MINNEAPOLIS -- The man who is appointed to take over public safety in the city of Minneapolis is hitting the ground running. Dr. Cedric Alexander spent the morning in North Minneapolis meeting people and trying to get an understanding of their wants and needs when it comes to public safety.
He was tapped to help Mayor Jacob Frey move public safety along and on his second day in the city, Alexander found himself on a street corner in North Minneapolis, meeting and greeting all who drove or walked by.
"That wasn't a statement. That was a prayer for the city, that was a prayer for the leadership with the mayor, so thats what we are going to move on," Alexander said.
Alexander says he had lots to move on when it comes to integrating five departments: police, fire, 911, emergency management, and neighborhood safety.
"People need to feel that their public safety is legitimate, which means, 'I can trust them, they hear me when I'm talking. I have a voice in the situation,'" Alexander said.
He acknowledged the report from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights that pointed to biased policing within MPD.
"We know that there is a disconnect between police and community. Let's acknowledge that, let's not act like it don't exist. It does, right, so we've got a lot of work to do in that domain. Community has work to do, this police department has work to do in building those relationships. We just can't talk about community building, we've got to actually do it," Alexander said.
Alexander also spent time listening 911 operators talk about shortages. He hopes to boost hiring there and within MPD to help move public safety forward.
"There is going to be some new initiatives, some new thinking, and some new ways of doing business. And that's in each one of these precincts that inspectors oversee, that's in our entire command staff at the fire department, that's everywhere, every aspect," Alexander said.
He knows building trust is a big priority and that must be done, one person at a time.
"They want police in their communities. They want them up and down Broadway. They want them on the streets, in their neighborhoods. But people want good police. They want honest police. They want constitutional policing. They want respectful policing, and they deserve that, and they are going to get that," Alexander said.
Alexander says he is ready to get to work but he knows there is a process he had to go through. His employment will be heard by Minneapolis City Council on July 21.
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