This is the third in a series of articles about the 2022 Midterm Elections from the League of Women Voters Minneapolis
In November, you won’t see an obvious question on the ballot like last year’s City Question #2. Nonetheless, almost every federal, state and local public office in the General Election affects policing and public safety in Minneapolis. The Mayor and Police Chief have direct authority over the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), but those powers are limited by state and federal policies. When you vote, think about how these elected offices impact your community’s safety.
Congress instituted “qualified immunity” that protects public employees from being sued for actions taken on the job. Congress has the authority to make changes at the federal level. Since 2009, more than half of the cases brought against police officers have been dismissed based on qualified immunity.
The Governor, State Senators and State Representatives set the parameters for police union contracts and oversee both the State Patrol — which has statewide law enforcement authority — and the P.O.S.T. Board — which sets standards of conduct and training for police officers. They also can pass state-level civil rights laws explicitly without qualified immunity.
County Commissioners manage the social service agencies that provide mobile mental health crisis response and co-responders to accompany police emergencies. They also oversee County Corrections which runs county jails.
The Country Attorney decides which crimes are prosecuted and is responsible for getting guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers.
The Sheriff serves warrants, subpoenas and orders of protection and has county-wide law enforcement authority, frequently providing back up for the MPD.
The School Board is responsible for overseeing the management of safety personnel and systems that keep children safe on school property.
Judges oversee criminal and civil lawsuits, set bail and impose sentences.
So, if you care about equity in public safety and policing in Minneapolis, vote in every race from the top to the bottom of the ballot and on both sides!
For info read the LWV Minneapolis’ Reimaging Public Safety Study (lwvmpls.org). For more info about who’s on your ballot and how to register and vote in the Primary (August 9) and General (November 8) elections visit vote411.org.
Also note: the League Women Voter is moderating candidate forums
Hennepin County Attorney Forum: Tuesday, June 28, at 7 p.m. at St. Louis Park City Hall, 5005 Minnetonka Boulevard. The candidates are Martha Holton Dimick, Jarvis Jones, Tad Jude, Mary Moriarty, Paul Ostrow, Saraswati Singh and Ryan Winkler. Candidates will respond to questions on a wide variety of issues of concern to voters.
Hennepin County Sheriff Forum: Wednesday, June 29, at 7 p.m. at St. Louis Park City Hall, 5005 Minnetonka Boulevard. The candidates are Joseph Banks, Jai Hanson and Dawanna Witt.
Voters have two opportunities to submit questions to the candidates (all questions/names are confidential). Written questions will be accepted throughout the forum. The League also has an email for voters to submit questions in advance, send to email@example.com. Info Jackie Wells, LWV Golden Valley Voter Service Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.