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Residents voice mixed opinions on proposed MPD contract

The proposed contract includes a pay increase of 21.7% over three years.
The city council is set to vote on the contract on July 18.
Image by Gabrielle Erenstein
The city council is set to vote on the contract on July 18.

More than 30 Minneapolis residents gave mixed opinions on the proposed Minneapolis Police Department contract Monday, which includes a historic 21.7% pay increase over three years

A Minneapolis City Council subcommittee held its final of two opportunities for public comments on the proposed MPD contract on July 8. The city council will vote on July 18.

The meeting drew split views on the contract, with people sharing their MPD experiences as well as their opinions for or against the proposed contract. 

Some residents, such as Anne Nelson, expressed support for the contract. Nelson, one of around six people wearing orange neighborhood safety shirts, said aspects of the contract, like higher pay, would help the city improve public safety.

“We need to hire and keep the current police officers, so everyone can feel safe in their neighborhoods,” Nelson said.

The proposed contract includes a pay raise of 21.7% over three years, resulting in a starting salary of over $90,000 by July 2025. In a presentation before the period of public comments, City Operations Officer Margaret Anderson Kelliher said this increase would make Minneapolis more “competitive” in recruiting new officers. 

“We want to attract, we want to retain (officers),” Kelliher said. 

In the presentation, Kelliher reviewed other important aspects of the contract, such as more flexibility for staffing and withholding the identity of people filing public data requests on officers. 

In addition to the presentation by the city, Communities United Against Police Brutality President Michelle Gross spoke to the committee in opposition to the proposed contract. Gross said the contract does not guarantee officer accountability to justify a large pay increase.

“If you want the money, you have to agree to be accountable,” Gross said. “The conduct comes first, the raises come after.”

Other residents shared similar concerns, with Minneapolis resident Naomi Wilson calling the competitive pay increase a “logical fallacy.” Wilson said she experienced police brutality and inappropriate conduct by the Los Angeles Police Department and disagreed that higher pay results in better policing.

“This contract puts MPD about on par with LAPD (in terms of salary),” Wilson said. “LAPD is one of the most murderous police forces in the country.”

In August 2023, Los Angeles approved a police contract that gave LAPD officers a starting salary of around $94,000 by 2027. 

Minneapolis resident Noah Schumacher said the pay raise does not bring safety or “real accountability” to Minneapolis. 

“Many have shared personal experiences,” Schumacher said. “I too have been robbed, mugged and shot at — and that was pre-2020 when the police were fully staffed.” 

During the city’s presentation of the contract, City Attorney Kristyn Anderson said contracts are “generally not the place for reforms” and should be addressed in places that do not require negotiation with the police union.

Instead, reforms should be handled at places like the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), Anderson said. 

Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw (Ward 4) said if reforms were included in the contract, there would not be room to make changes to the policies as needed.

Gross said the MDHR and Department of Justice are not substitutes for reforms specified in a contract and the contract should go back to negotiations. 

“It’s more important to do this right than to do it fast,” Gross said.

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