Minneapolis Doesn’t Abolish Its Police Department

Minneapolis, along with cities like Portland and Seattle, has been ground zero for the movement to defund–i.e., abolish–the police. The Minneapolis City Charter includes a provision that requires a certain level of law enforcement to be maintained, and the Upper Midwest Law Center (full disclosure: I serve on the UMLC board) won a big case in which a local judge ordered the City to add police officers to comply with the Charter. So the far Left naturally proposed a charter amendment that would not only do away with the requirement of a minimum level of law enforcement, but would abolish–sort of–the Minneapolis Police Department.

The wording of the charter amendment was vague at best, and was subject to litigation. The language that ultimately appeared on the ballot was this:

Department of Public Safety

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety, with those specific functions to be determined by the Mayor and City Council by ordinance; which will not be subject to exclusive mayoral power over its establishment, maintenance, and command; and which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?

Explanatory Note: This amendment would create a Department of Public Safety combining public safety functions through a comprehensive public health approach to be determined by the Mayor and Council. The department would be led by a Commissioner nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Council. The Police Department, and its chief, would be removed from the City Charter. The Public Safety Department could include police officers, but the minimum funding requirement would be eliminated.

No one was quite sure what changes the charter amendment would bring about; that would be up to the Mayor and City Council. But it was generally understood that the amendment meant fewer policemen and more social workers.

Early on, the betting was that the amendment would pass. Local politicians like Ilhan Omar enthusiastically endorsed it. A lot of money, mostly from other states, poured into the election with misleading, feel-good pleas to vote Yes. But in the end, most voters understood the bottom line, and with 132 of 136 precincts reporting, the No vote is winning by 56%-44%.

So it seems there are limits to liberal insanity, even in cities like Minneapolis.

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