New Hope Lawmaker Behind Public Safety Bills
Three public safety bills are advancing at the Minnesota state Capitol, all of them authored by Rep. Cedrick Frazier of New Hope.
One of the bills, HF 25, would dedicate a total of $280 million to fund violent crime reduction programs.
Of the funds, $150 million would go to community groups for crime and violence prevention and intervention. Another $55 million would help law enforcement agencies establish mental health crisis response teams. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would get $75 million to partner with police agencies to investigate violent crimes.
Another bill, HF 855, would establish a new 15-member Public Safety Innovation Board, which would focus on crime trends and work to improve police-community relations. The bill would also fund police body camera programs.
“It’s about transparency when you look at the body camera policies that we want to put in place to allow families to have access,” said Frazier at Tuesday’s hearing before the Minnesota House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee. “We know and we’ve seen how this can kind of bring the temperature down around things when they happen in our community when we have that type of transparency.”
Eight of the board members, according to the bill, would be appointed by the governor. They would include a crime victim or advocate for victims, a person impacted by the criminal justice system and another with a background in social work. Three of the board members would represent law enforcement. Critics of the bill wonder how effective the new board will be.
“We’re putting people on this council that most of which are appointed by the governor and aren’t really involved in law enforcement,” said Rep. Paul Novotny, R-Elk River, a retired police officer. “I can’t imagine if this is a medical board or if this was an aviation board, the council wouldn’t look like this if we wanted to improve aviation safety.”
Frazier offered to work with Novotny to clear up those concerns.
A third bill, HF 538, bill provides language that would prohibit police officers from belonging to any “hate or extremist group.” The definition includes any individual who promotes the use of threats, force, violence, or criminal activity and deprives individuals of their civil rights. Frazier says this bill is necessary to improve trust in law enforcement.
“We’re in a place now where we are lacking in extreme trust in our law enforcement,” said Frazier. “This is a bill designed to help build that bridge and build that pathway to where we can have more trust and have more transparency.”
Also See: Newsmakers: Rep. Frazier Discusses ‘Restore the Vote’ Public Safety Bill
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