Brooklyn Center Plans to Implement Police Reform Measures Next Year
Change rarely happens overnight. Especially when a city is trying to implement one of the most transformative public safety plans in the country.
“We are moving forward with transformation because it is the right thing to do and Brooklyn Center residents support that,” said Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott at a community town hall Thursday evening. “This is really about adding more tools to our toolbox so that we can create a safer community.”
Following the police killing of Daunte Wright last April, the Brooklyn Center City Council passed a resolution to create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.
The resolution, which was formulated without input from Brooklyn Center police, calls for unarmed professionals to respond to mental health calls and be responsible for enforcing non-moving traffic violations. It also regulates the use of force, and creates new departments and committees to provide oversight.
“I’m not going to say that we have it all figured out. We don’t,” said Brooklyn Center City Council Member April Graves. “But we are taking some chances. We’re taking some risks. And we’re willing to make some mistakes so that we can actually do better.”
‘Change Is Slow’
Thursday evening was a chance for the city to recruit people for those committees. Residents, meanwhile, got to hear from some of the key decision-makers.
“I think everything’s a process. Change is slow,” said Clement Gibson, one of the attendees. “I think in the meantime that just starting this and having these types of conversations, like the group we had over here, group four, not everybody agreed with each other, and that’s great.”
Clement Gibson of Brooklyn Center was one of the attendees who supported the changes. But not everyone was in agreement.
“No one has any respect for any city laws anymore, and it just has started since the police stepped back, and we have such few policeman,” said one lady in attendance during the small-group discussions.
Meanwhile, the city hopes to have the resolution fully-implemented sometime next year.
“I encourage you to continue to learn, to be willing to listen to people that you don’t always agree with, because that’s what I’m doing as well,” Graves said to the crowd. “And that’s what I encourage our council to do as well.”
Going forward, the city has partnered with FUSE, a national nonprofit that works to expand social and economic opportunities for communities of color. The partnership aims to help get two full-time employees to support the implementation of the resolution. Interested people can apply here.