February 21, 2021
Thank you Chuck Turchick for helping the City Council understand that the 2040 Comp Plan goals are not being met by the proposed Public Safety Charter Amendment. This is civilian oversight at its best.
Dear City Council members,
To the extent I understand what the Public Safety policy (Policy 84) of the 2040 Plan says -- and that is a very limited extent -- I don't think I agree with portions of it. At the very least, it needs a whole lot more discussion, which it never got at the time the Plan was passed, because other provisions were more controversial.
But you members of the Council do own that Public Safety policy. You wrote it, and you voted for it. As you well know, the entire Plan passed 10-1, but there wasn't any dissent with respect to the Public Safety section.
So, I call your attention to the third of the six action steps, which are preceded by this language in bold type:
The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to prioritize collaborative, multisector, community-inclusive approaches to ensuring safety for all members of our community.
That third action step is:
Proactively build trust between first responders and the community.
I take it that if you decide to put the public safety Charter amendment proposal on the November ballot, the licensed peace officers of your "law enforcement services division" will be included in those first responders of your Plan's third action step. So my question for you, a question I asked during the recent Public Health and Safety Committee hearing, is this: How does the Charter amendment proposal "proactively build trust between first responders and the community."?
Note the wording of your action step. It doesn't say build community trust in the City's first responders. Rather, it says you will build trust between first responders and the community. The language is reciprocal.
Your Charter proposal is a slightly different version of the one you presented in 2020. At that time, you said you had consulted with certain groups in the community in developing your proposal. Maybe this isn't a justified assumption, but it seems to me your proposal will have implications for "trust between first responders and the community." So, since you consulted with certain groups in writing last year's Charter proposal, did you also consult with the first responders themselves? Rank and file police officers? Or even the MPD administration? If you haven't, do you think your proposal is in keeping with the spirit of that third step of the 2040 Plan's Public Safety plank that you wrote and voted to implement?
As I said, I have problems with parts of your 2040 Public Safety policy. But it's yours. Do you have problems with it too? More specifically, do you think your proposed Charter amendment proactively builds trust between the community and the first responders in the police department/law enforcement services division? And do you believe other public statements you have made since May 25, 2020, have also built that trust?
This part of the 2040 Plan needed, and still needs, more discussion. But you voted for it. Own it.
Keep safe and stay healthy.