Poll: Majority of Minneapolis voters support proposed change to city charter

A new poll found that a majority of Minneapolis residents support a 2020 charter change that would create a Community Safety and Violence Prevention Department, officials announced Monday.

According to city officials, a new poll conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group and commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union and The Fairness Project found that 61% of Minneapolis voters are prepared to vote ‘yes’ on the city charter change.

On Wednesday, the Charter Commission will decide whether to approve the proposal to include the question on the November ballot.

According to the study, the potential initiative would create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention that may include police officers as one part of the larger department. To allow these changes to occur, the measure would eliminate a current legal requirement that the city pay for a minimum number of police officers per resident. The potential measure would mandate that the new department engage regularly with the community and take a holistic approach to public safety rooted in public health.

“The majority of people in Minneapolis support the 2020 charter amendment and a complete overhaul of policing so that ALL people are truly safe and healthy across the entire city. We are confident the Charter Commission will do the right thing Wednesday, making what amounts to a simple procedural ‘yes’ vote, and respect our fundamental right to vote and decide the future of policing in our city,” Elizer Darris, the ACLU of Minnesota Smart Justice organizer, said in the release. 

“MPD is in crisis because of its long track record of disregard and disdain for Black lives, but police violence isn’t the whole problem,” said Lex Horan of Reclaim the Block. “MPD’s $192 million budget eats up a third of our city’s resources every year, and leaves community members fighting for crumbs for the things that actually make us safe: affordable housing, health care, mental health and violence intervention, community-based conflict resolution, and overdose prevention. This poll confirms that people in Minneapolis are ready to shift our resources to the places we need them most."