Idea of Community Policing Will be Tough to Achieve in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Police, Department
Image Credit: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License - Susan G. Lesch

MINNEAPOLIS — Many social justice advocates subscribe to the popular belief that police officers should live in the communities they serve.

Last night, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges argued for more community policing to rebuild the trust lost between officers and community members.

“Police brutality most often happens between two complete strangers,” Shaun King of the New York Daily News argued in 2016. “It’s the opposite of community policing.”

In Minneapolis, the goal of community policing described by Hodges will be hard to procure as only eight percent of the city’s officers live in Minneapolis. Approximately 92 percent of officers live outside of Minneapolis according to an analysis conducted by the Star Tribune, an analysis that found some officers commuting from Wisconsin to protect and serve residents in the city of Minneapolis.

Minnesota has seen an increase in protests and conversation about police brutality due to officer involved shootings that left individuals such as Justine Damond, Jamar Clark and Philando Castile dead.  

However, the number of officers who live outside of the cities they serve in has stayed consistent with the polarizing statistics.

In 2014, MinnPost determined approximately six percent of officers who worked for the Minneapolis Police Department lived in the city, in 2015, MPR determined the number to be 5.4 percent.

In a city that employs approximately 800 officers per a press release by former Minneapolis Chief of Police Janee Harteau, approximately 43 to 64 Minneapolis Police Officers live in the city.

“When police are commuting in to [sic] work from 20 or 30 miles away, as Darren Wilson did on the day he shot and killed Mike Brown in Ferguson, Miss., they are leaving the communities they know and love, the communities where they send their own children to school, the communities where they are most deeply invested, to drive into communities of literal and cultural strangers,” King writes in the same article.  

Many, including Hodges hope Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, a lifelong resident of the city and the first black police chief in Minneapolis history, can turn around the way police culture.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.