MINNEAPOLIS MN April 25 2021 — The Minneapolis city council has voted to start the process of designing an unarmed traffic enforcement group that would be separate from the Minneapolis Police Department.
Staff on Friday were given the green light to begin developing recommendations for a proposed Traffic Safety Division, reported FOX 9.
According to the proposal, the goals for the division include “eliminating racial disparities in traffic enforcement,” “educating the public on safe driving behaviors and traffic laws,” and “earning the trust of communities who have been harmed by previous enforcement practices.”
“We urgently need traffic safety in our community,” said Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham, who submitted the proposal, in a Facebook post. “We also need for increasing traffic safety to not come at a great cost of harm to our neighbors in the process.
This issue is very complex, but it is surmountable.”
My staff direction was unanimously passed by the City Council this morning with enthusiastic support from my colleagues. I look forward to continuing this work with my colleagues and City staff and seeing the action of establishing and rolling out new traffic enforcement teams. A Traffic Safety Division is a critically needed City service that has been missing. I am excited to get this work started.
Given we are a community who has been disproportionately harmed by unsafe driving behaviors, please stay tuned for opportunities to get involved in this process!
Below is the staff direction:
Staff in the Coordinator’s Office of Performance and Innovation are directed to collaborate with Public Works, Regulatory Services, City Attorney’s Office, and MPD to combine various ongoing efforts to design and develop recommendations for the creation of an unarmed Traffic Safety Division to be housed in a department outside of MPD. This new division is to be responsible for enforcement, education, and other activities that increase traffic safety.
- Maximize the traffic safety benefits of traffic enforcement
- Eliminate racial disparities in traffic enforcement
- Educate the public on safe driving behaviors and traffic laws
- Earn the trust of communities who have been harmed by previous traffic enforcement practices
An inclusive design process should be used to inform the design and function of an alternative to police response for traffic enforcement; the process should be community-informed, and center BIPOC voices and residents disproportionately impacted by unsafe driving behaviors.
Building on the Vision Zero Action Plan and Safety for All Budget Plan, community engagement should be used to identify and solve the root cause of different dangerous driving behaviors. The final recommendations related to developing an unarmed Traffic Safety Division should be focused on problem-solving traffic safety issues, in addition to creating a new response system. The staff direction related to traffic enforcement included in the 2020 Budget Appropriation Resolution should also be resolved in this process.
Like the inclusive design process for creating the Mobile Mental Health Teams, this traffic enforcement work should include prototyping multiple alternatives to gather data and the necessary insights for policymakers to make informed decisions on how to best to increase traffic safety in Minneapolis through unarmed enforcement.
Recommendations should also include:
- The budget for both the pilot phase and full implementation.
- Any relevant existing work in other departments that should be consolidated within the new division to achieve the aforementioned goals.
Staff from the Office of Performance and Innovation are expected to report back to the Public Health and Safety committee with a project timeline by the end of Q2 2021.