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City Council Person Phillipe Cunningham Pushes For Comprehensive Approach To Public Safety

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A change in the Minneapolis Charter would take the input of everyone in the city to ensure public safety for all.

WCCO's Reg Chapman spoke with the lead council person about what a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention would look like.

Ward 4 City Council person Phillipe Cunningham says he is pushing for a public health approach to public safety.

"Building a comprehensive approach to public safety where law enforcement plays a role, but is right sized," Cunningham said.

Cunningham says right now officers answer calls that are related to mental and chemical health challenges.

He would like to allow police to focus on policing and create other systems to handle the needs of the community.

"It does not defund the police it does not abolish the police what it does do it creates a system a a department that mirrors that of the state of Minnesota to have a department of public safety with a division of law enforcement services within it," Cunningham said.

Cunningham says that would give room for mental health counselors, social workers and boots on the ground community organizations to step in and deal with calls for help with addiction, domestic violence and other intervention and prevention needs.

"And that's what we want to build here," Cunningham said.

First, input from the people of Minneapolis.

"We are going to go out into the community as a city and do very in-depth engagement to be building these co-created new systems of public safety," Cunningham said.

Cunningham says people can help be a part of the solution with this recent uptick of crime in Ward 4, by taking part in the community conversation that will usher in a new era of policing in Minneapolis.

Cunningham says this process will not take days, weeks or month. It could take years.

He says he believes a new department of public safety would roll out closer to the beginning of 2022.

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