Minneapolis leaders moving forward with plans to improve city’s safety reforms
Minneapolis city leaders are moving forward with plans to improve public safety.
On Monday afternoon, a City Council committee advanced a contract that focuses on providing dispatchers with options beyond using police to respond to some 911 calls.
The plan, which includes a contract with the NYU School of Law’s policing project, focuses on safer communities and has been months in the making. Now, Mayor Jacob Frey says it is time to bring the plan to life.
“We’re doing this work seriously, we’re taking the work very seriously, which is why we’re hiring the most serious individuals to be carrying it out,” Frey said.
The final approval allows the city to hire Minneapolis native and Harvard University’s Dr. Antonio Oftelie and his team for $1 million for a two-year term starting on Dec. 1.
“So this is money that is existing already there,” said Heather Johnston with the Interim City Operations Office, adding, “And so we’ll be carrying forward some of the money that has already been allocated for this in 2023.”
The team will implement the plan from NYU while using Dr. Oftelie’s 143-page report that reimagines how to respond to 911 calls as its foundation. The plan’s basis is a part of the city’s larger goal of having more response options than police and first responders and could include civilians who are well-versed in specific traumas or places.
“That report is a roadmap and how the city can transform and reimagine how we look at community safety by providing an ecosystem or services that are preventative, responsive and restorative,” said Minneapolis Community Safety Commissioner Todd Barnette.
As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the study was presented to the council back in July and was met with some skepticism, but some councilmembers said they’re ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
In addition, the plan will complement the consent decree Minneapolis has with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
A vote on the contract by the full City Council is expected this Thursday.
A live stream of their news conference ahead of the Monday afternoon meeting can be viewed below: