New Minneapolis Public Safety Commissioner seeks $1M budget

Minneapolis Public Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander presented a $1 million yearly budget proposal for his new department to a meeting of the Minneapolis City Council’s budget committee on Thursday. 

"We still have a lot of work to do in terms of building our office, but this is a journey that will always be a part of our memories and experiences as time goes on," he said. 

Mayor Jacob Frey’s budget proposal called for $1 million for the Office of Community Safety for both 2023 and 2024. Alexander explained the money will go to fund six full-time positions that will make up his core team, covering operations, administration and communications. 

The proposal includes $207,331 to hire Alexander’s chief of staff. Alexander himself is the city’s highest-paid employee, with a salary that is reportedly between $292,000 and $350,000.

The Office of Community Safety, led by Alexander, oversees five other departments — police, fire, 911, neighborhood safety (or the Office of Violence Prevention) and emergency management — each of which has its own budget and staff. 

Alexander told the committee his staff is focused on developing a plan to better respond to mass protests. 

"We're talking about a plan for civil unrest that we're working to put in place very aggressively," he said. 

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Alexander hopes the work of his office will be important for the residents of the city and serve as a national example, he said.

"Being in this community at this particular time in the history of this city, in this country, is hugely important, I think. For all of us to be able, particularly for me, to be able to show the rest of this community and this country what it is we're able to do, when we're coming out of a situation trying to move to a much better place, and we're going to get there," he said. 

For now, he said his staff is working around a large table in an office on the first floor of City Hall.

"At some point, we'll have pictures on the wall, and we'll even have a sign outside that says Office of Community Safety because right now it says nothing, you know, but everybody knows that's where we are," he said.