Minneapolis City Council Member Wants Changes to Police Conduct Oversight Commission Access

November 29, 2017 08:21 PM

An ordinance to toughen and strengthen the authority of the the Police Conduct Oversight Commission cleared another hurdle as the Public Safety Committee of the Minneapolis City Council gave the measure the thumbs up. 

Council Member Linea Palmisano said she wrote the ordinance after her constituents and citizens across Minneapolis told her there wasn't enough oversight and accountability.


Palmisano wants to make changes, including requiring the department to provide commissioners with police reports, personnel files, and all other documents commissioners require to investigate a complaint.

"Full, unrestricted access in investigating police complaints," Palmisano said. "And also in doing data and research analysis on our police department."

She said the changes would provide the commission with the tools to hold more officers accountable.

"That's a big change from going with what a police department deems appropriate to share about themselves versus what the public might want," Palmisano said.

Palmisano said she talked to Congressman Keith Ellison's staff and people across the country before she wrote her ordinance. And she said such changes could have an impact nationally.

"The things that we're doing here in Minneapolis will certainly have legs elsewhere if they're seen to be effective," she said.

The Minneapolis Police Department said it had no comment when department officials were asked for their thoughts on the matter.

When asked a month ago, the department said it needed to know more about the ordinance before officials would talk about it.

Do you agree with the proposed changes to the Police Conduct Oversight Commission?  If not, what would you like to see?  You can send Council Member Linea Palmisano, Mayor Betsy Hodges, and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo an email with your thoughts. 

Police Conduct Oversight Commission: At a Glance

What it is: According to its website, the mission of the commission is to "become a credible public body where community members take their concerns of police/community interactions, and the police department turns for credible feedback."

Who's on it: The commission is made up of seven appointed volunteers. It meets the second Tuesday of every month. Applications for appointments are received by the City Clerk's Office. A selection committee made up of representatives from the mayor's office, the City Council, the police chief and the city's civil rights department review applications and interview applicants if needed. The person representing the police chief does not hold a voting position, however. He or she can ask questions, but not vote for or against applicants. Applicants are then approved by the City Council. Different seats have different terms.

According to the website, the current members are Chair: Andrea Brown; Vice Chair: Jennifer Singleton; Luke Davis; Afsheen Foroozan; Andrew Buss; Jeffrey Wade; Laura Westphal.

Requirements: According to the website, members must: 

  • Reside in Minneapolis
  • Not have previously been or currently be employed by the Minneapolis Police Department; provide references which will be checked; have the ability to read, apply logic and evaluate complex information and compare it to existing rules, laws or procedures for the purpose of conducting audits of cases involving police misconduct
  • Have excellent writing skills
  • Have competent communication and presentations skills for reporting the results of research to the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Emergency Management Committee of the City Council
  • Facilitate, along with the police department, appropriate cultural awareness training for sworn officers as determined by the commission
  • Contribute to the performance review of the Chief of Police
  • Create and implement a community outreach program and coordinate outreach activities with the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights
  • Be willing to engage in community outreach events with the public
  • Not have a pending complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department
  • Conduct themselves with integrity and maturity when dealing with emotionally charged matters
  • Show a strong commitment to community service
  • Have the ability to communicate with people of all levels of education and backgrounds
  • Be willing to work with the Minneapolis Police Department when reviewing practice and procedures
  • Be able to complete training regarding police use of force, the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Open Meeting Laws and the Minnesota Public Employee Labor Relations Act.


Farrah Fazal

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