Law Enforcement Officials Voted Down for Final Community Relations Recommendations

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Gov. Mark Dayton’s Council on Law Enforcement and Community Relations voted to approve its final recommendations to the governor last week over the objections of a number of law enforcement unions.

The Council was designed to have an even split between law enforcement officials and police watchdog and community groups, but with the majority of police representatives ended up voting against the final set of recommendations put forward by the group, reports the Pioneer Press.

While the representatives for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the National Black Police Officers’ Association voted for the recommendations, representatives for the sheriffs’ county attorneys’, and police and peace officers’ association’s voted against them, reports the Pioneer Press. A representative of the state’s police training board abstained on the vote, which passed by a 6-3 margin.

Per the Pioneer Press, the non-binding list of recommendations include the following measures:

  • A special prosecutor to investigate police actions,
  • “Cultural competence and implicit/explicit bias training” along with mental health and crisis response training for police,
  • Encouraging departments to get officers to spend 20 hours of on-duty time at local social service agencies during their probationary period.
  • Recruiting more female and minority police officers,
  • Offering financial incentives to officers in an effort to encourage them to live in the communities they serve in, and;
  • Compilation of racial data for people involved in police interaction.

The nay votes from the law enforcement representatives generally were not a blanket refusal of all of the proposed changes, reports the Pioneer Press. Rather there were individual issues the various groups were concerned about. For instance, Anoka County attorney Tony Palumbo reportedly questioned the wisdom of forcing police officers to ask what race someone is in an already tense situation.

The Pioneer Press reports that a number of the council’s voting members were absent for the final vote, including the representative for Black Lives Matter, who has been completely absent from council meetings for several months now.

Anders Koskinen