Proposed amendment removes section on police department from Minneapolis charter, keeps division of officers

A new proposed amendment would remove requirements for the city to maintain a police department from the Minneapolis city charter while adding a new division for "law enforcement services" with licensed officers.

The proposed changes come as a group of city councilmembers work to defund the Minneapolis Police Department. Under the current charter language, the city council is required to fund a police force of a size proportionate to the city's population.

Changes being considered in the amendment would remove that requirement along with an entire section on the police department.

The proposal replaces that language with a new department: the Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

The changes also remove minimum officer requirements within the new community safety department, instead saying the council is responsible for "adequately funding" the replacement department.

Along with the department of community safety, the amendment would add a Division of Law Enforcement Services, which would be composed of "licensed peace officers" under the purview of the director of the Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

While the current charter language gives the mayor complete control over the police department, including hiring the chief, the new proposal would put the mayor in charge of nominating a director for the new department that would be appointed by the city council.

That person would be someone who has "non-law enforcement experience in community safety and violence prevention" which could include "public health and restorative justice approaches"

The appointed director would in turn choose the leader of the Law Enforcement Services Division.

It's unclear exactly how this structure would differ from the current police department structure.

However, for any of these changes to take place, the amendment will likely have to be approved by a public vote.