapolis Police Department. The mayor’s budget includes nearly $192 million for the MPD, $7.8 million for the Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), $500,000 for youth-specific proactive violence prevention, and more than $100,000 to hire a body-worn-camera analyst, as well as funding to contract with mutual aid agencies, provide overtime to work with violence prevention teams, increase health and wellness programs, and purchase an early intervention program to flag problematic behavior among officers. The budget also calls for adding five (5) recruit and cadet classes for the MPD.

In December, Mayor Frey announced the creation of a workgroup focused on developing public safety and accountability recommendations. The workgroup is co-chaired by Nekima Levy Armstrong and Rev. Dr. DeWayne Davis, and includes people whose voices effectively reflect community safety priorities across Minneapolis neighborhoods.

Have any policing changes taken place?

Yes, changes implemented by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) include:

  • Banning neck restraints or choke holds for any reason.
  • Requiring MPD officers to use the lowest level of force needed to safely engage a subject and to first consider all reasonable alternatives before using deadly force.
  • Requiring any member of the MPD who observes another member of the MPD use any unauthorized use of force to immediately report the incident while still on scene to their commander or their commander’s superiors. 
  • Requiring any member of the MPD who observes another member of the MPD use any unauthorized use of force to attempt to safely intervene by verbal and physical means. 
  • Allowing only the police chief or the chief’s designee at the rank of deputy chief or above to authorize the use of crowd control weapons during protests and demonstrations.
  • Requiring the police chief to make timely discipline decisions.
  • Not allowing officers involved in critical incidents – including the use of deadly force – to review body camera footage prior to completing an initial police report. 
  • Banning unannounced entry or no-knock warrants except in extreme cases like a hostage situation and requiring MPD officers to announce their presence and purpose prior to entry.
  • Not allowing officers to deactivate their body camera to discuss issues privately on scene while an event is still in progress.
  • Ceasing pretextual stops for offenses like expired tabs, an item dangling from a mirror or an expired license.

What additional measures are in place to de-escalate tension and provide support in the community? 

The City of Minneapolis selected seven community organizations to provide positive outreach and support services during and after the trials. These organizations are A Mother’s Love, Center for Multicultural Mediation, Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), Corcoran Neighborhood Organization and T.O.U.C.H. Outreach, Change Equals Opportunity (CEO), Restoration Inc., and We Push for Peace. These organizations will provide positive outreach and community engagement, support two-way communication between communities and the City, de-escalate, mediate and resolve conflicts if needed, and share information about existing City and community supports and help community members access them. Contracts run through Dec. 31, 2021.

In 2020, we saw images of destruction and damaged buildings in Minneapolis. How might that affect visitors and/or meeting and convention attendees? 

Most of the damage that occurred in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020 took place three miles away from the Minneapolis Convention Center and the city’s downtown core. The two neighborhoods impacted the most saw hundreds of volunteers immediately step in to help clean up and businesses are rebuilding. 

As a meeting planner, if I hold my event at the Minneapolis Convention Center, what are my security options?

The Minneapolis Convention Center has an in-house security team with its command center located prominently on the main level. If an event requires additional security, the Guest Services team works with the client to review the level of security needs and determines an appropriate source.

For more information on MCC Guest Services and Security Operations and how the venue is keeping safety and security top of mind for every client and visitor, please go here.

Will I be safe when I’m in Minneapolis?

Local law enforcement works hard to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, workers and visitors to Minneapolis. In addition, MPD, Metro Transit Police and the Hennepin County Sherriff’s Department work together, as needed, with a common goal of keeping our city safe. Plus, community and business leaders throughout the city work together on multiple initiatives to help ensure a safe environment for visitors and residents. This includes easily identifiable Downtown Improvement District (DID) Ambassadors who help visitors with directions and information, providing roughly 89,000 pedestrian assists each year. Additionally, Minneapolis downtown partners are connected to a Safety Communications Center which is located in the Minneapolis Police Department’s First Precinct and focuses on rapid responses for inquiries or incidents when needed.

For safety concerns, who can I contact?

If someone’s safety is at risk and an immediate response from police, fire or medics is required, call 911. The city also provides services via 311 for non-emergency information. You can call, text, email (minneapolis311@minneapolismn.gov) or download the 311 smartphone app.