Politics and Government

Here are a few items in the proposed contract between Minneapolis and the police union

Police officers stand near the encampment.
Minneapolis police surround Camp Nenookaasi at 26th Street and 14th Avenue in Minneapolis on Jan. 30.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

The city of Minneapolis has released its tentative contract with the city’s police union. The agreement would give officers a substantial boost in pay in exchange for more control over staffing by the city’s police chief. 

City officials hope that incentives in the contract, which they said would make Minneapolis officers some of the highest paid in the state, will help the department attract new officers and retain current officers after years of declining numbers. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called it “a balanced agreement that will make the department a more competitive employer and provide our chief with the necessary managerial control.”

“This is a good deal for Minneapolis residents who are counting on this local government to do everything possible to replenish our ranks and deliver on change,” Frey said.

The agreement was negotiated in five open sessions before negotiations were closed to the public after the union asked an arbitrator to intervene. It was ratified by the membership of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis by a vote of 301-63. 

Substantial raise for officers

The contract gives Minneapolis officers a 21.7 percent pay increase over the three years of the contract. By 2025, a recruit in the department’s academy would be paid at least $41.62 an hour, which is more than $85,000 a year. At the high end of the scale, a police lieutenant would earn at least $72.98 an hour. 

The goal, according to Frey and Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara, is to replenish the ranks of the department. In the four years since George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer, the department is down about 340 sworn officers, according to data received from the city.  

Frey and the city have launched recruitment campaigns, specifically targeting Minneapolis residents and people of color. In an interview with MPR News after Officer Jamal Mitchell’s fatal shooting, O’Hara said these raises are necessary to boost the department’s ranks and attract officers like Mitchell, who want to serve the public. 

More powers for the chief

The contract would also give more authority to the police chief about how work is assigned. Chief O’Hara will now be able to fill vacant spots more quickly without waiting to go through the full union process. He’ll also have more control over who gets promoted, rather than requiring a certain number of promotions. 

The chief will also be allowed to temporarily assign any sworn officers in higher assignments, like a sergeant or lieutenant, to serve as a police officer when needed. 

The police department will also be allowed to hire non-sworn personnel to do some work that was previously done by sworn officers. That includes investigative work, which the department says will allow sworn staff to respond to emergency calls and public safety incidents. 

According to the new contract, the chief will also be able to put an officer on paid investigative leave for up to 180 days after allegations of severe misconduct. The chief could previously only put an officer on leave for 30 days.  


Another provision in the contract would eliminate one-off letters of agreement, which have been used to add provisions to the contract in the past, but were difficult to track. City officials say any past letters of agreement have been absorbed into the new contract. 

The contract also changes a policy that the department notify officers of the identity of anyone requesting their public personnel data. Advocates had worried the system was ripe for abuse. The current language still requires an officer to be notified that a request was made.

The Minneapolis City Council will hold a closed-door session on the contract next week. They’ll organize at least one public hearing on the contract before a final vote is scheduled on June 27. 

The previous police union contract was approved by the council, but some council members thought it didn’t go far enough in requiring reforms of the department. Some activists are questioning the timeline for approving the contract, arguing that more time is necessary for the public to understand what’s in there.