Minneapolis Council Backs Disbanding Police Force – Could This Happen Here?
It's been a tense and turbulent few weeks since the tragic death of George Floyd. Floyd died while in police custody after an officer pinned him down on a street in Minneapolis. A street I've driven by many, many times. I grew-up in Minneapolis. I was born there. The whole situation has left me sad and frustrated - that includes the violent protests that saw looting, destruction and chaos throughout the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). While it is clear something needs to be done as this was far from the first incident in Minneapolis involving the police wrongfully taking a life, is the next step to disband the whole police force?
The Minneapolis City Council overwhelmingly says yes. The Gazette reports nine members of the twelve person council on Sunday voted to disbanding the city’s police department. Now, before you jump the 'it's going to be anarchy!' concern, this is not new. Disbanding an entire department has happened in the past. Recent past in fact. Back in 2012, with crime seemingly out of control in Camden, New Jersey, the city disbanded its own police department and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County. Something similar happened in Compton, California way back in 2000 as well.
The move to defund or abolish the Minneapolis department is still not guaranteed, but the Minneapolis City Council supports the move. With that said, could something similar occur here? Short answer is, yes. It could happen anywhere. But it's unlikely at this time. In Waterloo, it also appears the new Chief of Police Dr. Joel Fitzgerald is willing to listen to citizens concerns and take steps to make citizens feel better about the policing in the city they live/work in.