Partnership concerns raised as Minneapolis approves $550K for State Patrol

Partnership concerns raised as Minneapolis approves $550K for State Patrol

Partnership concerns raised as Minneapolis approves $550K for State Patrol

While the deal is done, there are several Minneapolis City Council members who are not on board with an updated deal with the Minnesota State Patrol.

In a vote of 7-5, the council approved $550,000 for its partnership with state troopers to provide policing in certain crime hot spots in the city.

But, before votes were tallied, two council members expressed concerns about the deal.

“I absolutely understand the need to have mutual agreements with partner agencies,” Elliott Payne, Ward 1 council member, said to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

“I think it would be important on our part to do the due diligence to ensure that any agency that’s patrolling in the city of Minneapolis is patrolling under the same set of guidelines [a]s the Minneapolis Police Department,” Payne added about his worries.

Following investigations into the city and police department by both the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the Department of Justice, major reforms have been and will be made as to how officers police — leading to Payne’s worry about not all law enforcement in the city being held to the same standard.

Payne voted no, alongside four other council members including Ward 2’s Robin Wonsley who shared similar concerns, pointing out the fact the State Patrol is in the spotlight surrounding a deadly shooting.  

“Especially thinking of, you know, the recent killing and shooting of Ricky Cobb II by State Patrol,” Wonsley said during Thursday’s meeting.

This week, Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty and her office received the deadly shooting case. In late July, Cobb was shot and killed by Minnesota State Trooper Ryan Londregan during a traffic stop.

RELATED: Hennepin County Attorney’s Office reviewing BCA findings in fatal Minnesota State Patrol shooting of Ricky Cobb II

Despite the verbal pushback, the measure still passed — locking in the partnership for at least the end of the year. The city entered the agreement last year because of the dwindling number of police officers.

Just this week, city data shows MPD has 585 sworn officers — that’s down from more than 900 four years ago.

RELATED: Community group proposes contract changes to help reverse MPD’s retention woes

One of the seven yes votes was Public Health and Safety committee chair, Ward 4’s LaTrisha Vetaw.

“We’re in a unique time in Minneapolis, we need support,” Vetaw said. “I represent a part of the ward, that part of the city that needs these kinds of support.”

While she’s open to looking into adjusting these types of agreements, for now, Vetaw has confidence in the city’s partner.

“Yes, we want the outside agencies to be respectful, and you know, treat the people of Minneapolis like they deserve to be treated. But, we also know that that agency has a code of conduct too,” Vetaw added.

Following the city council meeting, council member Payne met with MPD leadership, including Chief Brian O’Hara, who sent the following statement:

We had a productive discussion to explore the possibility of creating a document to guide the MPD when drafting future Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) and Joint Powers Agreements (JPA), with the intent of advancing the overarching principles outlined in the MDHR settlement agreement.

Also in a statement, the State Patrol sent:

Supporting agencies across the state is critical to our mission of protecting and serving all people in the state, and providing for the safe, efficient movement of traffic on Minnesota’s roadways. Continuing to conduct high-visibility patrols in parts of Minneapolis as we’ve been doing since 2022 is part of that important work.