Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau spoke the city's drop in crime. / JERRY HOLT
An independent review has concluded that the Minneapolis Police Department’s “early intervention system” should be fundamentally overhauled.
Police Chief Janeé Harteau, who requested the year-long study – titled "Diagnostic Analysis of Minneapolis Police Department, MN" – said it “validates we are headed in the right direction.” She said her department would comply with the report’s recommendations.
“I am pleased to report we have been given some valuable and tangible recommendations on progressive steps we can take to enhance our community relationships and increase public trust and accountability,” said Harteau, who has made no secret of her desire to overhaul the department.
The report, a draft version of which was released in October, was compiled by diagnostics center within the DOJ's Office of Justice Programs.
It identified five key areas of improvement:
- "Lack of a strategic approach to communications"
- "Gaps in community relations, involvement and collaboration"
- "Lack of community knowledge and trust in the police conduct and oversight process"
- "Lack of an effective EIS that has been fully adopted by MPD"
- "Inconsistencies and confusion in the coaching process"
Harteau discussed the findings at an community meeting at police headquarters downtown on Wednesday afternoon, joined by Mark Kappelhoff, the deputy assistant general in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and senior diagnostic specialist Hildy Saizow, one of the study’s authors.
“The MPD is committed to promoting transparency and public engagement, to institutionalizing accountability and to doing so in a way that will benefit the officers and help them do their jobs better,” Kappelhoff said at an earlier news conference. “It’s really going to build trust with the community. That’s what today is all about.”
But several speakers at the afternoon meeting said the recommendations didn’t go far enough.
Longtime community leader Spike Moss said that federal officials had previously intervened, but had little to show for it. He wondered whether this time would be any different.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, a local activist and college law professor, said she felt uncomfortable with the lack of transparency around the report.
“I want to make a recommendation that we actually be given a comprehensive report with critical analysis of what happened, the data you looked at and all of the information,” said Levy-Pounds. “If you’re serious about transparency. Anything short of that is a joke.”
Others questioned the effectiveness of the Office of Police Conduct Review, which recently released its end-of-year report, in disciplining officers accused of misconduct and said that it was opaque about its policies.
Between 2008-2013, 12 officers were fired for misconduct, 64 suspended and 76 received a letter of reprimand, the report found. The majority of offending officers were sent to coaching.
Most complaints against officers involved use of inappropriate language, "inappropriate attitudes," and violation of the "policy and procedure manual," according to the report. Nearly half the time, complaints against officers were dismissed, the data shows. In 28 percent of the misconduct cases, the officer was sent to coaching.
The study's author's also suggested that the department start collecting data on "history and location of citizen complaints to identify patterns and frequency of occurrence."
The full report is below: