University of Minnesota to conduct policy review of police mutual aid response

The University of Minnesota will be conducting a policy review of the university police department's mutual aid response.

At a special Board of Regents meeting Wednesday, President Joan Gabel announced this review is one of the aspects the university would be "accelerating" as part of its public safety initiative, which developed out of recommendations from a consultant's review last year.

"We have heard clearly from the community about the pace with which this change is happening," said Gabel. "There’s an eagerness to pick up that pace, which we fully understand, but we’re also committed to doing this right."

This comes as leaders of the Minnesota Student Association have demanded for increased police accountability after learning members of UMPD assisted with response to protests in Brooklyn Center following the deadly police shooting of Daunte Wright. In an email advocacy campaign, students called on school adminstration to cut ties with other police departments. Students are planning a protest outside Gabel's home on Friday.

This mirrors a similar push from students last year following the death of George Floyd, which led to President Gabel announcing the U of M would "limit" its relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department.

At the meeting, Gabel provided an update on other steps of the initiative:

  • New campus safety app -- currently in testing
  • Body-worn cameras for all UMPD officers -- currently in procurement
  • Oversight of UMPD transitions to Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Myron Frans -- completed
  • Meetings with Minneapolis and St. Paul mayors about public safety -- ongoing
  • Hire social worker on UMPD staff -- in progress