Business, law enforcement leaders express concern over defunding Minneapolis Police Department

The calls by Minneapolis councilmembers to defund the police department are generating plenty of discussions about public safety. From business owners to those in law enforcement, the unknown is creating some concern. For many, it’s scary to envision what Minneapolis without police would look like.

“What that would become and what that would translate to is the gangs would rule the streets,” said Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart.

Sheriff Stuart says while his office often provides assistance in the city, he has little interest in bailing Minneapolis out if the councilmembers’ plan does not go smoothly.

“I don’t think it’s incumbent upon all the surrounding communities to bail them out if a lack of a plan fails them,” said Sheriff Stuart.

In the business community, there’s concern that a move to replace police with “community led safety” will affect the city’s ability to attract conventions and large events. In addition, small business owners fear 

“The overwhelming reaction is, what does this mean, and again, because there is no plan and there’s not even a plan to make a plan, nobody can answer that question quite yet,” said Minneapolis Downtown Council President Steve Cramer.

Cramer says his office has been inundated with calls since the majority of the city council announced their pledge to defund and dismantle the police. 

The Downtown Council believes law enforcement has to be a part of the safety equation, but he says Minneapolis business leaders have yet to be consulted on the topic. 

“You know, it’s one thing to talk to several hundred people in Powderhorn Park who have a very clear point of view, it’s another thing to really say, as a community how are we going to come together and reach consensus on a challenging topic?” he said.

Councilmembers promise those conversations will happen and residents will be safe. They say over the next year, they will ask the community to give input on how to replace the current department with a community-based public safety model