Proposal would give Mpls. council more control over police

Minneapolis council member Cam Gordon
Minneapolis council member Cam Gordon advocated to repeal the city's spitting and lurking ordinances Thursday, June 4, 2015 at a news conference about reforming the Minneapolis police department outside City Hall.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News 2015

Minneapolis City Council member Cam Gordon gave notice Friday that he'll introduce a proposal next month that would give the council more oversight over the city's police department. If it passes, the proposed change to the city's charter would go before voters in November.

Right now, Gordon said, the council's control over the police department is limited to its budget. The mayor has the authority to set departmental policies.

"I just think it's time that we modernize our code and our organization and streamline it so that it's consistent with all department heads," Gordon said. "That will also make it easier to be transparent and accountable to the people of Minneapolis.

Gordon mentioned the proposal following a community hearing Wednesday about the shooting death of Thurman Blevins by Minneapolis police. At that meeting, some council members, including council President Lisa Bender, said they were open to exploring the change.

Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement that he opposed the proposal as a council member and still opposes it as mayor.

"Effectively responding to the demands of policing requires an ability to receive clear - and at times quick - direction," Frey said. "That direction would be practically impossible with 14 cooks in the kitchen."

The proposal would return to the council on July 20, Gordon said during the meeting. It would then work its way through the council's committees and the city charter commission before returning to the full council for a vote on whether to send it to voters.

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