MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Police Department will remain the primary law enforcement agency across the city after its residents voted against ballot question 2 in Tuesday's election, according to an Associated Press projection in the race.
The public safety ballot question, which would have replaced the MPD with a new Department of Public Safety, has not only been a contentious topic locally but it's also garnered plenty of national attention.
Voter interest was high in the election, with Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services reporting turnout above 53%, the highest amount for a municipal election in recent memory.
This crucial decision comes as Minneapolis is on pace for one of the deadliest years in recorded history. Crime nationally has been on the rise, but Minneapolis has seen a major spike in murders since 2019. This year, MPD is reporting 79 homicides. According to city data, Minneapolis had 97 homicides in 1995 -- the deadliest year on record.
The shootings and homicides in 2021 have gotten even more attention because of the innocence and age of some of the victims, including 6-year-old Aniya Allen and 9-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith. A third child victim this year, Ladavionne Garrett, was released from the hospital on Monday after he was shot in north Minneapolis back in April while riding with his parents.
Following the results of the vote, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association called on communities to come together for public safety.
“This should be a wakeup call to politicians who want to simply abolish and defund police departments," MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peter said in a statement. "Police officers serve their communities and place public safety and justice for crime victims at the forefront of their daily actions. Let’s work together for increased safety for all, instead of pursuing reckless policies which only empower criminals.”
Organizers for Yes 4 Minneapolis, which campaigned heavily in favor of the ballot question, said their work is not finished, despite the loss.
“This campaign began with working-class Black and brown residents marching together to demand a higher standard of public safety in the city," said Yes 4 Minneapolis campaign manager Corenia Smith. "It grew into a city-wide movement that spanned race, income, and neighborhoods, to give residents a say in their future and to advocate for the resources that they need. While this is not the result that we hoped for, the story of our movement must be told."
"We changed the conversation about what public safety should look like," Smith continued. "We showed the country and the world the power of democracy and the power of the people. Now, we will work to hold leaders and the system accountable. We will work to heal our city and create safer streets for all our communities.”