EXCLUSIVE: Minneapolis police say ‘there’s no concrete plan’ for what happens if MPD is abolished today

Meanwhile, the police union president tells Alpha News that on some shifts "there's only one car working the entire precinct" — a dangerously low level of staffing.

Minneapolis Police Department/Facebook

As Minneapolis goes to the polls to decide if they should remove their police department from the City Charter, cops tell Alpha News they’ve heard nothing from leadership about what happens next.

Today, Minneapolis is voting on a referendum known as Question 2 that allows voters to “remove” the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) from the City Charter and “replace” it with a “Department of Public Safety.”

Sherral Schmidt of the MPD told Alpha News that the only official communication officers have received about the future of their jobs is “an email that came out last week from the interim city coordinator.” That email “basically said the police department will still be around,” should the city vote to replace MPD, but that nobody knows exactly what policing might look like at that point.

“There’s no concrete plan,” added Schmidt, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.

This lack of clarity about the future is crushing officer morale.

“If you spend the last two months not knowing if you’re going to have a job or not and … we are working way understaffed there, working without a contract, and then you have this looming over your head,” Schmidt said, “it certainly is impacting morale.”

Meanwhile, MPD is still in the midst of a staffing crisis — a situation that is not likely to improve with the passage of Question 2. Presently, the city only has 598 active police officers, 235 less than it did in 2019. The result of this is that some areas of the city are left virtually without police protection.

Compounding the problem, Schmidt said, is the fact that surrounding law enforcement agencies offer significantly higher pay, better benefits and hefty signing bonuses.

“I have heard of days where there’s only one car working the entire precinct,” Schmidt told Alpha News. Fortunately, she also said she hasn’t personally spoken with any officers who say they’re going to leave the force should Question 2 pass.

“I have not talked to one person that said, I’m leaving if this passes,” she said. “We heard there’s this rumor mill going around that there’s going to be people that leave if it passes. But I have not directly talked to someone that said I’m leaving if it passes.”

This sentiment was echoed by another officer, Dave Garman, vice president of the police union.

“Whether or not the amendment passes, we look forward to working together as one Minneapolis to move forward to the goal of public safety,” he told Alpha News.

However, both officers acknowledge that the city isn’t safe.

“It’s concerning if you can’t drive down the street without thinking someone might try to take your car from you,” Schmidt said, speaking on the rash of carjackings. “People don’t want to even stop at stop signs because they’re afraid of what’s going to happen if they do.”