Updated: August 13, 2021 06:13 PM
Created: August 13, 2021 11:08 AM
A memo sent to officers within the Minneapolis Police Department states that authorities will begin to scale back on specific traffic stops.
Chief Medaria Arradondo sent the memo out on Thursday.
KSTP obtained the memo from sources on Friday.
Arradondo stated that traffic stops relating to expired tabs, items dangling from mirrors and not having a working license plate light would cease.
In addition, the police chief said that the city attorney's office will also stop prosecuting tickets for driving after license suspension "when the only basis for the suspension was a failure to pay fines or fees," and there was no accident or other "egregious driving behavior that would impact public safety."
"Traffic enforcement remains a key part in keeping our roadways and streets safe for those we serve," Arradondo wrote, in part. "By prioritizing the more serious traffic violations and no longer conducting routine traffic stops on the lesser violations mentioned above where it's the only offense, it will have minimal impact on current MPD traffic enforcement and can also help build trust with the communities we serve."
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also commented on the update on Twitter, saying his administration has been working with the department on reform for traffic enforcement.
"Another concrete change moving us in the right direction," Frey commented. He later added, "to be clear, it's against the law to have expired tabs, you can still get a ticket for expired tabs for instance if you're parked — and it's noted your tabs aren't up-to-date — the only difference, and it's an important one, is that you wouldn't get pulled over for those infractions as a primary reason. I think this is the right direction to go."
Minneapolis Attorney Jim Rowader issued the following statement regarding the matter:
The City Attorney's Office recommended these changes to the mayor and chief after a very thorough and thoughtful analysis. This office is committed to addressing the racial inequities in traffic stops while not compromising public safety, and these two new polices accomplish that goal. While expired tabs will no longer be the primary reason for a traffic stop, this offense will still be enforced in other ways. Whenever a vehicle with expired tabs is stopped for speeding, red light running or any other public safety reason, the expired tabs charge can and should be added to the citation. The City's Traffic Control agents will also continue to enforce expired tabs on parked vehicles as part of their work.
While the legislative change around driving after suspension that was passed this past session is a great first step, it is not enough to address the inequities around driver's license suspensions as it was not applied retroactively. It is in everyone's best interests to have licensed and insured drivers on our roads. By dismissing these cases we eliminate additional charges that often drive up insurance rates and make auto insurance unaffordable for many people. Individuals will still be held accountable for moving violations such as speeding, as they will be required to either pay those citations or contest them in court. If they fail to do so, those convictions will be entered on their record and the fine will be sent to collections, but there will no longer be the additional consequence of suspending driving privileges.
These new policies are just one small step in addressing the disparities around traffic stops while freeing up resources to focus on offenses that have a direct impact public safety. The City Attorney's office is committed to continuing this work in the future with further policy changes.
Council Member for Ward 3, Steve Fletcher, added his thoughts on the update as well.
"The real problem we need to solve in our traffic enforcement is racially biased pre-text stops. This policy change does not do that. It's a small step in a direction we should go, but there are still too many excuses to pull someone over on a false pretext, and this policy doesn't go far enough to achieve greater equity or safety," Fletcher said, in a statement.
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