Police union approves new contract, sends it to Minneapolis City Council

Police union approves new contract, sends it to Minneapolis City Council

Police union approves new contract, sends it to Minneapolis City Council

The Minneapolis City Council will now weigh in on a new contract for the city’s police union.

A week after the city and Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis announced a tentative agreement, the union formally voted in favor of the deal.

While full details aren’t yet available, union president Sgt. Sherral Schmidt confirmed that it features a compounded raise of 21.7% and was approved by more than 80% of union members who voted.

Ratification by the union means it will now head to the City Council for final approval.

“We are thankful of reaching a tentative agreement with the city that was ratified by the membership,” Schmidt said. “We now wait for council approval and hope that council will see value in this contract for hiring and retaining officers, especially given the clear and present reality that this is a dangerous profession.”

The council previously rejected a partial agreement back in November that would’ve added new recruitment and retention bonuses for officers in exchange for reforms to the shift bidding process.

It’s unclear if the current deal has the necessary council support. The next scheduled full council meeting is on June 13.

“I’m hopeful. This is a good contract,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said when asked if he’s confident the City Council will approve the new deal.

“It makes sure that they’re the top paid or near the top paid officers in the region,” Frey said of the potential pay increases.

Late Tuesday, the city shared “key reforms and contractual changes” that are included in the contract agreement.

One being the “Zipper Clause” that would, according to the city, eliminate some “letters of agreement” — which are put in place to address issues in the middle of a contract term — and move others into the agreement.

“What is in that contract, that’s the rules. There’s not some side agreement, which we had many of them for decades,” Frey said of the Zipper Clause. “We had these side agreements, and sometimes nobody even knew what they were. Many administrations entered these letters of agreement. Now, it’s all in the contract.”

Another main focus is on staffing. If approved, Chief Brian O’Hara and his leadership team will have more discretion to assign officers to areas of greatest need.

The chief would also have the ability to place someone on up to 180 days of paid investigatory leave surrounding allegations of serious misconduct. That would be up from the current limit of 30 days.

“I know for me, I want the ability to make decisions and make change now and not have to ask the union or anyone else’s permission,” O’Hara said. “I was hired to reform the Minneapolis Police Department.”

To help keep the limited number of sworn police officers on the street, the new deal would also allow the city to make “permanent hires of civilians to assist with investigative work.”

Public data requests are also addressed. According to the city, “Officers will no longer receive automatic notification of the identity of the person requesting public personnel data about them.”

All of this was shared and addressed during some of the darkest days for the department and city following the deadly shooting of Officer Jamal Mitchell.

Both Frey and O’Hara say Mitchell is the exact kind of officer they hope will apply to join MPD; they hope this contract will help with that.

“If we want to be able to continue to recruit people like Jamal, and in sufficient numbers to provide a level of public service and safety that the community here deserves, we need to have a substantial raise, and this this contract does that,” O’Hara said.