DFL public safety bill calls for ‘civilian oversight’ board to ‘discipline’ police

The bill also allocates $40 million in "community safety grants" for nonprofits.

Several Democratic members of the Minnesota House have co-authored a public safety bill that would allow private citizens to punish police officers for misconduct.

HF 2724 was introduced on Monday, the first day of the new legislative session. Among the numerous provisions listed in the bill is the ability of local governments to allow “civilian oversight councils to impose discipline on peace officers.”

Spearheading the proposed legislation is Rep. Cedrick Frazier, a Democrat from New Hope and member of the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus.

The caucus held a virtual press conference on Friday in which Frazier expanded on the idea of greater civilian involvement in public safety, specifically when it comes to recruiting and retaining new police officers.

“[The bill] addresses it in a way to establish a task force that would bring together stakeholders — that would be community members, that would be law enforcement, it would be legislators — to provide recommendations on what’s the best way to expand and allow for more opportunities for individuals to get involved in the progression of law enforcement,” he said.

“Part of that emphasis would be looking at, how do we best reflect the communities where the officers serve, and also, how do we make sure that communities that maybe are not so diverse have diverse officers? Because we know we have transient populations that travel through those communities and they should see officers that reflect their particular background,” he added.

Frazier also spoke about why he thinks crime rates are so high in Minnesota and around the United States.

“We’re nearly two years into a global crisis,” he said. “Depression is up. DUIs are up. Drug use is up. And access to resources and help are delayed. These are only some of the factors that are contributing to our nation’s rise in crime.”

“This isn’t a crime wave that any of our criminal justice partners in Minnesota have created, so our response must be dynamic and innovative,” he added before blaming Republicans for proposing “failing methods” to address crime.

In a series of infographics posted to Twitter, the Minnesota House DFL broke down the various allocations in their $100 million public safety plan. $40 million would go toward community safety grants for nonprofits, $22 million each toward policing and crime investigation grants, and $2.5 million toward more body cameras for police officers to wear.

“With crime rising, Republican lawmakers have decided to pursue political slogans instead of proven solutions,” claimed the House DFL. “Democrats are putting forth plans that provide the funding, tools, and collaboration needed to keep people safe, like our new $100 million public safety plan.”



Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.