Skip to main content

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is proposing a new Office of Community Safety to oversee five key city departments — including MPD.

Frey revealed his proposal for a new government structure Tuesday, a change Minneapolis voters approved via a ballot question in the 2021 elections. The charter amendment, often referred to as the "strong mayor" amendment, explicitly defined the mayor as the city's chief executive with full administrative control over city departments. It also reduced the power of the city council, which is now tasked solely with legislative responsibilities. 

But what this rearranged city structure might actually look like wasn't specified. Frey's recommendations, which he presented to the Committee of the Whole Tuesday, offer an initial glimpse of the mayor's vision for a more unified executive government.

The plan would create four direct reports to the mayor, including a new Office of Community Safety. The head of this office (currently dubbed the Chief Community Safety Officer, though all names and titles could change) would then oversee five emergency and community services, including the Minneapolis Police Department.

A slide showing Frey's proposed government structure.

A slide showing Frey's proposed government structure.

It is, in some ways, similar to elements of the failed public safety ballot question, which Frey mentioned during Tuesday's meeting. That charter amendment would have created a Department of Public Safety that would have replaced MPD, headed by a commissioner tasked with overseeing various public safety services, including policing.

Frey came out against the ballot question, but has said he is in favor of creating an overarching public safety department while maintaining MPD. 

The newly proposed Office of Community Safety would include four additional departments alongside police: Minneapolis Emergency Communications, the Fire Department, the Emergency Management Department and a Neighborhood Safety Department.

"This is a major moment for unity in the city of Minneapolis," Frey said during the meeting. "An opportunity to fundamentally redefine our local government's role in upholding and developing community safety, while establishing clear lines of accountability for the important work of keeping Minneapolis residents safe."

He argued this proposal brings together "items of agreement and common ground" between those on both sides of Ballot Question 2, saying: "We can come together and agree on an integrated approach."

Frey's statement that the new structure may placate those calling for the replacement of MPD following the murder of George Floyd may be somewhat undercut by moves taken this week to approve a new police union contract that would give MPD officers raises and $7,000 bonuses, but is lacking measures designed to improve accountability and discipline for officer misconduct.

The other direct reports as outlined in the mayor's plan would be:

  • Chief of staff: Providing policy development and oversight on behalf of the mayor's office.
  • The Office of the City Attorney: Which comprises civil and criminal divisions.
  • The Office of Public Service: A consolidation of existing departments, including Civil Rights, Public Works, Community Development and Regulatory Services, Communications and Engagement Services, and Administrative Services.

The mayor's proposal is based on recommendations from the Government Structure Workgroup he formed shortly after his re-election. The changes, he argues, will greatly improve communications between various departments. 

“Our form of government sets the foundation for how our city will function for generations to come,” said Frey in a release. “We set out to recommend a government structure that is durable but responsive to the City’s future needs, efficient and equitable in delivering city services to all residents, and that improves clarity of communication both across the enterprise and with residents and businesses served by the City."

The Committee of the Whole did not take any action on the plan Tuesday, other than to file a report, and will discuss it further at the April 12 meeting. 

Next Up

Ellie Ragin

Police obtain 'valuable information' in search for missing 6-year-old Elle Ragin

The 6-year-old is still missing following the death of her mother by suicide.

ambulance

Fatal crash involving 18-year-old in western Minnesota

The 18-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt, the State Patrol said.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

2 women stabbed during parking lot brawl in St. Cloud

Police are searching for another woman in connection with the attack.

Screen Shot 2022-07-04 at 10.02.43 AM

One killed in St. Paul house fire

Two firefighters were injured as they battled the blaze.

fireworks-gad76f1de1_1280

Minneapolis: Stop calling 911 for fireworks noise complaints

The city wants people to submit complaints online instead.

American flag at half-staff/half mast.

What's open and closed in Minnesota on the Fourth of July

Grocery stores are open, though some have limited hours.

ambulance

18-year-old killed by exploding firework in Brooklyn Park

Police arrived at the scene to see the victim's friend performing CPR.

Screen Shot 2022-07-03 at 9.31.25 PM

Boy found in Brooklyn Park is reunited with parents

The boy was found shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday.

police tape, crime scene

1 dead, 1 arrested after shooting involving teens in Duluth

A 17-year-old was arrested around 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Neither the victim nor the suspect has been identified.

Screen Shot 2022-07-03 at 1.03.19 PM

NASCAR driver joins MN boy in reclaiming 'Let's go Brandon' slogan

Brandon Brundidge gained recognition when his mother shared the story of how he found inspiration in "Let's go Brandon" signs.

Screen Shot 2022-07-03 at 10.20.27 AM

White supremacist propaganda flyers distributed in Cottage Grove

The department said the flyers have been left in driveways throughout the city.

Related

mayor frey city minneapolis live stream march 14 2022

Mayor Frey outlines new search warrant entry policies

He called the proposals a "turning point" in the city's warrant and entry policies.

Police chief Arradondo - 2021.10.27

Mpls. council president files ethics complaint against Arradondo, Frey

At the heart of the complaint is the chief's news conference about Ballot Question 2.

sheila nezhad crop

Nezhad drops out of Frey's community safety workgroup

Sheila Nezhad took issue, in part, with the group operating behind closed doors.

minneapolis office of mayor sign 2018 - Tony Webster Flickr

Mpls. Ballot Question 1 passes, shifting power from city council to mayor

Its passage upends the city's "weak mayor, strong council" structure that had been in place.

chad davis flickr may 28 2020 george floyd unrest

Damning report slams MPD, Frey, city leaders for response to George Floyd riots

An audit found the response was uncoordinated, disorganized and plagued with poor communication.

Flickr - QFamily - Ben Jerrys

Latest to wade into Mpls. Question 2 debate is ... Ben & Jerry's?

The ice cream business said it supports the creation of a Department of Public Safety.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

Here's the public safety ballot question Mpls. voters will see

New language had to be approved Tuesday after a last-minute rejection from a judge.

frey feb 7 committee screengrab

Frey's explanation over Minneapolis' no-knock policy under scrutiny

They're working to answer questions about what was — and wasn't —banned.