Minneapolis voters reject an amendment to replace the Police Department.
(New York Times)In the days after [George] Floyd’s murder, Minneapolis became the center of a push to defund or abolish the police, and the amendment on Tuesday’s ballot grew out of that.
The question of how to respond has divided Minnesota’s top Democrats. Representative Ilhan Omar, whose congressional district includes Minneapolis, and Keith Ellison, the state attorney general, supported replacing the Police Department. Their fellow Democrats in the Senate, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, opposed it.
Since Mr. Floyd’s murder, many large cities, Minneapolis included, have invested more money in mental health services and experimented with dispatching social workers instead of armed officers to some emergency calls. Some departments scaled back minor traffic stops and arrests. And several cities cut police budgets amid the national call to defund, though some have since restored funding in response to rising gun violence and shifting politics.
Sanity prevailed in Minneapolis. Certainly police recruitment, hiring policy, training, direction and expectations can be improved. Continuous improvement is essential for every profession. Replacing police with an army of social workers, psychiatrists, alcohol counselors and homeless advocates is not a practical solution. A good cop has to be all that plus be ready to physically tangle with and possible exchange gunfire with a suspect.