Ward 4: The Future of Community Safety
A discussion was held over zoom for Ward 4 in Minneapolis discussing what community safety would look like in the future within the ward. The meeting, which took place on Sept 8, at 5:30 p.m. enabled residents of the area to have a discussion and voice their concerns on what the security standards look like now versus what they should look like in the coming years. The goal of this meeting, Council Member Phillipe Cunningham stated, was “for Ward 4 residents to have a voice in city wide discussions.”
Cunningham started the discussion with a presentation on what the process of change is going to look like. The ward is focusing on creating a “human-centered design”. The hope is to create a new system of public safety that would keep the residents and the community of Ward 4 safe. Cunningham emphasized a need for all people to work together with a realization this discussion is important to everyone.
As of right now, the police force responds to nearly every 911 call received. This leaves the police force stressed for time and short on resources. One of the options discussed would involve only responding to calls that are related to criminal activities rather than medical emergencies.
In the second section of the meeting, residents were able to go to different breakout rooms, one of which hosted a discussion with council members Steve Fletcher and Cameron Gordon. During this section, the council members had a conversation with residents about the current charter and what has not been completely effective.
The current charter for Minneapolis places the responsibility of discipline solely on the chief of police. No one else in the police force has the authority to punish the wrong behaviors of police officers. This places the pressure on the chief, in addition to his other responsibilities, leaving the disciplinary structure practically ineffective.
The council members ended the discussion, talking about the importance of each resident speaking up so Ward 4 can be best represented when the 2021 ballot is presented.