City of Minneapolis looking into creating unarmed Traffic Safety Division

The City of Minneapolis is looking into creating an unarmed Traffic Safety Division.

In a unanimous vote Friday, the City Council approved for staff to design and develop recommendations for the proposed new division, which would not be a part of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Currently in Minneapolis, Traffic Control Services is a division of the Regulatory Services Department.

Council member Phillipe Cunningham submitted the staff direction. According to the document, goals for the proposed division include "eliminating racial disparities in traffic enforcement" and "earning the trust of communities who have been harmed by previous enforcement practices."

"We urgently need traffic safety in our community," wrote Cunningham in a Facebook post. "We also need for increasing traffic safety to not come at a great cost of harm to our neighbors in the process. This issue is very complex, but it is surmountable." 

While Cunningham said he has been working on this effort for several years, this step comes just days after Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center during a traffic stop. Wright was initially pulled over for expired tags.

Under Cunningham's outline, staff would have to report back to the Public Health and Safety committee with a project timeline by the end of the second quarter this year.