Brooklyn Center police reform eliminates low-level arrests, creates unarmed civilian traffic enforcement

In the aftermath of the the Daunte Wright officer-involved shooting, the Brooklyn Center, Minn., city council has adopted a resolution that makes significant changes in how law enforcement operates in the Minneapolis suburb.

In a 4-1 vote adopted after a three-plus-hour public meeting, officials, among other things, created an unarmed Community Response Department staffed by medical/mental health professions and social workers who will respond to medical or mental health incidents.

Further, the enforcement of non-moving traffic violations will be handled by a new unarmed civilian-based Traffic Enforcement Department.

Perhaps most significantly in the long term, it puts the police department under a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

Also, rather than effectuating arrests, cops will issue citations only for low-level offenses or warrants. such as non-moving traffic infractions and non-felonies.

The resolution also sets up a permanent Community Safety and Violence Prevention Committee, which will be comprised primarily by Brooklyn Center residents “with direct experience in being arrested, detained, or having other similar contact” with local police.

The group is tasked with reviewing and making recommendations about how cops respond to protests and will assess over the union contract between the city and the police force, as well as make other recommendations to the city council.

Use of force, including deadly force, policies, will also come under scrutiny and further regulation pursuant to this resolution.

The 15-page document is called the Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety and Violence Prevention Resolution. It also reserves the right to make further changes in policing as necessary.

Officer Kim Potter faces a second-degree manslaughter charge in the death of Daunte Wright on April 11, 2021 during a traffic stop. Potter allegedly mistook her service weapon for a taser when she fired one round in the incident.

Cops fatally shot Dimock-Heisler in August 2019 while responded to a mental health call. “Police say he reached for a knife hidden in the couch cushions,” CBS affiliate WCCO reported. Prosecutors did not charge the responding officers in that incident.

According to Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, the resolution “will establish a new north star for our community, one that will keep all of us safe.”

Jim Mortenson, the head of the union that represents local police, claims that the council did not seek input from law enforcement in crafting the changes, something with which the mayor disagrees.

Mortenson also highlighted the potential danger for civilians and mental health professionals in certain situations.

Watch a report on the policing changes from WCCO:

It remains to be seen how these changes will affect day-to-day public safety in Brooklyn Center when they go into actual implementation.

Robert Jonathan

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