Frey, city leaders discuss Harvard report on Minneapolis public safety
Minneapolis city leaders discussed a report aimed at helping to reform the city’s public safety work Tuesday afternoon.
Dr. Antonio Oftelie, a native of Minneapolis, headed up the two-year study. He said the report provides a comprehensive plan for the city to transform its public safety work.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said there are many considerations, as with any report, but added, “we feel strongly that this report provides us that roadmap for where we need to go.”
Frey, several council members and Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander joined Oftelie to talk about the report Tuesday afternoon. While they all agreed that the report will help guide the city’s public safety approach moving forward, they didn’t get into many specifics of how it would do so and what would be different from the consent decree the city already has with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the one that is expected with the U.S. Department of Justice.
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“This report is another guide which we can use to transform public safety in our community here in Minneapolis,” Alexander said.
Oftelie called the report the “most ambitious plan around public safety, community safety in the nation.” He said it includes a focus on integrating services to best serve residents and their problems, making reforms while also being innovative, investing in programs that work well and addressing things that are having issues, and getting consistent feedback from community members.
“I’m really confident in the future of this wonderful city around building safe and thriving communities,” Oftelie said.
As for how long it may take to implement and how much it could cost, Frey said he doesn’t yet have an estimate but believes it will cost “millions, for sure.”
“You pay for what you get and you get what you pay for,” the mayor said.
“We’re gonna have to prioritize and make some sacrifices and really figure out what it’s gonna take to bring this whole thing into reality,” Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins said.
But some who’ve been doing neighborhood violence prevention for decades had a different reaction to the report.
“On one hand, yippee. On the other hand, how awful that it took us this long,” said Rev. Jerry McAfee of 21 Days of Peace Minneapolis.
McAfee says the recommendations are things he and other community activists have done for decades.
“The same thing that they used when it was Murderapolis would work, and can work, and has worked now. They’ve just ignored it,” he said.
Click here to read the full report.