Latest community polling on reimagined MPD 3rd Precinct more inclusive, focused, city administration says

Latest community polling on reimagined MPD 3rd Precinct more inclusive, focused, city administration says

Latest community polling on reimagined MPD 3rd Precinct more inclusive, focused, city administration says

Amanda Harrington spent the last two months asking south Minneapolis residents to pick top priorities for prevention, restoration and response services that are expected to make up a reimagined 3rd Police Precinct, set to open blocks from the charred remains of the former site on Minnehaha Avenue.

She shared survey results on Tuesday from the latest — and anticipated final — round of community engagement related to the public safety services beyond policing that will be part of the precinct, which city officials rebranded as the South Minneapolis Community Safety Center. The process has been Harrington’s premiere project in her new role as the director of safety design and implementation for the Minneapolis Office of Community Safety.

“What helped me from this round of engagement was really narrowing down what the community wants, because we’ve had so much information that said, there are many, many needs and desires in the community,” Harrington began.

“We can’t do all 27 ideas on day one, and so this really helped us narrow it down. We saw some really consistent themes.”

She says these doors won’t open without at least one service from each of three categories: Response, Prevention and Restoration.

In the response category, many first want to see police return, according to a PowerPoint presentation prepared for City Council.

Mental health and affordable housing topped the list for prevention services, and in the restoration category, there was a recurring request for homelessness resources, help for those battling substance use disorders, and a new but pervasive request for from this round of engagement was trauma response and prevention services for domestic violence and human trafficking survivors, Harrington said.

“Those are really important issues that might have gotten lost if we hadn’t had these individual conversations with folks,” she noted.

Residents also requested that those resources reflect the diversity of South Minneapolis.

“Folks want to be able to walk in the center and see somebody who looks like them and somebody who speaks their language. I think that’s the biggest takeaway,” Harrington said.

Controversy over a lack of community representation sent city leaders back to the drawing board last summer. Noticeably still this time around, Black residents who make up 19% of the 3rd Precinct population, make up roughly 4% of survey responses, according to the PowerPoint.

In response, Harrington said her team reached people several other ways too.

“It’s the reason we did such robust outreach to the community. We didn’t just do a survey because I had seen from previous surveys, that the people that respond to those online surveys tend to be more white and tend to be homeowners, which is not representative of the 3rd Precinct, that South Minneapolis area,” she said.

“We walked the streets to talk to people who wouldn’t necessarily show up at a community meeting. We had sit down conversations with culturally specific groups because they told us they wouldn’t respond to a survey,” Harrington continued.

“So yeah, I think the information that we have now tells us the current feelings of the city and of the current residents and folks who live work and visit in that area.”

The next step for Harrington’s team, she said, will be outreach to area organizations that already may be providing some of the requested resources for guidance and possible collaboration before the city starts a formal contracting process.

The expected opening date of the precinct/safety center has been pushed back from the original March 2025 date to summer or fall, Harrington said.

It remained unclear what the public safety services will cost the city as of this report. Minneapolis City Council members approved $14 million to purchase and convert a portion of the property for police in 2023.