A group that wants all Minneapolis police to be required to carry professional liability insurance has fallen short in its quest to send the issue to voters this fall — at least for now.
Thursday, following a detailed review of the 14,602 signatures the Committee for Professional Policing submitted in a petition, city officials said they could verify just 6,360 of those signatures. That’s short of the 6,869 registered voters’ signatures required to put a charter amendment proposal on the ballot.
City Clerk Casey Carl said the review found that more than 3,600 of the signatures were crossed out, while others were duplicates or did not match voter registration records. Petition organizers also did not get some of the petition pages notarized.
The organizers of the petition have until July 5 to gather another 509 signatures to make up the difference. If they can get enough verified signatures, council members then would determine if the proposal constitutes a proper amendment to the city’s charter, which is the only type of ballot measure allowed in Minneapolis.
Dave Bicking, campaign chairman for the Committee for Professional Policing, said his group appreciates the work of the Clerk’s Office, though it disagrees with the criteria it used. He said his group did its own count and found about 2,000 more verified signatures, and expects organizers will have no trouble finding more to meet the July 5 deadline. The group plans to gather signatures at this weekend’s Twin Cities Pride Festival, among other locations.
“There’s no question we’ll have enough signatures to be on the ballot,” Bicking said.
Under the “Police Insurance Amendment,” the city could pay the base rate for the new police insurance coverage. But if premiums went up because of lawsuits and settlements related to officer misconduct, the officers involved in those incidents would be responsible for covering the added cost. Supporters of the idea say it would provide an incentive for officers to avoid the kind of behavior that results in misconduct cases.
Currently, the city is self-insured and determines whether it will cover police misconduct settlements on a case-by-case basis. In recent years, annual costs of those settlements have sometimes run into the millions. Between 2012 and September 2015, the city paid out $6.6 million.