The role and responsibility of unions in police reform

4 people sit in an office
Minneapolis Police Federation board members from left, Sgt. Sherral Schmidt, Vice President, Sgt. Anna Hedberg, director, Lt. Bob Kroll, president, and Officer Rich Walker, director, sit for an interview in St. Paul on June 23, 2020.
Evan Frost | MPR News file

Since George Floyd’s killing in late May, calls for change in policing have reignited around the country and in Minnesota. The Minneapolis City Council is moving forward with its plans to dismantle the city’s Police Department and both the Minneapolis and St. Paul public school districts have moved to end their relationships with local police departments.

Meanwhile, some see these police unions as “roadblocks to change.” Minneapolis’ police union leaders have told MPR News that they’re open to some community demands, but so far, president Lt. Bob Kroll is not willing to satisfy demands that he step down. 

On Wednesday, MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with reporter Brandt Williams about his conversation with Kroll and other Minneapolis Police Federation board members. She also interviewed two former officers about the role of police unions in policing and in reform.


  • Brandt Williams is a correspondent for MPR News.

  • Janeé Harteau is a former Minneapolis police chief and president and CEO of Vitals Aware Services

  • David Thomas is a former police officer, a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University and author of the book "The State of American Policing: Psychology, Behavior, Problems and Solutions." 

    To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

    Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts , Spotify or RSS

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