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Minneapolis Police Community Relations Council holds first public meeting

The Police Community Relations Council met Thursday for the first time publicly, focusing their discussion on MPD recruitment.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — The revamped Police Community Relations Council (PCRC) held its first public meeting on Thursday morning at New Beginnings Baptist Ministries in south Minneapolis. 

The group includes 10 representatives from the community and seven within the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). 

"There's been trauma but now it's time for us to begin to try and heal our community," said Al Flowers with the Unity Community Mediation Team (UCMT) and PCRC.

PCRC first formed in 2003 and lasted five years. After George Floyd's murder in 2020, UCMT worked to revive the group. 

Rev. Ian Bethel, senior pastor at New Beginnings Baptist Ministries, said they spent two years meeting every week until a memorandum of understanding was signed between UCMT and MPD. 

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The living document reflects the shared principles of UCMT and MPD as they try to build trust between the department and the communities it serves. 

"This is what it means when we build the trust, when you build this bridge to cross over both ways," said Farhio Khalif with UCMT and PCRC. 

MPD Interim Chief Amelia Huffman said, "It's great to be together with this group of people. I think it's important to recognize and acknowledge the long history that many of them have of working in collaboration with members of the police department to really facilitate that growth and transformation." 

PCRC will work on a number of issues to improve the relationship between police and the community. 

Thursday's meeting focused on ideas for recruiting officers to MPD, with a focus on reaching youth in the community. 

Interim Chief Huffman touched on some of the programs available, including MPD's community service officer program. 

"A lot of neighborhoods are impacted by violence, lot of neighborhoods have been impacted by economic disparities, and those neighborhoods a lot of times have not been given due opportunity to be a part of these programs that we have," MPD Chief of Staff Christopher Gaiters said. 

During the meeting, the group set a goal for their first year of recruiting at least 100 people to join MPD. 

Rev. Bethel, who serves as UCMT chair and PCRC co-chair, said another thing they will focus on is improving the complaint process. 

"We begin healing by meeting, speaking, talking," Bethel said. "And commitment for two years without a salary, without any money, and without any political shenanigans to do what's right for the citizens of this community and the Minneapolis Police Department." 

PCRC will hold their next public meeting on Sept. 8. 

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