A small group of Minneapolis City Council members is once again working on a proposal that could replace the current Police Department in the wake of George Floyd's death.
The proposal, which would have to go before voters, could place police and other public safety programs under a new department.
"This is really about bringing together different public safety strategies with law enforcement to be able to achieve better outcomes for all of the residents of our city," said Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, who is working on the proposal alongside Council Members Steve Fletcher and Jeremy Schroeder.
Cunningham said many of the details are still being worked out, and the council members expect to release a more detailed plan at the end of the month.
A spokesman for Mayor Jacob Frey said he will review the proposal when the final language is available, but he already has concerns that it would "diminish accountability by requiring [police] Chief [Medaria] Arradondo report to 14 different elected officials with divergent public safety priorities."
The mayor "has deep reservations about the potentially negative impact on the delivery of vital public safety services and clarity of command in moments of crisis," spokesman Mychal Vlatkovich said in a statement.
Cunningham said he imagines their proposal will place oversight of the new department on par with many other city departments, with the council holding legislative authority and the mayor with executive control.
The city's charter, which serves as its constitution, has become a focal point in many of the conversations about how to change policing and public safety following Floyd's death. It now says that Minneapolis must have a Police Department with a minimum force based on the city's population. It gives the mayor "complete power" over the department's operations but gives the City Council responsibility for funding it.
During Friday morning's council meeting, Cunningham, Fletcher and Schroeder will "give notice" of their intent to introduce a charter amendment that would create a new department "to provide public safety services, including law enforcement," according to a brief description included on Friday's council agenda.
It would also remove the Minneapolis Police Department's status as a stand-alone department in the charter.
Friday's council meeting will mark the beginning of a monthslong process before any changes could take place.
Before it can appear on the ballot, it needs to go through a series of City Council meetings and a review by the court-appointed Charter Commission. This would be the second charter amendment proposed by council members since Floyd's death. Last year, five council members wrote a proposal to create a public safety department in which police officers would have theoretically been optional. State law limits their ability to eliminate officers.
That proposal never made it before voters, after the Charter Commission voted to delay it and conduct a review.
Liz Navratil • 612-673-4994