Minneapolis Law Enforcement by Metropolitan Police Force
From: Bill Kahn Date: 3:44am, Feb 06, 2009
Spoofs, huh? How about this? With all the talk of efficiencies, eliminating city stuff like independent boards, accountability, and unloading all that pesky undeveloped park land that costs so much to maintain, I thought I would float another streamlining idea: combine the Minneapolis Police Department (Parks Police, too) and all Metropolitan county sheriffs departments (do away with all those pesky elected Sheriffs and hire a Metro Law Enforcement Czar) and have municipalities contract for their law enforcement services with a new consolidated Metropolitan Police Force formed either as a new component of the Met Council or as a stand alone entity. Unincorporated areas of the Metro would continue to get the same services from the Metro force as they did from the county sheriff. Different bargaining units would correspond with groups of peace officers fulfilling individual contracts and for the larger group policing unincorporated areas of the Metro; they would all deal with the Czar. I can't say I know the history, but I think a former mayor of St. Paul brought up the possibility of a similar notion in combining forces with Ramsey County Sheriffs office; it didn't go over all that well, but times are much worse now. Jurisdictional problems almost go away. Precinct boundaries can remain or things can spread out a bit. Maybe it's not a spoof. Given what Carol Becker has related about bonding authority needing to be provided by new statutes with abolition of the Board of Estimate and Taxation, we already need to get a bit of legislation passed; I think we should go for a whole lot of it. Let's get Jack his petty misdemeanor graffiti and a new Metro police force as well.
From: Dave Garland Date: 7:25am, Feb 06, 2009
Bill Kahn wrote: > > have municipalities contract for their > > law enforcement services with a new consolidated Metropolitan Police > > Force formed either as a new component of the Met Council or as a > > stand alone entity. Interesting suggestion. There would indeed be some benefits. But the fly in the ointment is accountability. What elected official would be responsible for the behavior of the Metro Police Force? What governmental body would foot the bill when a lawsuit is lost? Accountability is pretty thin even when the PD in theory answers to an elected Mayor. It's not going to be any better when they answer to that faceless* clique of unelected and unrepresentative hacks that is the Met Council.
Dave ___ *They do have faces, of course. But how many of the 17 can you name?
From: Bill Kahn Date: 7:49pm, Feb 06, 2009
"Holy Byzantium, Gnatman," says the Larvae Wonder, "somebody has taken me seriously." Okay, okay. Le me tink. I can tink a bit and I'm creative; folks in the Macalester Groveland area of St. Paul had a problem with crossing Snelling Avenue on foot and I gave the St. Paul forum a whole new Metro Rabid Transit System based on vines, trellises, trebuchets, catapults, parachutes, GPS, other automated bells and whistles, and now teleportation. I must get serious though, because this is much more involved than how a St. Paulite crosses the road. We're talking about saving Minneapolis some major scratch and passing big ugly problems over to regional government where perhaps they can actually be solved, so I'll tone down my jester persona and turn up the student of urban and regional planning a bit more. Here come the tome. The Met Council, as Dave Garland suggests, might be a poor choice for accountability, but then if we really cared about that, we'd ("we," meaning folks like Paul Ostrow, Don Samuels, and Ralph Remington more than us) not be attempting to streamline things so much, or would we? So we might call the Met Council into service, hypothetically, and assume they're suddenly by some magic -- something like the magic of our present mayor waving his virtual hand over our problems with the flair of a polished communications professional (just look at his e- mails) -- ready to ride herd on a bunch of cops roaming our fair city and the whole Metro. Does accountability change much from one mayoral term to the next in our fair city? Or is it static as we elect one mayor and council after another to deal with the same screwups that never seem to stop? Perhaps we're well past the notion that a city in the midst of a large metropolitan area can assume that what policy it adopts and implements will have any of the desired results, or even be affordable. Of course, one aspect of accountability Dave ignores in favor of a more scapegoating mindset, is the contract; a contract can be insurance of accountability. For instance, there is a level of competence that must be higher in the more troubled areas of the Metro like Minneapolis. Certainly it is recognized that higher pay goes with that higher level. There is no reason that Minneapolis would have to put up with cops not up to the demands of the job; it would be much easier for a Metro force to transfer personnel presenting a problem to a less demanding area at less pay than for the City of Minneapolis to lose the same nimrods from the Minneapolis Police Department. You might think of it more like professional sports and major and minor leagues. Certainly a cop farm system might help ensure a higher quality of law enforcement for the whole state, not just Minneapolis. Of course it would not be like we'd have an easy option of not contracting for policing once we moved in this direction, but there's no reason to have to pay good money for non-fulfillment. Of course if we still owned the cop shops, we'd have have the option of reconstituting MPD; starting over might even provide the best outcome, but not easy to do without some intermediate step. I still kind of think that a regional force with fewer jurisdictional problems would serve us better. A comprehensive law enforcement plan for the region actually implemented, as might be more feasible with a Metro force, could turn a whole lot of places around and be more proactive in addressing the real roots of crime: poverty of all kinds (income, opportunity, and even playing fields). So using a planning body that works on water, sewer, parks, transportation, general development needs of what folks need now and into the future, makes more sense to me than when I first suggested it. The council could focus on land use solutions to problems, but for day to day law enforcement operations, we'd need law enforcement professionals, just as the Met Council has folks under them to help guide and implement decisions in given areas. Look at the organizational chart I've attached (which uploads to our files with a link in online posts and e-mails) and try to figure out where to put the Metro police force for the best accountability and get back to me. Met Council appointments would likely remain a sore point with many, but I don't really see that an elected body would necessarily be better; what I would rather see is good people with some real qualifications (active and competent work in and for their communities) on the council. Every governor would insist that this is already what she does, but what he really means is choices are made from those with a c.v. that includes membership in the right party; if they chose less partisan folks with deep roots and active participation in efforts to improve the place they live in, who may or may not have a c.v. of several pages, things might actually change. Still, aside from doing what the Met Council does now, I don't see them ever as capable of running day to day operations of a law enforcement agency. I think we probably need a stand alone regional entity with or without the umbrella of the Council, run by a cop's cop. Whether the Met Council oversees or not, we'd need that Czar, accountable to the governor directly or perhaps through the attorney general's office (for checks and balance), or both, to provide law enforcement based on contractual obligations to municipalities like Minneapolis (to stay local or I'll soon have to move this to MN-Pol forum), on a consistent standard for unincorporated areas, on goal setting based on regional analysis of that which is understood to spawn crime, and on the ability for superior emergency response. Clearly defined standards, direct implementation, and ongoing analysis would be both the measure and definition of accountability to the people over the whole region. If one were to sue over some perceived injustice, one would sue the State of Minnesota, and I would hope that our state would never settle out of court unless that injustice is real. Can I help it? It's a trend. We're slowly losing one legacy after another. We've lost the library because city government can't find the money for maintaining a collection that was rightly a source of pride, now in danger of becoming much less. With proposals like that of our 'gang of three', we're in danger of losing our parks. We've pretty much lost NRP. I am beginning to think I might be okay with losing the MPD, as good as they are, to gain something more effective. Like some on the list, I'm also okay with losing the St. Paul Police Department and the Ramsey County Sheriff, especially when the latter comes traipsing into our city with the feds; of course we might be open to many more shenanigans with a Metro force.
The following file was added to this topic:
From: Eirik Jamesson Date: 8:50pm, Feb 06, 2009
So odd for me that this topic was raised because one of the theater script ideas I've been writing sets the Twin Cities in the year 2030-2050 or so, envisioning Minneapolis having annexed all inner ring suburbs and a merged Metropolitan Police Department following a fictional disaster and economic uprising which affects multiple cities. Merged police forces are pretty common and its surprising we have not done so already. Poverty in Minneapolis affects suburbs, meth labs in suburbs affect Minneapolis, the size of our suburban cities amounts to small neighborhoods in other metropolitan areas. We are culturally and economically linked together but separated by devotion to our fiefdoms. It is amazing how many officers who climb ranks in MPD end up in our suburban municipalities. Why not return that talent and experience back into the fold to work for everyone. It is this tension between police forces and inability to address metro issues that I am exploring. Review of more recent examples of police mergers http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/mar/16/debate-continues-on-police-merger/ Lot of info about Las Vegas' merger http://www.lvmpd.com/about/consolidation.html Proposed study to merge San Francisco sheriff/police (gives case studies in other Cali cities who have done so) http://www.sfgov.org/site/courts_page.asp?id=3753
From: John Wilson Date: 6:58pm, Feb 09, 2009
If everything else in the Twin Cities stays same ol', same ol', then I oppose this idea vehemently. Now, if we went to an *elected* Met Council *and* a civilian review authority with real power to bunish brutal cops, then this might not be such a bad idea, though I'd still have concerns about the different city ordinances... how would a metro-wide police force keep up with the fact that some things are legal in some municipalities and not in others? On a more extreme note, how about a consolidation of the seven counties into one new city, with each county being a borough like the five counties of New York City? IIRC, the Denver area has an elected Met Council-equivalent, so the idea isn't impossible....
From: Ray Rolfe Date: 4:50pm, Feb 10, 2009
Down with the New World Order. Re-empower Neighborhood Organizations. Go Bob Miller.
From: Tim Bonham Date: 7:25pm, Feb 10, 2009
"a civilian review authority with real power to bunish brutal cops" I don't understand what it is to 'bunish' cops. Put them in stocks in front of City Hall and pelt them with day-old buns? Or prohibit them from eating any buns at all (including donuts)? Now that would be serious punishment.
From: Wizard Marks Date: 8:13pm, Feb 10, 2009
Tim Bonham: "Or prohibit them from eating any buns at all (including donuts)? Now that would be serious punishment." Tim, You're behind the times. The younger cops get off on being buff and would rather eat healthy food, opting for fruit instead of donuts.
From: Bill Kahn Date: 9:27pm, Feb 10, 2009
Well, I never guessed that this would turn into an issue for the mayoral race, but since one candidate, however minor, has jumped in and opposed it vehemently (enforcing municipal ordinances would no doubt be a major feature of any contracts; I think "bunish" might be a Communist Party term combining "banish" with "punish," suggesting a punitive transfer to some berg in a gulag system analogous to my suggested police farm system ... or maybe it was just a typo) and Ray has injected Bob Miller into the fray, I guess I have to defend my conflicting regional, city, and neighborhood views, now (suppositions might be more accurate than "views," as I'm pretty flexible and pragmatic about wanting to do what will work most of the time); or not. I think we need to consider things within a regional framework because we are a part of a whole, not some relic of times past, although I recognize the importance of knowing who we are and where we have been, i.e., history. I am still hopelessly ambivalent about citizen involvement in government, both by my training and my experience. I know that a municipality of any size within a large metropolitan area must plan to fit within the economic sphere of influence well beyond city limits, especially today when that sphere is truly global in nature. Some decisions we might make can severely limit opportunities in the larger picture, just as some imposed upon us from outside can create them, and vice versa. If folks are immersed in empirical data as most were in the beginnings of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program in creating their first plans, they can get surprisingly good or surprisingly disastrous results, depending on the understanding of those planning and advising in the process. That's what happened, and we can all relate how and what was learned by each neighborhood as some have on this list. I think overall NRP outcomes have been extraordinarily good for the most part. There are always casualties though. As an NRP burnout, I know that the citizenry, or a substantial portion of them, are only capable of very limited involvement in the day to day decisions of their government at any level, with some notable exceptions who can drive things in good or bad directions. I both love and hate the notion of home rule at the neighborhood level, all at the same time. Like many folks whose involvement is limited to carping on forums like this one, I sometimes denigrate public servants, elected or appointed, for their decisions they have made on my behalf; sometimes they even deserve it, but most times I know that they are incredibly committed to what they see as the best outcomes. As a committee chair in my neighborhood organization, I worked to implement our plan projects in our issue area, "environment," in as regional a way as possible, mostly because we had other committees that worked for or against sound environmental decisions and I found I had no effective way of influencing them in one way or the other. I wound up leaving and having more to do with another Southeast neighborhood, Como, and one just across the border, St. Anthony Park in St. Paul, than my own neighborhood; I only recently rejoined my neighborhood organization, although I am not very active at all in it. I just don't have the energy anymore. First of all, I have no big problem with an elected Metropolitan Council over what happens now, but I think it would be better if we left it less political in nature and changed the appointment process in that vein, instead; right now it is very political and I don't see how elected positions would help address that, at least for Minneapolis purposes. Look at this crowd of folks: http://www.metrocouncil.org/about/members.htm We here in Minneapolis are represented by at two conservative Republican women, Peggy Lippek of Golden Valley in District 6 and Annette Meeks of Minneapolis in District 7. We also have Linette Wittsack of Minneapolis in District 8. Wittsack is Mark Stenglein's wife, and if you google her, you get zip (how do you do that? does that speak to how the Met Council operates in any way?), so I'm not really certain of her political party; Stenglein seems fairly Republican, though. Talk about gerrymandering. No other city is so cut up and dissipated in power on the Met Council as Minneapolis, especially so with the partisan nature of appointments. I wouldn't mind, but things have been so very partisan in Pawlenty's tenure, that Met Council has become a joke. This sort of regional planning has been lauded around the world, and seeing it corroded so reflects poorly on us all. The present representation suggest to me that stricter guidelines for appointments should be considered. Right now, the bipartisan Legislative Commission on Metropolitan Government, slanted to the party in power, makes recommendations, but it is pretty much up to the governor who gets appointed. I'd like to see some more grass roots input and development of a pool of appointees with the relevant experience to guide regional government created. I think if a slate of appointees were offered up based on the survey of city and county folks considering expertise rather than party afiliations, and the governor had to choose from this group, we might see some better decisions come out of the Met. Council. So with that out of the way, I still think that a Metro police force could save Minneapolis a lot of money and solve some problems, and I thank my neighbor Eric James for pointing out some examples where it has been done or been considered. I don't see any mayoral candidate championing this as likely. Go Bob Miller, regardless.
From: John Wilson Date: 10:02pm, Feb 10, 2009
OK, people. You know "bunish" was a typo, though the comment about donuts was funny! Obviously the correct word is "punish", as in make cops who misbehave wear Hello Kitty armbands on duty for two weeks after an infraction (they really do that in Singapore). Though the idea of sending brutal cops to a gulag (as prisoners, not guards) sounds pretty good to me. For the record, even though I am ideologically a Communist, I am not currently a member of the Communist Party USA due to a dispute with the local leadership (essentially I'm too radical for them). I am starting an new party called the Edgertonite National Party. Official founding is 9 March. One of the biggest problems with the Met Council is the requirement for equal-population districts. This invites the kind of gerrymandering that has shortchanged Minneapolis. The structure of the original Metropolitan Transit Commission (circa 1970), two reps for Minneapolis, one for Saint Paul, one each for Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, one for Anoka and Washington Counties combined, and one for Dakota, Scott, and Carver Counties combined (if I recall correctly) may have been somewhat unequal but at least it respected community boundaries. I'm not recommending the same formula now, but the basic concept would be better than a gerrymandered "equal" system.... but the Supreme Court wouldn't allow that nowadays. However, could unequal districts with weighted votes be legal? Anyway having the governor appoint the Met Council pretty much means the Met will be one-sided no matter what's done with the districts....
From: Jon Houts Date: 4:28pm, Feb 11, 2009
"We also have Linette Wittsack of Minneapolis in District 8. Wittsack is Mark Stenglein's wife, and if you google her, you get zip (how do you do that? does that speak to how the Met Council operates in any way?)" You get a few more hits if you spell her name correctly. :P For example, you can find her application for the position on the council, on which she declares herself a Republican: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/confirmations/2003-2004/2003-2004_required_docs/Wittsack_Lynette.PDF
From: Bill Kahn Date: 5:47pm, Sep 01, 2009
I started this thread on a lark last winter, but perhaps revisiting folding MPD, or rather the best of MPD (we can do without the drunken thugs, although perhaps with a driver and a Black Maria at their service when off-duty, they might remain useful as cops; someone should look at the cost/benefit ratios), into a Metro force is appropriate now. In other threads at the time, we were discussing the charter amendment as originally proposed by CMs Ostrow, Remmington, and Samuels to eliminate the Board of Estimate and Taxation and removing any Park Board control of revenue that was shaved to just killing BET and put on the ballot; I'll vote against both the BET elimination amendment and the Park Board's separation amendment should they prevail in court to get it on the ballot, because I think there are real ways to save money besides these power grabs that will inevitably lead to more bad than good effects. Coordination of two police forces, MPD and MPRB cops, is just one thing the city can do without. It can be done without any charter amendments and I think it would save quite a few bucks, i.e., we could kill a whole flock of birds by contracting for services with a Metro police force, eliminating both MPD, the Park Police, and all of the coordination issues. One major issue raised in this thread in the end was accountability, but I think there would be the potential for more with a larger authority far removed from local politics. Of course dealing with and sharing liability for screw-ups would have to be worked out between Minneapolis and the new Metro Law Enforcement authority, perhaps with greater input from the MN Attorney General's office, infact, this suggests possibility of expanding the force statewide, because crime stops at no border and the Metro is the root of much rural crime and vice versa. In case this doesn't appear in the old thread, you can find it here: http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/topic/UOSXBJzuQ58TpXjey4pd0 Someone pointed out off-list that I was googling a misspelled version of Lynnette Winsack's name (D'oh). I still think we have a good police department overall, but I'm tired of hearing about the thugs, the thieves, other unprofessional officers, and the lawsuits they generate; and I'm exasperated by the damage it all does to the relationships that citizens must have with police for any reasonable expectation of law enforcement effectiveness. This is really a regional or state level solution to a local problem, a local problem not unique to us it would seem from recent news from St. Paul, so I guess that the thread must remain focused on what eliminating MPD and contracting for law enforcement services will do for our fair city. I think it would make budgeting a much simpler task and allow our mayor, council, and boards to deal with the roots of the problems that create the need for law enforcement services; the better they all perform, the smaller that line item will have to be in the budget. I guess other services required could be got in the same sort of way, but that's another thread. We've certainly gone that way with the library; I thought it was a crime at the time, albeit a legal one, but that seems to be the way we run government in this economic and political environment.
From: Chuck Turchick Date: 7:39pm, Sep 03, 2009
A metro police force might have benefits in terms of efficiencies, but I don't see how it would make the police department more accountable. Here's my spiel on one way to make police more accountable. Police officers have a very difficult job. They routinely take their lives in their hands. Not just when they discharge their weapons or their tasers, but in almost every domestic call, they just donât know what theyâre getting into. I donât envy them at all. And then there are people like me, who, when I get awakened in the middle of the night by the drug dealers on our block continually yelling to each other, I call the police and tell them in so many words to violate the civil rights of those drug dealers. I have in fact told them that if whatâs gone on on our block for 15 years happened on Mayor Rybakâs block for two nights in a row, it would be stopped. Someoneâs civil rights might have to be violated, but it would stop. So in the middle of the night, I tell them to violate the drug dealersâ civil rights, and the next day I go to meetings and say, âWeâve got to stop the police from violating peopleâs rights.â Being a police officer is no picnic. 1. From time to time we hear the police department saying they need the cooperation of citizens in the community to solve a particular crime. They say citizens are the ones in the best position to know what happened, to observe criminal behavior. And there are communities that are reluctant to cooperate -- out of fear, out of not wanting to âsnitch,â out of mistrust of the police, or out of simply not wanting to get involved. 2. When it comes to police misconduct, who are those in the best position to know what happened, to observe the misconduct? Who are usually on the scene? Who are trained, objective, expert observers -- professional witnesses, if you will? Other police officers. 3. I have heard both the police administration and representatives of the Federation of Minneapolis Police Officers -- the police officers' union -- say in public meetings that they too want to get rid of the "bad apples," that those "bad apples" diminish the efforts of all of the good cops on the force. (Now, while they say this in public, it is possible they don't really mean it. Maybe the "bad apples" serve the purpose that "enforcers" in professional hockey allegedly serve, i.e., make it easier for the other cops to do their jobs.) 4. There is a code of silence in police departments, and it's strength cannot be exaggerated. The police deparment will deny this, of course, but they have their collective heads in the sand. They are either fools or liars. The academic research going back 40 years and more, some of it surveying police officers anonymously, demonstrates the code's existence. Locally, the book "Walking With the Devil: The Police Code of Silence" by Michael Quinn, a retired Minneapolis police officer, documents its existence with multiple examples taken from his work in the Minneapolis Police Department. So one, police bemoan -- and justifiably so -- the lack of citizen cooperation in helping to solve crime. Two, other police officers are in the best position to witness police misconduct. Three, the police department and the federation say there are a few bad apples and they want to get rid of them as much as anyone does. And four, there is a police code of silence. Put them all together, and the obvious route is to get the police administration and the police federation together to find ways to get rid of or diminish the strength of the code of silence. I am sure there are multiple things that could be done in terms of training, example, enforcement, and discipline that are not now being done. This is a difficult but hardly impossible task. If the police department really wants to get rid of the "bad apples," I don't think they're trying hard enough.
From: Guy Gambill Date: 8:03pm, Sep 03, 2009
Greetings, I don't know. Anyone who would argue that Law Enforcement is an element of society that can be dispensed with is a bloody fool. On the other hand the notion that Police Officers operate at such high stress levels that virtually any behavior is justifiable are functioning at a similarly low level of intellectual attainment and reason. Social Workers, Educators in Major Urban areas, and other public employees operate at similar stress levels and manage to do so without the egregious violations of public trust that we see displayed in such things as RAMPART some years back or in our own unfolding drama here around the Gang Strike Force in the seven county metro. From what I hear a large number of Peace Officers are lawyering up as I write this missive. The over-the-top behavior and breach of public trust is, in no way whatsoever, permissible. The apparently widespread practice of seizing monies, firearms and controlled substances which never see the inside of police evidence rooms is inexcusable and the represent the most gross of violations of public trust imaginable. I don't think that only police officers can monitor misconduct, nor are they the only ones that possess a comparable level of experience. I venture that Hospital Room emergency staff, combat veterans, front-line social workers are every bit as familiar with the darker sides of human behavior as any police officer on the beat here in the Metro. Does anyone seriously contest that. These folks, with the exception of combat veterans, manage to handle situations of equal volatility without shooting folks and without trampling the public trust in such manner. The rhetorical stance I read here is what I refer to as "Law and Order Syndrome". The notion that New Brighton or Bloomington cops face the same level of stress as cops on the beat in Queens or the Bronx is just plain silly. Really, now isn't it? Yet the mentality fostered by media docu-dramas unfolds across America as a sort of "it's okay to break the law to uphold the law" rationale is just not a reasonable position to take. It is never okay to break the law to uphold the law, period. In recognition of the additional stress Police Officers are paid at a considerably higher rate, in most jurisdictions, than counterparts in other civil service positions. Guy Gambill (Northeast)
--- On Thu, 9/3/09, <email obscured> <email obscured>> wrote: From: <email obscured> <email obscured>> Subject: [Mpls] Minneapolis Law Enforcement by Metropolitan Police Force To: <email obscured> Date: Thursday, September 3, 2009, 2:42 PM A metro police force might have benefits in terms of efficiencies, but I don't see how it would make the police department more accountable. Here's my spiel on one way to make police more accountable. Police officers have a very difficult job. They routinely take their lives in their hands. Not just when they discharge their weapons or their tasers, but in almost every domestic call, they just donknow what they getting into. I donenvy them at all. And then there are people like me, who, when I get awakened in the middle of the night by the drug dealers on our block continually yelling to each other, I call the police and tell them in so many words to violate the civil rights of those drug dealers. I have in fact told them that if whatgone on on our block for 15 years happened on Mayor Rybakblock for two nights in a row, it would be stopped. Someonecivil rights might have to be violated, but it would stop. So in the middle of the night, I tell them to violate the drug dealersivil rights, and the next day I go to meetings and say, got to stop the police from violating peoplerights.eing a police officer is no picnic. 1. From time to time we hear the police department saying they need the cooperation of citizens in the community to solve a particular crime. They say citizens are the ones in the best position to know what happened, to observe criminal behavior. And there are communities that are reluctant to cooperate -- out of fear, out of not wanting to itch,ut of mistrust of the police, or out of simply not wanting to get involved. 2. When it comes to police misconduct, who are those in the best position to know what happened, to observe the misconduct? Who are usually on the scene? Who are trained, objective, expert observers -- professional witnesses, if you will? Other police officers. 3. I have heard both the police administration and representatives of the Federation of Minneapolis Police Officers -- the police officers' union -- say in public meetings that they too want to get rid of the "bad apples," that those "bad apples" diminish the efforts of all of the good cops on the force. (Now, while they say this in public, it is possible they don't really mean it. Maybe the "bad apples" serve the purpose that "enforcers" in professional hockey allegedly serve, i.e., make it easier for the other cops to do their jobs.) 4. There is a code of silence in police departments, and it's strength cannot be exaggerated. The police deparment will deny this, of course, but they have their collective heads in the sand. They are either fools or liars. The academic research going back 40 years and more, some of it surveying police officers anonymously, demonstrates the code's existence. Locally, the book "Walking With the Devil: The Police Code of Silence" by Michael Quinn, a retired Minneapolis police officer, documents its existence with multiple examples taken from his work in the Minneapolis Police Department. So one, police bemoan -- and justifiably so -- the lack of citizen cooperation in helping to solve crime. Two, other police officers are in the best position to witness police misconduct. Three, the police department and the federation say there are a few bad apples and they want to get rid of them as much as anyone does. And four, there is a police code of silence. Put them all together, and the obvious route is to get the police administration and the police federation together to find ways to get rid of or diminish the strength of the code of silence. I am sure there are multiple things that could be done in terms of training, example, enforcement, and discipline that are not now being done. This is a difficult but hardly impossible task. If the police department really wants to get rid of the "bad apples," I don't think they're trying hard enough. Chuck Turchick Phillips, Minneapolis Info about Chuck Turchick: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/BRsb3AExmzRJSAb5zoswr View all messages on this topic at: http://forums.e-democracy.org/r/topic/3whZHblNOln173fHy28Jhj ----------------------------------------- To post, e-mail: <email obscured> Use "Reply-to-All" via e-mail to post publicly. To leave or for daily digest, type "unsubscribe" or "digest on" in subject, then send to: <email obscured> More information about Minneapolis Issues Forum: http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls E-Democracy.Org rules: http://e-democracy.org/rules ----------------------------------------- Technical assistance thanks to our friends at http://OnlineGroups.Net 1. Be civil! Please read the rules at http://e-democracy.org/rules. If you think a member is in violation, contact the forum manager at <email obscured> before continuing it on the list. 2. Don't feed the troll! Ignore obvious flame-bait.
From: Dave Garland Date: 1:01am, Sep 04, 2009
<email obscured> wrote: > > Police officers have a very difficult job. They routinely take their lives in their hands. While this is true, it is important to note that if we list the most dangerous (as in "death on the job") occupations, policeman is not even in the top ten: sailor fisherman logger aircrew garbageman military roofer farmer taxi driver firefighter police Being a sailor is ten times more dangerous than being a cop, though granted, being a cop is ten times more dangerous than being a bartender. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/bioterrorism/files/globe.pdf (Figures from BLS 2000)
From: Jim Graham Date: 4:32pm, Sep 04, 2009
While I agree with some of what has been said about law enforcement in Minneapolis, the answer is not a metropolitan police force or Park system. The answer is to abolish the City Council and have a Minnetropolis form of government. The Park Board, the Board of Estimate, and the Police department are far more functional than their leadership. But this is about the Police department not about the leadership of the City in general Let me emphasis something. The most important thing is NOT just weeding out the "bad apples". 98% of cops are very good apples seeking to do good. Most actually do see themselves as Matt Dillon heroically walking the streets of Dodge making it safe for people. It is just a matter of a "culture" of police action. The way to cure that culture (and I feel it is like a disease) is to inoculate the force as it is trained. "Skills" and the academy need to instill that code of ethics deeply within that culture. Too such an extent that it becomes second nature. Presently officers are indoctrinated in completely different ways. Training officers for new officers should be picked specifically because they will instill this culture and ethical code. That presently does NOT happen. Instead the new officers are instilled with "code of silence", with the "professional courtesy", and other ways to cover one's self. Instilled with "remember it's just a job". Instilled with such things as an officer gives other officers "professional courtesy". How many cops get traffic tickets, do you think? I absolutely know they speed all the time and that they drive while intoxicated and carry weapons off duty while drinking enough to be intoxicated. Police officers often even brag about how they drive, as if it shows that they are cool and above the law. A lot of this is due to the "Community" that Minneapolis police officers live in. It is a "Community of Cops". When they leave that "community" they go to suburban homes that are NOT part of OUR community. Therefore they feel allegiance to "Their" community, not ours. They are a garrison force that is made up of officers who do not come from Minneapolis originally, and do not now live in or belong to OUR community. The average Minneapolis cop does not live in Minneapolis and the majority of his or her contact with Minneapolis residents is from a professional stance, that usually means a problem in his or her mind. We need to ingrain in police officers that they are a part of this, OUR, community, and not just an employee. That their first loyalty is to the individual good people of Minneapolis, not the police department. That they individually OWE first loyalty to the people they are SWORN to "Protect and Serve", not other employees that might dishonor that sworn oath. Let us start by returning that saying to the side of police cars. PROTECT AND SERVE!!!Put it in a card on the dash of squad cars, and any other place we can think of as a reminder. I do know that the police cannot "protect" us from criminals. That duty falls on other community members far more often than police officers. Unfortunately, we have a culture that has taken the responsibility from individuals. A very sad day for all of us. But it is the duty of sworn officers to lead that effort. We can only receive that leadership and "service" if the officers are OUR officers and feel that we are THEIR community. With the present police culture most officers feel it their Department, NOT their Community. Much of the success my own community has had with cleaning up our community has come about by building relationships with individual officers. Such as Dan Wells, Mike Martin and Michael Sullivan. Unfortunately when ever we get really good ones all trained in to think of us as "Theirs", they are gone. It is a joke in my community that every time I give a "Heart of the Community" award, or ask the community to request that an officer be commended for their service, that they are soon transferred. I actually had people ask me NOT to do this for Lt. Michael Sullivan, who I, and the neighborhood, thought was the best officer in a command position that we have had. Sullivan was simply the best Sector Commander we had at community policing and creating communication with the community. The reason people didn’t want him to have the award was that he was simply too valuable to loose. That if we gave the award he would be transferred immediately. Of course they were right; he soon was to take on a promotion of responsibility outside our immediate community. Minneapolis NEEDS officers such as LT. Sullivan carrying on that culture and building on it. Needs the best officers LEADING the way. It would be nice to see a Deputy Chief of Community Policing. Michael Sullivan would be a perfect candidate for that post. Someone who understands how important it is to create and nurture that relationship. Minneapolis NEEDS to create that culture of ethics, honor, and duty. It needs leadership at the Police Department that will instill that culture. The best place to start is the day the officers enter "Skills", and the only place to stop is the day they retire, or leave the Department, and our service. Jim Graham >"It is always an utter folly to underestimate the lure and attraction of a great evil. The whitened bones of their victims litter the highways and byways of mankind’s history. Stopped only by the few willing to pay the ultimate price and make a stand." - Toe
From: Chuck Turchick Date: 11:40pm, Sep 04, 2009
Jim wrote: "The most important thing is NOT just weeding out the 'bad apples.'" Since I'm the only one who used that phrase "bad apples," I assume he was referring to my post. Nowhere did I say that just weeding out the "bad apples" was the most important thing. What I am saying is that both the police administration and the police officers' union say they want to weed out the bad apples, so if they're both serious, that's a good place to start. And, in fact, it frequently is a handful of officers who have a very disproportionate number of complaints against them. But I do agree with Jim that changing the police culture is probably the most effective thing to do. And surely the key component of that police culture is the code of silence. That's precisely why I focussed on that. Weakening -- if not eliminating -- that code is our best bet at both weeding out the "bad apples" and at creating a new culture within the police department. Nor did I say, as Guy seemed to imply, that "only police officers can monitor misconduct." Rather, since police frequently ask for citizen assistance, we should take their lead and ask for police assistance in cases of police misconduct. Back in the nineties, I think the Civilian Police Review Authority had a case in which about a half dozen officers were at the scene where a cross-dresser in the back of a squad car -- who may have been handcuffed at the time -- was assaulted by at least one officer. In Sgt. Schultz-like fashion, not a single officer heard or saw anything. It took a total stranger who was passing by to confirm the allegations of the complainant. That is the culture that has to be broken. And, as far as I can tell, we are not even beginning to try to do so. I apologize to Bill for deviating from the topic of a Metro police force. Chuck Turchick Phillips
From: Bill Kahn Date: 12:20am, Sep 05, 2009
Apologies not necessary. This metro solution is a real stretch, requiring a whole lot of counties and municipalities to get on the same page in efforts that would largely benefit the largest population centers; however, the fact that a whole lot of crime affecting us all is based in different parts of the Metro might make it attractive to make coordination of jurisdictions easier. I think it might also be a way to sidestep any uncooperative police unions, should they not have the renaissance of various departments or major improvements as goals. Thanks to Dave for pointing out my latest profession has a higher death toll than police or firefighter, and was in the top ten. I wonder how the odds increase when other more dangerous professions parallel one's hobbies. Seems like Jim's Minnetropolis would be a the mother of all charter amendments, but easier to implement than a Metro police force I guess, which would require referenda all over the Metro as well as Legislative mandate, I think. I like the paradigm shift for training and cultural transformation themes, but I fear that the sort of indoctrination that brings the problems happens in other ways than MPD training, i.e., we may be seeing state or nationwide trends or generational or cliques with more inertia than we know about. Perhaps it makes sense to downplay the accountability measures in deference to improving training and performance overall. I mentioned the mistakes of medical professionals in the other thread and perhaps that is worth a look in light of accountability, especially so with the recent trend of this thread. Hospitals have Mortality and Morbidity Conferences for analyzing professional errors to improve outcomes in performing subsequent duties. It sounds like there are similar efforts in MPD through Internal Affairs from my read of Chief Dolan's missive posted by Steven Clift, but perhaps nothing of the sort happens. Here are a bunch of references on them: http://psnet.ahrq.gov/content.aspx?taxonomyID=628 M&MCs bring the science back to a profession that is really an art form when done most effectively; they are necessary when the art was not underpinned by good science or "the best plans of mice and men gang oft aglay." Medical care can be still be effective when delivered artlessly, but when it lacks any grounding in science, trouble follows. The conferences are not public, and so liability issues do not come up. I don't know if a version of these sorts of conferences ever take place in police departments when analyzing problematic incidents or operations, but something similar might be a good idea. I guess if they happen, they had better be closed door affairs, if that is possible.
On Sep 4, 2009, at 6:42 PM, <email obscured> wrote: > I apologize to Bill for deviating from the topic of a Metro police > force.
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