Public can weigh in on charter amendment to replace Minneapolis Police Department next week

While the department would be replaced, a Division of Law Enforcement Services would be included under the new charter language. (FOX 9)

Next week, Minneapolis residents will get a chance to weigh in on proposed changes to the city's charter that would replace the police department with a public safety department.

A public hearing is scheduled for next Thursday, February 18, starting at 1:30 p.m. during a Public Health and Safety committee meeting Those interested in speaking can sign up online.

Under the proposal, the city would remove the current structure of the police department and add a Department of Public Safety.

The new department would include a law enforcement division with police officers, but the changes would remove a requirement to staff the department with a minimum number of officers proportionate to population counts.

City councilmembers who have proposed the changes say the new structure would mimic the state's Department of Public Safety and allow leaders to organize multiple public safety efforts under one umbrella department.

The new department would also give the city council more control over public safety in the city. The current charter gives the mayor full purview over the police department.

A similar proposal was considered last year following the death of George Floyd. Despite multiple hearings on the proposal, the city's charter commission ultimately decided to hold the proposal, keeping it off the November ballot.

Lawmakers say the current proposal would be subject to a public vote before going into effect.