After the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, the country's attention has turned toward police departments and policing policies.
On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to advance a plan to disband the Minneapolis Police Department. Under the plan, the department would be renamed the "department of community safety and violence prevention" and it would maintain a division of licensed officers but would be led by a non-law enforcement figure. The new department would be responsible for “public safety services prioritizing a holistic, public health-oriented approach."
In Red Wing, changes are also being discussed but disbanding the police department is not under consideration.
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Instead, the Red Wing City Council voted on Monday to create a public safety policies and practices task force to bring community members and law enforcement officers together to look at local practices.
City Council President Dean Hove told Police Chief Roger Pohlman during Monday's meeting: “We actively want your participation. We don’t want you just sitting on the sidelines. That’s never been the intention.”
Pohlman has long been a strong advocate of a community approach to crime prevention. He came to Red Wing in 2012 and within two years implemented the Community Policing Program. The four goals are to build community relations, receive community input, reduce the fear of crime and lower the overall crime rate. In addition, the department has a Citizens Academy.
The council unanimously voted to create the task force but details of what it will focus on and how it will look will be determined at a workshop on Monday, June 29.
The plan briefly discussed during Monday's meeting was to have a group of nine or 11 members and a couple of police officers on the newly created task force.
The workshop will be held at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on Monday.