Minneapolis community weighs in on police contract ahead of council vote

Minneapolis residents packed into city council chambers Monday afternoon to weigh in on a proposed Minneapolis police union contract that would boost officer wages.

This was the second public comment since the proposal was sent to the Minneapolis City Council for approval. Opponents said the proposal was too expensive and unearned, while supporters said it would help the department hire and retain officers at a time when they are greatly understaffed.

"Like many of my neighbors, I want to see a vibrant city… but a 21.7% raise is not going to bring safety to our communities," said one man.

"No one would dispute that reform is needed," added another woman, who said both her husband and daughter had been the victims of violent crimes in recent months. "But we need more police, because these criminals know they can get away with it."

The proposed contract would give veteran officers a 21.7 percent wage increase by next summer and increase the starting salary for new officers to more than $90,000 a year. It would also give the police chief more managerial authority. 

Mayor Jacob Frey’s office calls the proposal "historic" and has criticized the council for delaying a vote as they say the council had several opportunities to weigh in over the last year.

Responding to residents who demanded the contract take on reform, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara said the department has taken many steps towards change and that they continue to work under a consent decree.

"I believe the right avenue for reform is outside the contract," said Chief O’Hara.