Police chiefs are asking Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for greater accountability in the criminal justice system.
In a Wednesday letter to Freeman, the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association maintained that implementing certain reforms and holding violent criminals accountable are not mutually exclusive.
“As we have shared with you in the past, we believe law enforcement officers throughout the county are working hard at violent criminal apprehension, but we feel those criminals are consistently not being held accountable for their actions after they are arrested,” the letter reads.
The tone of the letter indicates that the Hennepin County police chiefs have long been trying to reach an agreement with Freeman and other local leaders.
“During these conversations, we are consistently being asked specifically what things we believe need to be done to address these discrepancies. As the Police Chiefs across the county, we collectively believe we need your immediate assistance and increased partnership,” the letter reads.
To that end, the Hennepin County police chiefs spell out five measures: aggressively prosecuting violent criminals, revisiting bail reform, scrapping “sign and release” warrants for violent criminals, reevaluating admission criteria at juvenile detention centers, and greater respect for the hard work of law enforcement.
“We sincerely want to work together with your office on these important issues,” the police chiefs told Freeman. “However, that partnership can only work if you engage with law enforcement before you single handedly make policy decisions that affect our agencies and communities.”
The police chiefs are tentatively scheduled to meet with County Attorney Freeman next Tuesday, Jan. 12, to discuss these issues. They conclude their letter with the hope that 2022 will be a year of “productive dialogue and increased partnership.”
Freeman echoed these sentiments in a Thursday statement to FOX 9.
“I hear and understand the concerns being raised by city leaders and police chiefs. Over the past three weeks, I have reached out to the police chiefs and mayors throughout Hennepin County,” he said. “I have reiterated my commitment to partnering and collaborating with them to address the increase in crime impacting our county.”
“My office’s priority remains focused on supporting the victims of these crimes and the impact of these crimes on the safety of our neighborhoods,” the county attorney added.