Safety is a right for all and the number one priority of government is to provide for the safety of its citizens. Our city could have the best parks, bike lanes, transit system, etc, but none of that means anything if residents and visitors are not protected and do not feel safe.
Just as city leaders must work to ensure the safety of the public, we must also insist that the policing is done in a way that is humane, respects the dignity of all people, and puts the protection of life first and foremost. When we fail to do this the consequences are severe and painful as has been shown time and again in Minneapolis and elsewhere throughout our nation. The reasons for this are many and varied and so must be the ways that we address it.
As your member of city council I will enhance public safety by:
- Supporting the hiring of additional sworn officers to provide adequate staffing to better protect the public from increasing violent crime.
- Insisting that future MPD officers better reflect the diversity of the citizens they serve.
- Urging that the Police Conduct Oversight Commission be fully appointed and and hold regular meetings and ensuring that the police department does not solely police itself.
- Collaborating with Minneapolis Public Schools and MnSCU to introduce Minneapolis youth to careers in public safety and create a pipeline into the MPD.
- Working with other public and private partners to incentivize MPD officers to live in the city and become part of the community they serve.
- Further studying ways in which members of the Office of Violence Prevention can be deployed to maximum effect.
Fighting Racial Disparities
Our land has been plagued by racial injustice from the first moment Europeans reached its shores. A direct line can be drawn from the genocide of the indigenous people, to the suffering of the African slave trade, through Jim Crow segregation, to today’s appalling racial disparities. We cannot accept this and must do what we can to eradicate disparities.
Economic justice and increasing opportunities are the key to fighting racial disparities in Minneapolis. City government cannot cure society’s failings but we can use our resources to fight them.
We must continue to ensure that our minimum wage is a livable wage, and expose disadvantaged youth to careers in fields where they are currently under-represented through mentoring and partnering with city departments, other government entities, trade unions, and the business community.
One example of this partnership is the Minneapolis Fire Department’s EMS Academy. Over the last three years the the EMS academy has trained 36 Minneapolis youth in for careers in the Emergency Medical Services field. 85% of the graduates have been BIPOC and many have gone on to careers with Hennepin Healthcare and the MFD. This is the type of successful program that I will work to expand citywide.
Decriminalization of Drugs
The War on Drugs has been a complete failure. It has contributed greatly to mass incarceration, militarization of police, targeting of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, the break up of families, denial of employment opportunities, and countless tragic deaths. The list goes on and on. It’s also a waste of city resources. Recreational users and addicts are not criminals. We need to end this war now.
We need to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of all drugs and treat them the same way we treat alcoholic beverages. No drug has lead to more worse outcomes for society than alcohol, yet it is sold everywhere, advertised, even glorified in our culture.
- We can legalize and regulate all drugs to make them safer.
- Like alcohol, use in public, driving under the influence, sale to minors, etc would be illegal.
- Savings from drug enforcement can be redirected for more productive uses within the city budget.
- Decriminalization would decrease negative interactions with police and the community at large.
- Revenues from taxation can be used to fund more robust drug addiction programs.
- Drug legalization would reduce overall crime and reduce the negative consequences of a drug black market.
It will take a change to state law to get to full decriminalization, but the police department can be directed to lessen enforcement and the city attorney can be directed seek diversion or non-persecution of drug possession cases.