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Thursday
Jul192018

Editorial: Mayor Frey Correct in Opposing Police Oversight Proposal

Mayor makes the right call opposing the "14 Boss" plan

A proposal is working its way through the Minneapolis City Council that would have the Chief of Police report to 14 individuals - all 13 council members and the mayor. Presently, the charter provides the mayor with authority to “make all rules and regulations and … general and special orders necessary to operating the police department.” This proposal is ill conceived at best. To put it simply, no law enforcement entity can function with 14 bosses.

The stated reason for the change is improved accountability, but it's impact would be exactly the opposite. Right now Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Arradondo are the responsible individuals for the police department. It's clear to the voters, it's clear who to credit when things go well and who to blame when they don't. The proposal, however, would dilute responsibility by spreading it across 13 council offices.

Day to day policing decisions would also suffer because the Chief would not have clarity of reporting. Does the Chief report to a different boss depending on the ward? Are we creating a situation in which policing decisions in the 3rd Ward half of downtown are entirely different from those made in the 7th Ward half? These questions have remained unanswered.

The present structure of reporting also allows for the Mayor to make quick, decisive decisions in minutes if necessary. The council process (which is legislative in nature) would take over a month for the same outcome. There is a reason why no other large city in the country uses this structure - it simply doesn't work practically.

Mayor Jacob Frey has mounted an opposition to the proposal, and the Star Tribune reports that the council vote breakdown is relatively close, with 3rd Ward Council Member Steve Fletcher being the swing vote. Let's hope this City Council acts responsibly and recognizes this proposal for the bad idea that it is.

MORE COVERAGE

MILL CITY TIMES/COUNCIL MEMBER STEVE FLETCHER: Mayor should retain executive authority, City Council should assume policy making authority

STRIB: Mayor Frey speaks out about council bid for more power over police

STRIB: Minneapolis City Council bid for more oversight of police is wrongheaded

STRIB: Reject proposal to spread oversight of Minneapolis Police Department to City Council

SOUTHWEST JOURNAL: Seeking more oversight of police, council members eye charter amendment

FOX 9: Mayor Frey, Chief Arradondo speak out against proposed shared authority over police

« Opinion: Mayor should retain executive authority, City Council should assume policy making authority, says Council Member Steve Fletcher | Main | Minneapolis 2040: Comment Period Continues Through July 22 »