St. Paul leaders unveil commission set to review city’s emergency response

Thursday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter unveiled a community safety commission that will review alternative responses to low priority calls that would traditionally be handled by police.

“Now more than ever, amid the many crises we face, re-envisioning emergency response is a critical step toward realizing safer outcomes,” Carter said in a statement. “This Commission will help us expand our Community-First Public Safety Framework, and further chart a path forward for our community.”

The Community-First Public Safety Commission will consist of 40 member and will be co-chaired by Acooa Ellis of Greater Twin Cities United Way and John Marshall of Xcel Energy.

The commission will meet for five months and will provide recommendations to the mayor and the City Council in May 2021. The Citizens League, a nonpartisan organization that encourages Minnesotans to engage in civic life and public policy, will also be involved in the process.

The project is budget is $71,200 and will be paid through the city’s Innovation Fund.

The commission will review alternative responses to priority 4 and 5 calls. Examples for those types of calls include:

  • Priority 4
    • Offense reports where no suspect is present and no personal threat exists.
    • Assist citizen in non-emergency matter.
    • Shoplifters being held by store security personnel.
    • Drunks, emotionally disturbed persons, disorderly persons, not threatening physical harm.
  • Priority 5
    • Miscellaneous request for service.
    • Barking dogs.
    • Loud party.
    • Loud radios, etc.
    • Parking complaints.