New grant would bring changes to Minneapolis Police Department

A new grant could cause some major changes at the Minneapolis Police Department, and the mayor and police chief are hoping the city council backs the proposal.

The $700,000 grant from the Pohlad Family Foundation includes $500,000 designated for an officer early intervention system and $200,000 for infrastructure needed to get the city’s mobile mental health crisis unit on the streets.  

The early intervention system, which is already being used in other departments in the country, tracks officer behaviors to head off problems when patterns emerge.

"That’s everything from use of force incidents to complaints… everything from sick days taken to conduct and interactions that they have with the general public," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said.

One system already in use in other departments is from a company called Benchmark Analytics. It shows a dashboard to help identify officers who need help, and it’s considered by the mayor and chief to be a far better way for supervisors to stay on top of issues.

"This does not replace internal affairs. It does not replace the Office of Police Conduct Review or civil rights," Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo explained.

Chief Arradondo said this isn’t a tool for discipline of his officers, but rather, it’s to recognize problems that might be signs of officers’ mental health from stress of the job. And in an overwhelmed department, he sees it as essential.

"To be able now to have this data-driven, real-time analytics… this is so incredibly important," he said.