"Everyone deserves to feel safe"
After the murder of George Floyd, it finally became widely apparent that policing needed to be addressed on a nationwide level. The entire nation is watching Minneapolis on how to address police brutality. In order to begin the process of building community public safety for all residents, we need to address what got us into this mess in the first place.
Systemic failures have gotten us here.
The only way to fully have safety and security in our community is to have racial justice. Every person, especially our young people, need to know they matter and have real, viable, equitable options. Huge systemic failures got us where we are now and there are no simple solutions. We have to come together and use our imaginations towards a YES, AND approach.
If our Black Lives truly Mattered to the current city council, why have they continued their actions which have ultimately led to more deaths of black people, children, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers than ever before? Losing a loved one to violence is a trauma no one should ever have to live with and I have experienced it multiple times in just one year.
Our council has already demonstrated incompetence in what they are currently responsible for and therefore should not be allowed to take on more responsibility in being in charge of the MPD.
Our current Chief Medaria Arradondo is right on time. He is our best chance of truly reforming the MPD. It's not going to happen overnight, it will take work, and cooperation from a newly elected council that will work with the mayor to make sure this happens.
The reality is we need both racial justice. YES, AND law enforcement.
"As Ward 5’s city council, I will begin the process of bringing racial justice and public safety for everyone in our community."
The Public Safety Charter Amendment
VOTE NO on The Public Safety Charter Amendment
The Public Safety Amendment is vague and misleading with how the new Department of Public Safety will differ from the MPD and how effective it will be in keeping our community safe. In fact, the current city council voted to REMOVE the explanation of the Public Safety Charter Amendment on the ballot, so voters will not know what they are voting for. If the Public Safety Charter Amendment is voted for and implemented, it will transfer the executive power to our city's legislative branch, our 13 city council members. Thus, if we ever want to further reform or change our police department in the future, we would have to lobby 13 city council members to get things done. This amendment could set us up for failure in the long run and continue to harm the BIPOC community. Instead, we should focus on a more direct approach to reforming the MPD and rely on our Chief to help bring racial justice and public safety for Minneapolis.
What Voting FOR the Public Safety Amendment would do:
1. It would make reform and change almost impossible as the executive power would be divided between 13 different people, our city council.
2. It would remove our first black police chief, Medaria Arradondo.
3. It would defund and replace the MPD with a public safety model that’s never been done before, aka Department of Public Safety.
4. It would remove the current requirement of 1.7 officers per 1,000 Minneapolis residents.
What we could do instead:
1. Get behind Chief Arradondo's more direct approach of police reform through the new police contract he has presented
2. Fund community projects with the MPD to promote community engagement and build relationships with our officers
3. Implement incentives to attract more officers to do community engagement and volunteerism AND incentivize them to live in the community
4. Increase funding for Mental Health and Education for the community to increase opportunities for Youth and to decrease the overall crime rate through proactive prevention instead of reactive prescriptions
5. Boost our cadet program to create a pathway for our youth and young adults to receive the proper education to to become a police officer for our community
There are much better ways to reform and I am here to show you how.
Please continue to read Chief Arradondo's new police contract and my thoughts on how I will reform the police department and how I will help heal and build the community
Chief Arradondo's New Police Contract
The new contract includes:
1. "Look Back" policy, which will extend the amount of years the city can review a police officer's record.
2. "Time Between Shifts", which means, when an off-duty officer agrees to work an off duty shift, they will not be able to work until 12 hours after the off duty shift is complete. This will allow for the proper rest and the self care our officers need in order to serve our community and themselves better.
3. "Union separation", which calls for two separate unions: One for supervisors, and one for supervisees. This would allow a more clear separation of responsibilities, more room for supervisors such as an Inspector or lieutenant to dismiss an officer for maltreatment of a civilian as opposed to limiting this power solely to the Chief and Mayor.
4. "Arbitration", currently, 50% of police officers who face arbitration due to using unjustifiable force end up returning back to the force because arbitration is based on precedence, but in the new contract currently being negotiated, if an officer is fired due to force, or lying on a police report, they will not be able to face arbitration at the state and/or it would be illegal for them to return to work before arbitration takes place.
"I am supporting Chief Arradondo and his New Police Contract to reform the Minneapolis Police Department."
I am confident that once this new contract is signed, these changes will limit the ability and desire for officers to act out aggressively toward citizens and will also prevent a repeat of those offenses by those same officers who were given a “pass” to repeat their behaviors and escape an undesirable consequence for an act that is unmistakably wrong.
To learn more about Chief Arradondo's Police Contract, watch this press conference:
Kristel's Plan for Public Safety
In addition to the New Police Contract, as your city councilwoman, I will work on a Public Safety initiatives for Ward 5 to improve policing and the crime rate for our community.
Here is my vision for public safety:
We need to require officers to carry liability insurance (since most high risk professions do). This way if they are uninsurable, they cannot serve as an officer in our city.
We need to boost the cadet program, cover the cost for their education and license for our neighbors to serve as officers, and provide incentives (such as a home-buyer down payment that matches the market we are currently in) to city staff to remain residents in our city.
We need to bring back real engagement. Officers should be expected to get out of their cars and walk down the street. They should be expected to volunteer and spend time within the community they serve just like educators are required to improve their skills every year.
We need a Community Oversight Board (not committee) that is elected to work with MPD and neighborhoods to oversee the hiring and discipline of our officers.
I have spoken to several Black officers that have been asking for reform for years.
We are in desperate need of Police Reform!
What Police Reform looks like to me:
1. More time off in order for officers to rest and spend time with family and friends
2. Increase time to look back in officers record
3. No rehire after being fired for harm committed on a civilian or dishonesty on a police report
4. Grants for residents to obtain Peace officer License and training
5. Separate Unions between supervisors and supervisees so that Supervisors' bargaining units will not be affected when disciplinary action is needed with their staff
6. Implementation of Safety & Violence Prevention department while keeping a fully staffed Police Department in order to prevent crime while having the resources needed to address crime in real time.
7. Liability Insurance requirement for Minneapolis Officers and the need to maintain coverage
Kristel's Plan for Building & Healing Community
With the recent tragedies that our community, our neighbors, have faced, we need to discuss and implement ways for our community to begin healing. And, we need to do it together.
Here are ways we can address community trauma and begin healing:
1. Restore and bring back the Minneapolis Police Department’s community engagement program such as PAL, and Bike Cops for Kids.
2. Build community capacity by funding programs that address repairing the harm and trauma our community has endured throughout history
3. Provide unarmed civilian protection options and training for residents and businesses
4. Include schools, places of worship, and community organizations to recruit applicants that want to serve as officers in our community.
5. Connect with the community, while they are young. We absolutely need to build community by creating and funding coalitions of organizations, and groups that offer activities, programs, and social clubs to youth.
6. Raise the budget for non emergency safety issues such as: City Response time to deal with safety nuisances including prompt repair of street lights, potholes, emergency call boxes, toxic dumping, and excessive speeding.
7. Proper response to residents dealing with mental health crises or drug and alcohol overdose
Addressing Mental Health & Crime
Our approaches to public safety must be rooted within a longer term strategy of treating violence as a public health crisis, and investment in a comprehensive approach to addressing the causes of violence and crime, such as systemic wealth inequity and adverse childhood experiences. Together we can address these issues if we are all connected and given the resources needed to build the capacity needed to serve our youth and their families, together.
"As your Ward 5 city councilwoman, I would focus on our youth, mental health facilities, local education, and our parks to improve the crime rate for the longevity of our community. We deserve safety and our future generations deserve safety. Enough is enough!"
This is what it would look like if you voted for me in November:
1. I would advocate for our city to play a role in addressing these root causes by weaving a tighter web between our parks, schools, community organizations, and schools.
2. In order to make sure that children are safe we have to first make sure they have their basic needs met; shelter, food, love, etc. So first, I would advocate that MPRB, MPS, and all organizations that provide programming, meals and activities to children be expected to work together. No more silos. MPRB & MPS should be working hand in hand.
3. When schools are out (whether it be evenings, weekends, holidays or summer), the parks are in. MPS staff should be allowed to bid on jobs available at our parks and offer stipends for coaching. Not every park has a Recreational Facility, but every park has children. We need to staff these parks so that children can have mentors that they recognize from their schools and can grab a lunch provided by the MPS food truck.
4. Creating partnerships gives community members a 1 stop-shop to find out where and when there is programming for their children so that they don't have to call around for hours. It also helps organizations get the word out when their programming budgets are already limited.
Until a public safety approach that is set in place that is actually effective, is focused on trauma and is really working, we need a fully staffed MPD. It will take years for real change to be seen with a public health approach and for some, no interventions will be effective. Many people who are supporting this don't understand what it takes for individuals to change their lives and turn away from crime, violence, and substance abuse. Even in the best circumstances; If an individual is ready for change, has a strong support system, is not chemically dependent, has stable housing and is working on their trauma, it can still take years.
In order to truly reform, we will need those who have borne the brunt of police brutality for decades to lead this conversation and the work, along with our youth, neighborhood groups, schools, parks and black and indigenous officers to offer input and guidance.
Tackling Gun Violence
When purchasing a gun online, you have to show up to a local store to pick it up. However, many guns that are in the hands of those who are committing violent acts, have purchased their guns illegally or were able to access their guns illegally by theft. When they want to buy ammunition online, they can order a box and have them sent directly to their home. No need to provide Identification, no need for a permit, just the money needed to purchase.
The real way to address gun violence is something that is outside the authority of the city council and would take for our state and federal legislatures to regulate online ammunition purchases. However, as a city council representative and the relationships I have developed with state legislators, I will work to advocate against gun violence since there is a higher rate of gun violence against Ward 5 residents.