Minneapolis City Council scraps plans to co-locate 3rd & 1st Police Precincts

Future of the Third Precinct

Future of the Third Precinct

Minneapolis City Council on Tuesday scrapped plans to co-locate the city’s 3rd Police Precinct with the 1st Police Precinct at the Century Plaza building downtown, leaving the three-and-a-half year-long question of where to rebuild it still unanswered.

Following a motion from Council Vice President Linea Palmisano, members voted in favor of reaffirming their previous decision to construct the 1st Precinct at the Century Plaza and “postpone further consideration of the existing options related to the location of the 3rd Police Precinct.”

“We have serious issues to consider in deciding how we address the short-term and the long-term needs of the police precinct,” Palmisano said.

“And we will address them, but I do not believe we should rush them today in order to meet an arbitrary timeline.”

Council President Andrea Jenkins, who first proposed the idea of co-locating the precincts, abstained from the vote, appearing surprised by the motion from the vice president.

“I fully believe that we need to come to some kind of resolution around the 3rd Precinct for our staff who are working in unsuitable conditions now, for our residents who have been feeling like they have been without the 3rd Precinct for the past three years,” Jenkins said.

“I was under the impression that we unanimously made that decision. And so I’m really confused by this proposal.”

Members did unanimously approve a request in July for Mayor Jacob Frey’s office to spend a few more months reviewing Century Plaza as a third option, but the results of that review earlier this month changed some minds.

“I’m reluctant to weigh in about much of this, but I will say this: Three floors, 200 parking spaces, 10 years, $30 million is not something I’m going to vote for,” said Ward 7 Council Member Lisa Goodman.

“And I think there’s a lot of unanimity around that.”

Ward 12 Council Member Andrew Johnson echoed that sentiment, adding, “Zero public engagement, by the way, around this, and it’s supposed to be a temporary solution.”

Mayor Frey’s office on Tuesday evening doubled down on the frustration that he expressed in a letter to council members on Monday over the time it’s taken to make the decision, citing a three-year-long process during which he said city leaders looked at two dozen sites.

“The City Council has made it clear what they are against, but we need to know what they are for,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office wrote in an email.

“If they are unable to come to a decision about where to put the precinct, they should grant the mayor the authority to make that decision himself. Residents who rely on the third precinct’s services are owed a decision.” 

It’s unclear when council members will pick the discussion back up and which existing — or additional —options could be on the table.