Daily Digest: Mayoral candidates and the police

Good morning and happy Tuesday. Here's the Digest.

1.  St. Paul mayoral candidate Pat Harris called 1,100 reports of shots fired in St. Paul this year “inexcusable” and said as mayor he would put 50 new officers on the streets right away. He also promised the new officers “will reflect the diversity of the community." Noting that racially and economically mixed communities have felt the most impact of gun violence, he added, “The way out of this crisis will not just be more police, but more police are needed in St. Paul.” His proposal drew instant pushback on social media, where critics questioned where he would find funding for such a large increase in manpower at a time when the addition of even a handful of police personnel stretches the city budget. (Pioneer Press)

2. The Star Tribune has a look at Raymond Dehn's campaign for mayor. The state lawmaker is one of 15 candidates challenging Mayor Betsy Hodges in her re-election campaign, something he said he decided to do after learning the police officers involved in Jamar Clark’s death would not face any discipline. Since launching his campaign in December, Dehn has harnessed the energy that followed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential run to build a devoted base on a shoestring budget. At the DFL convention in July, Dehn placed first after one round of voting, outpacing Council Member Jacob Frey and Hodges. After police Chief Janeé Harteau resigned after the shooting death of Justine Damond, Dehn issued a statement calling for disarming police officers and faced immediate criticism. He has since proposed a more nuanced position. (Star Tribune)

3. Tribal leaders say the public safety situation on the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation about 100 miles north of the Twin Cities got worse last year, when Mille Lacs County terminated its law enforcement agreement with the band. That ended 25 years of cooperation between the band's police department and the county sheriff's office. The agreement allowed the tribal police department to provide law enforcement on the reservation. Without it, tribal officers don't have authority under state law to act as peace officers and pursue their own investigations. They can arrest suspects, but they must turn them over to the sheriff's office. A major concern is opioid abuse. Gov. Mark Dayton urged the county and the band to work out a new agreement in mediation. But reaching common ground could be difficult. (MPR News)

4. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants it known he’s “politically retired.” The 56-year-old used the phrase or a close variation six times in 90 seconds Monday when pressed about his interest in trying to reclaim his old job in 2018. The adamant self-assessment came after he addressed the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, part of a string of a half-dozen similar appearances he’ll make in a short span this fall. Pawlenty’s circuit focuses on the promise and pitfalls of the technological revolution and what society, business and the political class should do to be ready for dizzying changes to come. But don’t mistake his remarks for a stump speech a candidate would deliver, Pawlenty insisted. (MPR News)

5. Xcel Energy has proposed splitting its utility operations in North Dakota and Minnesota. Xcel says widening policy differences between the two states over clean energy have caused stresses that might best be solved by a breakup. But a consultant for the North Dakota Public Service Commission is arguing against the separation. The consultant says North Dakota would not get long-term benefit and customers probably would wind up paying more. Xcel Energy has operated a single subsidiary for its electrical and gas businesses in the two states for nearly a century. Minnesota regulators decided last month not to take further action, for now, but to monitor North Dakota's proceedings. (AP)


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