Minneapolis City Council approves 2 new MPD positions, measure on disruptions and harassment

[anvplayer video=”5166687″ station=”998122″]

Minneapolis city leaders took up two key issues regarding the police department and council on Thursday.

During its Thursday meeting, the Minneapolis City Council voted to pass measures to add two new positions to the city’s police department and to try to limit disruptions at public meetings, as well as increase safety for council members.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara had previously said he felt adding an assistant police chief and a chief of staff would benefit the department under a consent decree, which is expected when the Department of Justice finishes its investigation into MPD.

RELATED: MPD chief gathering support as he works to position department for consent decree

The Minneapolis Police Department already has one assistant police chief, but O’Hara said he believes having two would allow one to focus on overseeing operations and investigations while another focuses on community relations. Additionally, he said a civilian chief of staff would take those responsibilities off the deputy chief’s plate.

Those positions were approved by the council on a vote of 12-1. The assistant police chief’s salary is expected to range from $159,921 to $189,576 while the chief of staff’s salary is set to be between $139,977 and $165,933.

RELATED: Citing increasing disruptions, harassment, Minneapolis councilmembers turn to lawmakers

The vote on the other measure — which passed 7-5-1 — comes after protestors have disrupted council meetings on several occasions over the past weeks and months, and some council members say they’ve also been targeted at home or while in public recently.

It asks state lawmakers to look at legislation more tightly regulating how people must conduct themselves at public meetings and to increase penalties against anyone who assaults or threatens a public official.

There are a couple of similar existing bills already in discussion at the State Capitol — one would allow people running for office to opt out of divulging their address for fear of harassment.