Lessons Learned from the Public Safety Charter Amendment

On election day, Minneapolis voters failed to pass a charter amendment for a new public safety department. Now what? 

On Nov 2, nearly 44% of Minneapolis residents voted in favor of replacing the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety. However, it wasn’t enough to pass the charter amendment. 

Minister JaNae Bates served as the communications director for Yes 4 Minneapolis, the group campaigning for the amendment. She believes that election day marked the beginning of a conversation about the future of public safety, not the end. 

“We are at a point right now where something has to change,” said Bates. “And there’s no one who voted one way or the other who doesn’t recognize that the real change actually has to happen.”

Moving forward, Bates said she wants to build on the relationships that came together in the Yes 4 Minneapolis Coalition. 

“This campaign was filled to the brim with people who had varying ideas about what Minneapolis could look like 200 years from now,” said Bates. “But they were all committed to the idea – the belief – that the people of Minneapolis deserve better than what we’ve been offered.”

Despite the results, Bates said she is proud of how far the coalition has come. She hopes this movement will inspire people to get involved in their communities and hold their elected officials accountable. 

“It’s really important that you become civically engaged,” she said. “And that doesn’t just mean voting in November. That means all the rest of the months of the year being able to say ‘we put you in office’ and, whether you voted for these people or not, the reality is that they’re there to represent you.”

Bates is one of many people on both sides of the public safety issue who are now looking at how to hold the city accountable to enacting meaningful public safety reform. 

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