Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here: http://secondward.blogspot.com/2006/05/disclaimer.html#links

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Queer Women's March Tonight

Please join me and my Aide tonight at 9pm at the corner of Bryant and Lake to protest the brutal, unconscionable attack against Kristen Boyne one week ago. All of us, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, must come together to send the message that homophobia, hatred and violence have no place in our city. For more information, go here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Parking Meter Testing Underway

In December, the City started a six-month-long test of several new types of parking meters. Our current parking meters will need to be replaced in the next few years, and this will help is determine what kinds of meters we want. I am very interested making sure new meters accept credit cards. Six different types of meters are being tested on six separate blocks around the city. Four test areas include multi-space meters. There are test areas in Stadium Village, Dinkytown, Old St. Anthony, Eliot Park and downtown. Staff will evaluate the performance of the meters and you can help by sharing their feedback with Please direct all questions or concerns to tim.drew@ci.minneapolis.mn.us and fill out a short survey here by clicking on "parking meter testing" then select "filling out a short survey online."

Here are the details about the various locations:

Warehouse District

Single-space parking meters

These meters are similar to Minneapolis’ current parking meters, but unlike traditional meters, they also accept credit cards. They accept the following forms of payment:

• Coins (quarters and dollar coins)

• Credit cards

• Future - reloadable smart cards and cell phone payment option


Old Saint Anthony

Multi-space parking meters

This arrangement features two multi-space meters on each side of the block. Parking spaces are marked with signs, and each meter machine serves about five parking spaces. Drivers choose a space and pay the nearest machine. The machines accept the following forms of payment:

• Coins (quarters and dollar coins)

• Credit cards

• Future - reloadable smart cards and cell phone payment option


Stadium Village

Multi-space parking meters

This arrangement features two multi-space meters on each side of the block. Parking spaces are marked with signs, and each meter machine serves about five parking spaces. Drivers choose a space and pay the nearest machine. The machines accept the following forms of payment:

• Coins (quarters and dollar coins)

• Credit cards

• Future - reloadable smart cards and cell phone payment option


Dinkytown A

Single-space parking meters

These meters are similar to Minneapolis’ current parking meters, with one meter for each parking space. These meters accept the following forms of payment:

• Coins

• Reloadable smart cards


Dinkytown B

Multi-space parking meters

This arrangement features two multi-space meters on each side of the block. Parking spaces are marked with signs, and each meter machine serves about five parking spaces. Drivers choose a space and pay the nearest machine. The machines accept the following forms of payment:

• Coins

• Credit cards

• Future - reloadable smart cards and cell phone payment option


Elliot Park

Multi-space parking meters

This arrangement features two multi-space meters on each side of the block. Parking spaces are marked with signs, and each meter machine serves about five parking spaces. Drivers choose a space and pay the nearest machine. The machines accept the following forms of payment:

• Coins

• Credit cards

• Future - reloadable smart cards and cell phone payment option



I've tried out the one in Old St. Anthony and it was a different system so a little confusing at first but worked great. I am sure that there is some fine tuning that could be done with each system but I think that we need to make sure any new system accepts coins and credit cards and would welcome learning more about your thoughts and experiences.

Friday, January 23, 2009

U of Mn Twin Cities Master Plan Meetings

The University has been updating its master plan for the Twin Cities Campus for several months. Back in 2007 and 2008 they hosted a series of community meetings and many people have been wondering about results. Now the U appears ready to share plans and take input. People close to the campus are especially concerned about future plans to grow or expand the campus and seeing the U identify a border.

I just received the following information:

"...There will be four open forums to preview the master plan recommendations in the first week of February:
• Monday, February 2, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., Cowles Auditorium, HHH Center, 301 - 19th Avenue, on the West Bank.
• Tuesday, February 3, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., Mississippi Room, Coffman Union, 300 Washington Avenue SE, East Bank.
• Wednesday, February 4, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., Room 33 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Avenue, Saint Paul (Falcon Heights) campus
• Thursday, February 5, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., Van Cleve Park, 901 - 15th Avenue SE, Minneapolis.

Draft Campus Master Plan and the invitation to comment will be published and available on the Campus Master Plan website at http://www.cppm.umn.edu/master_planning.html

A copy of the draft Campus Master Plan will also be available at Wilson Library (on the West Bank), and at the Minneapolis/Hennepin County SE Library on 4th Street and 13th Avenue SE, Minneapolis.

February 6 through 20: Public comments are invited on the Campus Master Plan.

February 12: Presentation of the Campus Master Plan update to the Board of Regents' Facilities Committee, for review, 1:15 p.m., 6th Floor, MacNamara Alumni Center. Regentsʼ meetings may also be viewed live at http://www1.umn.edu/regents/meetings.html

March 12/13: presentation of Plan and comments to full Board of Regents, for action."

I hope people will be able and willing to attend some of these meetings and comment on the plans. I would be very interested in reading and hearing peoples thoughts and reactions.

Honoring the Southeast Como neighborhood association

The Como neighborhood has had a focus on cleaning up pollution and environmental stewardship for years. In the three short years I have been in office they have been pushing themselves, the businesses around them, and the City as a whole to do more to address the environmental issues that affect us all. Most recently they have embarked on a Green Village effort that I am hoping will help inform and inspire the University District Partnership Alliance and, eventually, the City as a whole.

For these reasons, and more, I was especially honored and delighted to present the following Resolution to Wendy Menken, president, and Jake Jacobi, Environment Committee Chair, of the Southeast Como Improvement Association this morning at the City Council meeting. I was very glad that Wendy specifically mentioned Environmental Coordinator, Justin Eibenholzl , who has key to these efforts for years.




RESOLUTION OF THE
CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS

By Gordon, Benson, Colvin Roy, Goodman, Glidden, Hofstede, Hodges, Johnson, Lilligren, Ostrow, Remington, Samuels, Schiff

Honoring the Southeast Como Improvement Association for Winning the Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention

Whereas, the Southeast Como Improvement Association (SECIA), through the efforts of its Environment Committee, has negotiated and signed Good Neighbor Agreements with three local manufacturing businesses, Ritrama Inc, Rock-Tenn Company, and Greatbatch Globe Tool, preventing the release of more than 1,300 tons of Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) into the air; and

Whereas, between the years of 2001 and 2006, Rock-Tenn and Ritrama reduced VOC emissions by ninety-two percent, due in large part to SECIA’s efforts; and

Whereas, SECIA helped connect Greatbatch Globe Tool to the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, which identified similar potential reductions in their emissions of trichloroethylene; and

Whereas, the Good Neighbor Agreement with Greatbatch Globe Tool, by which the company committed to move towards those reductions, was signed in May 2008; and

Whereas, the City of Saint Paul recognized SECIA’s environmental leadership with an award in 2007 for contributing to St. Paul’s Sustainability goals; and

Whereas, SECIA distributed more than 70 retractable clotheslines as part of a City of Minneapolis “Mobilizing Citizens for Grassroots Climate Change” grant in 2007, helping reduce unnecessary carbon dioxide emissions; and

Whereas, more than one hundred and fifty residents participated in an organic lawn care program organized by SECIA in 2005-2006; and

Whereas, SECIA organized the Southeast Como Solar Pilot Project, in which seventeen solar thermal systems were installed, twelve in Minneapolis and five in Saint Paul; and

Whereas, SECIA was instrumental in building the coalition between environmental, civic, and neighborhood groups which helped convince Xcel Energy to convert the Riverside and High bridge coal-burning power plants to natural gas; and

Whereas, SECIA has been chosen to receive the 2008 Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention for their work on the Good Neighbor Agreements;

Now, Therefore, Be it Resolved by the City Council of the City of Minneapolis:

That the City of Minneapolis honors the good work done by the staff, board, and volunteers of the Southeast Como Improvement Association to help make Minneapolis a greener city
Be it Further Resolved that the City of Minneapolis thanks the Southeast Como Improvement Association for helping the City move toward meeting our sustainability targets, and encourages the Association to keep up the good work.

Passed, January 23, 2009
__________________________________
Barbara Johnson, President of the Council

Approved:

___________________________________
R. T. Rybak, Mayor

Attest: _____________________________
Steve Ristuben, City Clerk

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Input Needed on Xcel Power Line Resolution

On Monday, The Health, Energy & Environment Committee will be taking comments on the Resolution Council Member Schiff, Lilligren and I introduced at the last Council Meeting regarding Xcel's Midtown High Voltage Power Line Proposal.

January 26, 2009
at about 1:30 p.m.
in Room 317 City Hall

The resolution recommends that "Xcel Energy delay its routing permit application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the Hiawatha Project and provide greater detail regarding the current and future electricity needs that the project is planned to address, as well as a thorough analysis of aggressive alternative methods to abate and/or supply the electricity that is needed" and "that if such an analysis is undertaken and fails to yield a
successful alternative approach to the need for high voltage power lines in Midtown;
that the preferred route for the new high voltage transmission lines is underground
below 28th Street East."


Written comments are also always welcome and will be made part of the public record. They are best sent to jackie.hanson@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bike Sharing Open Houses

I've written about the exciting new bike sharing system I hope will be installed over the next year or so, using Non-motorized Transportation Project funding. Now you can learn more at one of three public meetings cosponsored by the City and the Nordic Ski Foundation (our consultants on the system):



Wednesday February 4, 7pm
Calhoun Square Atrium, Lake & Hennepin, Uptown


Tuesday February 10, 7pm
Coffman Memorial Union, The Whole Music Club (basement level), UofM East Bank

Thursday February 12, 5:30pm
Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall



You can also find more info here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Internal Affairs Audit

After quite some time, the Police Executive Research Fund (PERF) has returned with their audit of the Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit (IAU). Recall that the MPD did not initially want to use PERF - they wanted to enter into a no-bid contract with a law firm they've worked with in the past - but chose them after I convinced my colleagues to require that they go out for a Request for Proposals.



After the presentation the Public Safety and Regulatory Services (PS&RS) committee received from PERF and IAU yesterday, I must say I'm impressed with the depth of PERF's analysis and the quality of their 28 recommendations for improving IAU. Some are quite intriguing, such as the recommendation that IAU be physically moved out of City Hall, and not co-housed at any police precinct, to help complainants feel more comfortable in coming forward.



The fear with good reports like these is that they will sit on a shelf somewhere, and that the recommendations that might be difficult to implement, or take some time, will be gradually forgotten. To make sure that doesn't happen in this instance, yesterday I made a motion directing MPD staff to come back to PS&RS on February 25th, and then on a quarterly basis, to report on progress made toward implementing all 28 recommendations. The motion also directed MPD to include the PERF recommendations in their Results Minneapolis reports.



To be clear, the intent of this staff direction is not to say that absolutely every recommendation must be implemented. However, I believe it's important that the MPD come to the Council to enumerate the reasons for not implementing any of the recommendations, rather than quietly dismissing them. At the end of this process, my goal is to have some sort of formal action on every recommendation: implementation or a clear decision not to implement, based on some very good reasons that have been vetted and accepted by the Council.

To the departments credit they have already established a work group that will be reviewing the recommendations. The group includes staff from the Civil Rights Department as well as two civilians.

Here are the PERF recommendations, taken out of the report and put into a more usable format for those of you who appreciate more details.

Below are two lists. The first is a list of just the bolded text of each recommendation. The second is all of the text included in each.


1) The Internal Affairs Unit should report directly to the Chief of Police or Assistant Chief.

2) Experienced sergeants should be selected to fill positions within the Internal Affairs Unit. Incentives should be established to recruit top-quality candidates for this important assignment. Internal Affairs sergeants are responsible for conducting investigations into internal and external allegations of misconduct against members of the department.

3) The makeup of the Internal Affairs Unit should be ethnically diverse.

4) New investigators should be required to attend a basic internal affairs investigation course within six months of their assignment to IAU.

5) Continuing education and training should be required of internal affairs investigators on an annual basis.

6) IAU cases should be assigned within five business days of receipt of the complaint and prioritized by their seriousness.

7) The department’s practice of handling anonymous complaints should be modified and developed into a formal departmental policy.

8) The department should conduct further educational efforts to inform the community about how to file a complaint against a member of the department.

9) Complainants should be kept apprised of the progress of their complaint.

10) The department should continue its recent practice of reclassifying Category “A” Policy/Procedure Inquiry (PPI) as “Coaching Documentation.”

11) A policy should be established mandating that internal affairs investigators sign an affidavit affirming that all statements, interviews, and facts in an investigation are truthful and reflect an accurate record of all evidence against the employee.

12) The Department should revise its current disciplinary matrix to describe in more detail specific violations and a range of disciplinary consequences for the accompanying behavior with mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The matrix should be periodically reviewed to ensure the level of discipline reflects current societal views and changes in the law.

13) The Department should publish a personnel order, minimally on a quarterly basis, that lists the behavior and disciplinary action taken against members of the department without naming the employee.

14) Adopt a Mediation Program for minor complaints against an employee when there is a clear policy violation of a type that the Police Chief has determined is more appropriate for mediation that for formal disciplinary action.

15) The IAU should establish a formal protocol with the local prosecutor’s office to consult on matters that require a criminal investigation, subsequent arrest, and prosecution of an employee during an internal affairs investigation.

16) All IAU investigations and processes should be centralized in one secured computer system and database, rather than in multiple computers and paper-driven systems that are unconnected to each other and that include only informal tracking processes.

17) Confidentiality of Internal Affairs investigations should be a duty requirement of those assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit. Breach of this trust should result in disciplinary action and reassignment from the unit.

18) The police department should move the Internal Affairs Unit to an off-site location.

19) Provide additional interviews rooms that are sound resistant for internal affairs investigations.

20) The department should abide by a 45-day goal for the completion of an internal affairs investigation with a formal provision for extensions.

21) The department should move to complete its implementation of an Early Intervention System (EIS).

22) The department should develop a policy and practice of random employee drug testing and seek to eliminate the requirement of having a second representative confirm the suspicion prior to conducting a drug test on an employee.

23) The IAU should establish a formal protocol with the Investigations Bureau specifying that their personnel will assist in sensitive investigations that require special knowledge, specialized training, undercover work, or covert assistance.

24) A written directive should be included in the Internal Affairs Manual that specifies the conditions during an IA investigation, when medical or laboratory examinations are administered; photographs of employees are taken; an employee can be directed to participate in a line-up; a financial disclosure statement is required; and the use of instruments for the detection of deception are administered.

25) The department should establish a staff inspections function.

26) Staffing of the Internal Affairs Unit should be increased by two sergeants.

27) Establish a consistently applied consequence for failure to return the disciplinary action on an IAU investigation within the 30-day time limit.

28) The Minneapolis Police Department should endeavor to comply with the requirement to complete its review of the Civilian Police Review Authority’s (CRA) “routine” complaint investigations and report Observations to the CRA Board within 60 days of receipt of the report.

-------------

1) Recommendation: The Internal Affairs Unit should report directly to the Chief of Police or Assistant Chief. The Minneapolis Police Department has a clearly defined vision, mission, and values statement that are built on the principles of employee excellence, diversity, human rights, honesty, integrity, and community collaboration. The Chief of Police is the most visible public figure of the police department and is the person entrusted with the protection of civil liberties and ensuring that the agency is viewed by the community with trust, respect, and honor. Criminal and administrative misconduct by police officers undermines the relationship a police department has with its community. The purpose of an internal affairs function is to receive, investigate, and resolve complaints of police misconduct. The nature and sensitivity of an internal affairs investigation justify that the Internal Affairs Unit provide information and report to the top of the agency. Ideally this would be the Chief of Police. However, in large agencies where the day-to-day operations of the department are shared with, or relegated to, an Assistant Chief, this level of direct supervision for the internal affairs function is also appropriate.

2) Recommendation: Experienced sergeants should be selected to fill positions within the Internal Affairs Unit. Incentives should be established to recruit top-quality candidates for this important assignment. Internal Affairs sergeants are responsible for conducting investigations into internal and external allegations of misconduct against members of the department. It is important that IAU personnel have a wide range of supervisory experience and investigative knowledge to draw upon when making judgments on whether the actions of an employee constitute a violation of policy. Without such a base of skills, the credibility of the unit may be suspect. The department should create an environment in which an assignment to the IAU is seen as having a positive impact on one’s career. Incentives should accompany this important and difficult assignment to attract quality candidates. Examples of inducements used by other agencies include: assignment pay, take-home vehicles, consideration in promotional processes, and selection to a choice assignment upon completion of a commitment to the IAU.

3) Recommendation: The makeup of the Internal Affairs Unit should be ethnically diverse. It is important for members of minority groups both within the department and in the community to have confidence in the Internal Affairs process. One element that impacts the level of confidence in the department’s ability to objectively investigate allegations of misconduct is the inclusion of minority-group staff members assigned to the unit.

4) Recommendation: New investigators should be required to attend a basic internal affairs investigation course within six months of their assignment to IAU. The legal, administrative, and technical requirements of an internal affairs investigation require that newly assigned investigators attend, at minimum, a basic internal affairs investigation course. Completion of the training should occur as soon as possible. Competent and well-trained investigators are a key to determining the role, extent, and scope of police misconduct within a police agency, and investigators must be properly trained.

5) Recommendation: Continuing education and training should be required of internal affairs investigators on an annual basis. Constantly changing legal and administrative policies and practices require that internal affairs investigators receive the latest and most up-to-date training available. Retraining of internal affairs investigators, along with other development opportunities such as membership in state and national professional associations, provides IAU members with professional growth and the sharing of ideas with colleagues regarding investigative policies and practices. Membership in the National Internal Affairs Association and similar state organizations as well as subscriptions to related publications can also be of value to investigators.

6) Recommendation: IAU cases should be assigned within five business days of receipt of the complaint and prioritized by their seriousness. The prompt assignment of citizen complaints should be a top priority of the IAU. The Minneapolis Police Conduct Incident Report Form states that the complainant will be contacted within five business days by an Internal Affairs investigator upon receipt of the complaint. Citizen complaints that are not investigated in a timely manner affect the citizen’s trust and confidence in the police department. Criminal complaints and the most serious policy violations should be assigned immediately. And all other complaints should be assigned within five business days of their receipt.

7) Recommendation: The department’s practice of handling anonymous complaints should be modified and developed into a formal departmental policy. The integrity of the police department and its personnel and operations depends on receiving and investigating any and all allegations of misconduct, regardless of the manner, method, or source of the information. Even though anonymous complaints can be complicated and difficult to validate, every effort should be made to look into such allegations before dismissing the accusation because the complainant refuses to sign a sworn statement. The determining factor as to whether an anonymous complaint should be investigated is the presence or absence of investigative leads, rather than exclusively the seriousness of the allegation. Minnesota Statute 626.89, PEACE OFFICER DISCIPLINE PROCEDURES ACT, a state law that governs the disciplinary procedures for peace officers in the state, provides in section 626.89 (5) that “Complaints stating the signer’s knowledge also may be filed by members of the law enforcement agency.” PERF’s analysis of the statute suggests that IAU investigators can file a complaint on behalf of an anonymous complainant against a member of the police department when the validity and knowledge of the complaint can be validated.

8) Recommendation: The department should conduct further educational efforts to inform the community about how to file a complaint against a member of the department. Information regarding filing a complaint against a member of the Minneapolis Police Department as well as forms in multiple languages are available at headquarters and all the precinct stations along with various organizations previously noted. Information for filing a complaint is also available on the department’s Web-page. Despite these efforts, some members of the community who met with PERF did not know how to file a complaint or where they could get information on the subject.

9) Recommendation: Complainants should be kept apprised of the progress of their complaint. In an effort to keep a complainant informed of the progress of their report, the Internal Affairs investigator assigned to the case should make contact with those filing a complaint against a member of the department to provide an update on the investigation.

10) Recommendation: The department should continue its recent practice of reclassifying Category “A” Policy/Procedure Inquiry (PPI) as “Coaching Documentation.” Currently, relatively minor category “A” allegations are not handled in a disciplinary manner, unless the behavior of the employee continues and the re-occurrence is then categorized as a “B” violation for which disciplinary action may be taken. Sustained allegations cannot be grieved, and all documentation is removed from the employee’s working file after one year. By redefining these incidents as “coaching documentation,” supervisors may better monitor employees’ non-disciplinary behavior and ensure that employees adhere to policies and procedures. These infractions may be handled informally in the manner the department intends. These coaching opportunities should continue to be documented by supervisors and monitored and reviewed by the Internal Affairs Unit. It is necessary to continue assigning an Internal Affairs number to these incidents for tracking and record keeping purposes. In order to maintain consistency within the department and establish confidence among the public, the department must maintain working knowledge of such cases to identify trends or officers requiring coaching.

11) Recommendation: A policy should be established mandating that internal affairs investigators sign an affidavit affirming that all statements, interviews, and facts in an investigation are truthful and reflect an accurate record of all evidence against the employee.

12) Recommendation: The Department should revise its current disciplinary matrix to describe in more detail specific violations and a range of disciplinary consequences for the accompanying behavior with mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The matrix should be periodically reviewed to ensure the level of discipline reflects current societal views and changes in the law. Annually, the department should review all disciplinary action within the past year and ensure that similar discipline has been imposed for similar infractions. This will identify situations – for further review – that were outside the norm and will demonstrate how the executive staff views the severity of different types of misconduct. (An example of such a disciplinary matrix from the Denver Police Department is included as an appendix to this report).

13) Recommendation: The Department should publish a personnel order, minimally on a quarterly basis, that lists the behavior and disciplinary action taken against members of the department without naming the employee. Included in the order should be information such as:
• The rank, race, and gender of the officer
• The charge(s) sustained
• Any mitigating circumstances (prior events, other aggravating circumstances)
• The discipline imposed

14) Recommendation: Adopt a Mediation Program for minor complaints against an employee when there is a clear policy violation of a type that the Police Chief has determined is more appropriate for mediation that for formal disciplinary action. Mediation is an informal process done in a private and non-threatening setting, with a trained mediator who works to resolve a citizen’s complaint against an employee. Mediation is voluntary; the employee and complainant must agree to the process, or the policy violation investigation continues, including discipline if warranted.

15) Recommendation: The IAU should establish a formal protocol with the local prosecutor’s office to consult on matters that require a criminal investigation, subsequent arrest, and prosecution of an employee during an internal affairs investigation. Such a protocol provides a direct communication link for the IAU investigator to discuss a criminal investigation. This should be conducted at the beginning stages of an investigation and mindful of Garrity safeguards. The prosecutor can advise on the appropriate criminal charge and/or the requirements for a search warrant. The prosecutor can help identify the probable cause to secure an arrest warrant or search warrant. Many times a prosecutor will have direct access to a judge to sign either court action.

16) Recommendation: All IAU investigations and processes should be centralized in one secured computer system and database, rather than in multiple computers and paper-driven systems that are unconnected to each other and that include only informal tracking processes.

17) Recommendation: Confidentiality of Internal Affairs investigations should be a duty requirement of those assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit. Breach of this trust should result in disciplinary action and reassignment from the unit. A large amount of trust is placed on commanders and investigators given the difficult assignment of Internal Affairs. This trust cannot be betrayed, or the credibility of the unit and investigations may be jeopardized.

18) Recommendation: The police department should move the Internal Affairs Unit to an off-site location. The Internal Affairs Unit is presently located in the Police Department within City Hall. The office suite is located near the offices of the Chief of Police and command staff. Admittance into the secured inner office is gained from an exterior office.

19) Recommendation: Provide additional interviews rooms that are soundresistant for internal affairs investigations. The nature and sensitivity of police misconduct investigations require that confidentiality be maintained throughout the process. Interview rooms should be sound-resistant so that conversations between investigators and those being interviewed cannot be overheard by anyone not involved in the investigation. Adequate sound-resistant interview rooms should be readily available to conduct multiple IAU investigations.

20) Recommendation: The department should abide by a 45-day goal for the completion of an internal affairs investigation with a formal provision for extensions. Internal affairs investigations should be completed in a reasonable time. Delays in the investigative process undermine the trust of the public and affect the morale of the personnel in the police department. The department recognizes the need to keep internal investigations on track, but in many instances investigations have been drawn out for too long. In keeping with its desire to adopt best professional standards, the department should abide by CALEA Standard 52.2.3, which states that agencies should “[specify] a time limit for completing an internal affairs investigation, with provisions for extensions.”

21) Recommendation: The department should move to complete its implementation of an Early Intervention System (EIS). Many police departments, including Minneapolis, recognize that law enforcement personnel encounter various situations that are dangerous. The way in which personnel handle these challenges can identify underlying problems. Problems that remain unchecked can escalate to negative behaviors. Officers are often transferred and promoted to different areas of the agency, so at times supervisors can be unfamiliar with those under their command. This can include a lack of familiarity with past and present concerns about an officer. Police departments should be alerted to problems in an officer’s behaviors that signal a need for additional training, counseling, or if necessary corrective action. An Early Intervention System (EIS) is a proactive program designed to identify personnel who are involved in various types of incidents, such as use of force, vehicle pursuits, or allegations of misconduct, as well as positive indicators such as commendations. It can further track other associated indicators such as the number of arrests an officer makes, citations, motor vehicle stops, pedestrian stops, the officer’s training history, voluntary overtime worked, sick time usage not protected by federal, state or local law, sick leave taken in conjunction with normal days off (suggesting improper use of sick leave to “extend a weekend”), and charges of resisting, obstructing or delaying a police officer in the performance of their duties. The department then applies reasonable thresholds or “triggers” to initiate an alert that an employee should be evaluated to determine if there is reason to bring the employee into the formal EIS process. Each indicator is given an associated value which is measured against the threshold. When the alert is sent, it is the responsibility of the employee’s precinct or division commander to sit down with the officer and determine if the intervention options of policy/procedure review, remedial training, or psychological counseling are needed. The officer could be referred to an employee assistance program if necessary. The review session is documented in the precinct or division files, with a notation of what action was taken. The officer’s immediate supervisor is made aware of any intervention recommended, and reports any unusual behavior by the officer to the precinct or division commander. A review of the interventions that were implemented is conducted on an annual basis, and a quarterly report on any trends or problems that arise in the EIS is prepared for the Chief of Police. The Minneapolis Police Department has expressed its intention to implement an early Intervention System. Some eighteen months ago, the agency began taking several preliminary and positive steps toward that goal including: performing a research and literature review on similar systems; surveying approximately 25 police departments on their practices; conducting a site visit to the Phoenix Police Department; briefing command staff; hiring an employee to be a part-time analyst for the EIS system; purchasing software for Internal Affairs that will support an EIS; holding preliminary discussions with the police officers’ federation; and establishing a Core Committee to assist in the implementation. When the “Twin Cities” were chosen to be the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention, the Minneapolis Police Department became involved in the enormous undertaking of planning, coordinating, implementing, and assessing a National Special Security Event. Understandably, resources were devoted to this project, which became the department’s highest priority. Implementing programs such as an EIS were put on hold until the successful conclusion of the convention. The department may now recommit resources to the development and implementation of an Early Intervention System.

22) Recommendation: The department should develop a policy and practice of random employee drug testing and seek to eliminate the requirement of having a second representative confirm the suspicion prior to conducting a drug test on an employee. Adopting random drug testing may allow the department to provide assistance to an employee in need of support and treatment. Random drug testing also can help give the community and administration confidence that members of the Minneapolis Police Department are not engaging in the use of illegal substances.

23) Recommendation: The IAU should establish a formal protocol with the Investigations Bureau specifying that their personnel will assist in sensitive investigations that require special knowledge, specialized training, undercover work, or covert assistance.

24) Recommendation: A written directive should be included in the Internal Affairs Manual that specifies the conditions during an IA investigation, when medical or laboratory examinations are administered; photographs of employees are taken; an employee can be directed to participate in a line-up; a financial disclosure statement is required; and the use of instruments for the detection of deception are administered.

25) Recommendation: The department should establish a staff inspections function. The staff inspections function provides an in-depth review of all components of the police agency. CALEA Standard 53.2.1 states, “The role of staff inspections is to promote an objective review of agency administrative and operational activities, facilities, property, equipment, and personnel outside of the normal supervisory and/or line inspections.” Information produced during an announced or unannounced inspection provides the Chief of Police with critical insight into what is going right and what is going wrong within the police department. Some observations may serve as the basis for an internal affairs investigation. Included in this additional role of the IAU should be the comprehensive review of police activities, including all use-of-force incidents and vehicle pursuits.

26) Recommendation: Staffing of the Internal Affairs Unit should be increased by two sergeants. At the time of the PERF site visit, there were six sergeants assigned to the IAU responsible for conducting investigations into allegations of police officer misconduct. Mid-year 2008 case assignment figures reflect a significant increase (60 percent) in case investigations as well as increased workload related to an active role in responding to critical incidents. Furthermore, PERF recommends that the IAU assume additional responsibilities such as staff and inspectional functions, investigating anonymous complaints, reviewing and reporting on use of force and vehicle pursuits, and oversight of an Early Intervention System (EIS). This will require adding two positions to the unit. Additional staffing of two sergeants, for a total of eight, will also allow for more thorough and timely investigations where warranted.

27) Recommendation: Establish a consistently applied consequence for failure to return the disciplinary action on an IAU investigation within the 30-day time limit. The failure to comply with the 30-day period to respond to an IA report should have consequences unless extenuating circumstances are confirmed and result in an approved extension. At present, there are few consequences for not returning the investigation in a timely manner. The Chief of Police should reconfirm his expectations and be clear that continued disregard for the established time-frames will result in action against commanders who are consistently late. Thereafter, consistency in actions taken is essential.

28) Recommendation: The Minneapolis Police Department should endeavor to comply with the requirement to complete its review of the Civilian Police Review Authority’s (CRA) “routine” complaint investigations and report Observations to the CRA Board within 60 days of receipt of the report. Once the police department receives an investigated complaint from the CRA, the department should determine the appropriate sanction and report that finding to the Board within 60 days of receiving the completed investigation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

City Wins on IRV!

I am thrilled to report that we have won the lawsuit brought by the Minnesota Voters Alliance, challenging Ranked Choice Voting in Minneapolis. The Alliance claimed that the Minneapolis IRV provision violated both the federal and Minnesota constitutions and was preempted by State law. Hennepin County District Court Judge George McGunnigle found for the City on all claims, including the arguments that Ranked Choice Voting is unconstitutional and that the City is preempted by state law. The Judge's opinion was thorough, well-reasoned and well-researched. This is a huge victory for the City and for Ranked Choice Voting, a first step towards putting to bed the arguments about constitutionality and preemption and paving the way for more cities to adopt the voting method.


We assume that the Voters Alliance will appeal this ruling. They have 60 days from today to file an appeal. I have heard from the City Attorney that our staff will do everything they can to move this case through the appellate process as quickly as we can. However, because not much of the timing is in our power to control, it may be some time yet before we obtain a final ruling from the courts in this case, assuming the plaintiff decides to appeal.

I'd especially like to thank our great Attorney's office, represented well in this case Lisa Needham and Peter Ginder, and ably led by Susan Segal. They also got some great help from FairVote Minnesota's attorney James Dorsey.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dania Hall Public Meeting

The City Planning Department has scheduled a meeting to help shape the former Dania Hall site on the West Bank on Tuesday, January 27, 7-8:30pm at 630 Cedar Avenue South. I hope that folks from many different perspectives choose to attend, and give their vision of a successful redevelopment of this critical property.


New Street Lighting Policy

The last Council meeting was a pretty important one, in terms of the number of major policy decisions - many of which have been discussed for years and years - we finally made.



Another example: pedestrian-level street lighting. After years of effort, the Council voted last Friday to finalize this policy, and I’m pretty thrilled with how it ended up.



When the City reconstructs a street, the default expectation will be that pedestrian streetlights will be installed. If 51% of residents petition to opt out, the new streetlights will not be installed. In areas that the City has designated as pedestrian zones, 70% of residents will have to opt out. For street renovations in residential areas or other non-reconstruction situations, residents may opt in by a 70% petition. In all cases, the streetlights will be paid for by assessment to property owners.



Even more excitingly from an environmental perspective, the new policy states that all new streetlights will be full-cutoff, unless the Council approves a variance. This will reduce glare and light pollution. I am also very hopeful that we can transition soon to Light Emitting Diodes (or LEDs), a much more energy efficient lighting technology, which will both reduce the carbon emissions of city operations and save the City a significant amount of money, given that the number-one use of electricity by the City is for street lights.

Presentation on European "Gold Standard" for Bikes

This Wednesday afternoon the City is hosting a presentation about bicycling in Northern Europe. Jane Shey, a PhD student in Leuven, Belgium, has reviewed several studies that identify key municipal policies, which indicate how several cities including Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Groningen, have become the "Gold Standard" in cycling. The presentation includes pictures to show how bike accommodations are structured, including bicycle lanes, paths, and cycle tracks, as well as bike parking facilities at transit stations. It will also include information about the policy changes that were instituted, problems of cyclists (including bicycle theft), attitudes about safety, and funding schemes to improve cycling.

Jane is pursuing her PhD in environmental policy in Leuven, Belgium at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. She is a native of the Midwest, and has worked as the Staff Director of former Minnesota Congressman Tim Penny.

Everyone is welcome.

When: Wednesday, January 14th at 4:30 pm
Where: Minneapolis City Hall (350 S 5th Street) Room 319.
For More Information: Contact Shaun Murphy at 612.333.2450 or shaun.murphy@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Monday, January 12, 2009

University Alliance Home Buyer Assistance Program

The University District Partnership Alliance has announced a new homebuyer assistance program aimed at encouraging owner-occupied homeownership in five University of Minnesota neighborhoods. The University Alliance Home Buyer Assistance program offers loans of $10,000 (forgivable over five years) for people who want to buy and live in homes in the neighborhoods of Cedar-Riverside, Marcy Homes, Prospect Park, SE Como, and University..

All area realtors are invited to a meeting about this on held January 16, 1-3 pm at Van Cleve Park. The program offers loans to new buyers in the Cedar Riverside, Southeast Como and Prospect neighborhoods. For more information contact the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation Housing Resource Center, at 612-378-7985 or visit here.

The University Alliance was formed in 2007, and it received $750,000 in funding support by the Minnesota Legislature to facilitate and manage projects with the University, City of Minneapolis and other public and private entities that are working to maintain the University neighborhoods as viable places to study, research and live. More information on the University District Partnership Alliance is available at www.community.umn.edu/alliance.

If you have additional questions or to apply for a loan please contact the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, NE Housing Resource Center,(612) 378-7985, or the City of Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development staff Earl Pettiford, 612-673-5231 E-Mail: Earl.Pettiford@ci.minneapolis.mn.us

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Roundtable Discussion February 11

Please join me to discuss priorities and challenges for 2009 on February 11, 6-8pm at Matthews Recreation Center. In this time of economic challenge and likely budget cuts, how can we keep making progress towards our shared goals? Which City programs should be protected from cuts, and which should be on the table? Everyone is welcome.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Voting Rights for Ex-Offenders

I'll be attending an event tomorrow organized by TakeAction Minnesota to kick off the campaign to restore voting rights for ex-offenders. It runs from 9am-12pm at New Hope Baptist Church, 712 Burr Street in St. Paul.

The goal of this campaign is to change State law to join thirteen other states in allowing ex-felons to vote after they leave prison, rather than having to wait until they are finished with parole (or "off papers"). To learn more, go here.

Bike Sharing

I strongly supported the Council’s action to apply for up to $1.75 million from the Non-Motorized Transportation Program to establish the first major bike-sharing system in the US. This system will cover Uptown, Midtown and Downtown, all of the University and West Bank neighborhoods and parts of Prospect Park, providing a great people-powered way for folks to get around.



The bikes will be sturdy and easy to use, designed especially for this bike sharing system. They'll include lights, chain guards, fenders, at least three speeds and a large basket. The idea is to attract people who might bike now for recreation and exercise, but don't typically ride to get from place to place. Businesspeople on their way to meetings, patrons of downtown bars who don't want to worry about parking, transit-dependent folks who want to get to the train or bus more quickly - we want to broaden the accessibility of biking to include all sorts of folks who aren't out there on bikes today.



The model we are poised to use is different from some of the other bike sharing systems in use in Europe right now. First, the kiosks where the bikes wait for users will be moveable, rather than being built into the street. This will enable the folks running the system to react well to the use patterns we observe - too few bikes in a given location? Move more there!



Second, it will not be funded by an agreement about street adverising. Some of the other major systems such as Velib in Paris, are provided in exchange for exclusive street advertising rights citywide. Minneapolis has already given our street advertising contract to Clear Channel in exchange for street furniture, so this wasn't an option. Instead, the bike sharing system will be run by a nonprofit agency, funded by the system's revenues, advertising at the kiosks, and corporate philanthropy. This funding model depends on the relatively large-scale investment of public funds to set up the system - hence the $1.75 million NTP request - but shouldn't cost the public anything to maintain.



One of the pieces of information that helped convince me that this system can be successful was a survey conducted by the U, in which they asked students and staff whether they would use the proposed bike sharing program. The nonprofit’s target is for 7% of students to purchase annual memberships. The result of this survey, however, is that more than 36% of respondents said they would buy a membership - and another 30% would use the system from time to time. Even with the inherent problems with surveys (self-selection bias, small sample size, etc), this shows that there’s some pretty significant demand out there for this service.



The hope for this system is that, once it's in place and starts to see some use, bicycling to meet one's daily needs will go from being an activity for a certain set of people - often younger adult committed types with nice bikes and all sorts of gear - to being for everyone.

1721 Como and Joe Baker Auto

Today, the Council passed a resolution I authored taking the somewhat unprecedented action of declaring a property – 1721 Como Ave SE – a “municipal problem.”

This issue goes back several years, and centers around a business called Joe Baker Auto. Back in 2003, responding to numerous concerns from Southeast Como residents, City Licensing staff started holding Mr. Baker accountable for some shoddy business practices, which included long-term storage of junk cars on the lot and in the street. After multiple violations, citations, and a mass impounding of a collection of inoperable vehicles, Mr. Baker allowed his business license to expire in 2006.

Since a licensed business was no longer involved, Zoning enforcement staff stepped in. From 2007 until the middle of last year, they gave Mr. Baker a number of citations, totaling $5,500, for violating the zoning code’s enclosed building requirement and for operating an illegal parking lot. (The fact that the auto repair license had been allowed to expire meant that the cars continuing to be stored on the lot could only be called a parking lot.) These fines have yet to be paid.

Then, last year, Mr. Baker allowed the property to go into tax forfeiture, which means it was controlled by the County. City staff asked that the property not be sold for six months, to give the City and the neighborhood a chance to find the highest and best possible use of the property, something that would actually serve the surrounding community. Unfortunately, during that time Mr. Baker has applied to repurchase the property from the County.


Along with Licensing staff, interested neighbors and County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, my staff attended a public hearing held by the County Auditor's office on Mr. Baker's repurchase application. The City's position is that 1721 has been a problem for the neighborhood and our regulatory staff for more than five years, and continues to be. The County's policy on repurchase applications states that one of the conditions for denial is if the property is considered a "municipal problem," with code violations. Commissioner McLaughlin recommended that the City make a formal statement to this effect before the next public hearing on January 12th. After some good work by my staff in conjunction with Licensing, Zoning, and the City Attorney's Office, the resolution was passed unanimously this morning.


It is my hope that this will help the County see its way clear to denying Mr. Baker's repurchase application, so that this property - located at a busy and highly visible intersection at 18th and Como - can go from being a frustrating eyesore to something that strengthens and serves the neighborhood.

Functional Yield - City takes no position

Despite the vote of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, the City’s only formal outreach to the bicycling community, recommending that the City support Phyllis Kahn’s “functional yield” bill, the Intergovernmental Relations committee voted to oppose the bill earlier this week.

I was disappointed in this outcome. This bill is a commonsense set of rules that match the way that safe, conscientious cyclists ride and I think will help us have a much needed discussion on how we can craft bike laws in a way that will promote safety and ridership. Fortunately, the Council overturned IGR's recommendation today on a 7-6 vote, opting instead to take no position on this bill. Joining me in voting against the recommendation to oppose were Council Members Lilligren, Schiff, Glidden, Remington, Benson and Goodman.


I remain disappointed that the Council was unable to support this as part of our legislative agenda but think is was helpful for us to begin the discussion and I am gald that at least we remained neutral on the question.

Hennepin and First Ave - two ways and bike lanes

As part of the Downtown Transportation Action Plan, today the Council approved final layout for a re-striping project to transform Hennepin Ave and First Ave from one-ways to two-ways through downtown. Just as with the Marquette and Second project that began last year, one of the major questions has been about what to do to accommodate bicyclists on the corridor.

Right now, there is a two-way bike facility on Hennepin, between the bus lane and the three travel lanes. Staff’s proposal is to eliminate this bike-only space on Hennepin, creating instead a shared lane for bikes, buses, and right-turning vehicles on every other block. While I think that this will be a good solution for serious, skilled cyclists, I am unconvinced that very many less experienced or “B” level riders will ever use it.


However, the proposal also calls for the creation of a new pair of extremely innovative bike lanes on First and Hawthorne Aves, all the way from 2nd Street N to 11th St N. The lanes will have a special red sealcoat that will help to differentiate them from standard street space. They will run right along the curb. During peak hours, the lane just to the left of the bike lane will be for through traffic, but at night and on the weekend it will become parking, providing a physical barrier between cars and cyclists. Bike boxes – which allow left-turning cyclists to get in front of traffic at red lights - will be provided at intersections with other streets with bike lanes. This facility will be welcoming to newer, or less confident, “B,” riders, and could form the spine of a tremendously important bicycle corridor when connected to the planned bike lane extensions on Hennepin Ave down to Loring Park and across the Henneping Bridge and up into Northeast.

Unfortunately, the current layout does not provide a good way for these less-experienced bikers to get from Hennepin to 1st/Hawthorne, or vice versa. The lane on Hawthorne peters out at 11th, forcing southbound cyclists to use the “A” rider bus/bike/right turner facility on Hennepin for two blocks. Similarly, northbound cyclists would be forced to use the Hennepin shared lanes for a block. Bike boxes won’t be provided, because they are only recommended for intersections between streets with designated bike lanes, and the shared-use Hennepin lanes don’t count as such.

This gap of just two blocks could serve as a barrier to “B” riders using the whole facility, hurting our chances of increasing bike mode share in downtown. So this week, my office worked with Council Member Lilligren to come up with a motion that he moved today with my strong support, directing staff to come back to the Transportation and Public Works committee on February 10th to show their plans for getting “B” riders between the Hennepin and Hawthorne, including the costs for two-way bike lanes on 12th Street N, a one-way street. (Contraflow lanes, though not very common, have been used in other bike-friendly cities around the country including Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Madison, and Cambridge, MA.) The motion passed unanimously. I also remain very interested in pursuing bicycle signalization, possibly actuated by a push button, like many pedestrian signals. I look forward to working with staff to solve these thorny issues to make Hennepin and First a “complete corridor,” accommodating all modes of transit – buses, cars, pedestrians, and bikes.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Seward Coop Grand Opening

I was thrilled to attend the "vine-cutting" for the new Seward Coop at 29th and Riverside this morning. Today was the culmination of years of hard work going back to 2006 on the part of Coop staff, Seward Redesign, Seward Neighborhood Group, the neighborhood volunteer activists who participated in the Riverside Market Task Force and Franklin Avenue Planning process, and my office. My staff and I have helped shepherd this incredibly important redevelopment through City regulatory processes on topics such as the location of the alley, parking on Franklin, and getting the City's matching funds for the Seward-themed bike racks out front. It's extremely gratifying to see everyone's hard work pay off.



I'm also excited that such an improved amenity has brought life back to this signficant meeting or two improtant commercial corridors: Riverside Ave. and Franklin Ave. Now be located in the heart of Seward, the Coop has increased its hours from 9am-9pm daily to 8am-10pm daily. The new deli is four times as big as in the previous store. The second floor will offer community and educational space. The east side of the building will feature some great outdoor patio seating for warmer weather.



Lastly, it's wonderful to see such a community-owned, cooperatively run, green building open up in the Ward. The project manager believes the new store is on track to be certified LEED Gold. The new bike racks along Franklin will put sustainable transportation front and center, while tying the store in with the rest of the neighborhood (other businesses will start installing the same style of rack later this spring).



All in all, it's a great project that will be fantastic for the neighborhood and the entire City. I'm grateful for having been given the opportunity to help and congratulate all those who put so much time and effort into making this happen.

Like Dan Nordley said in his outstanding comments at the opening, "cooperation works."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Proposed Xcel Substations and Powerline

Xcel Energy is proposing to build two new substations in South Minneapolis, one near Hiawatha Avenue and another near I-35W, connected by high voltage transmission lines.

They are in the process of receiving information, input, and comments from the community, and have held four open houses in the neighborhood.

I attended one of the open houses and there are two upcoming meetings that I wanted to let people know about, including another open house.

1. The Phillips Community Energy Cooperative (PCEC) would like to invite its members and friends to a community meeting about the project on Monday, January 12th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the 3rd floor of Plaza Verde, 1516 East Lake Street.

2. January 15th: Xcel Energy Open House Meetings 12:00 - 2:00 PM & 5:00 - 7:00 PM, 1516 E. Lake St. (Plaza Verde, 3rd floor). Xcel hosts open house meetings to provide you with information about the proposed Hiawatha Project and to give you an opportunity to share your views. This is also a good palce to ask questions.

Here's more of what the Phillips Community Energy Cooperative said in a recently release press release about the meeting on the 12th.

"Our goal is to bring together many individuals, organizations and neighborhood groups to facilitate a discussion considering this project and impacts. Many groups and individual citizens have not yet weighed in on the subject – mostly because they do not have the information needed to make an informed decision. The meeting on January 12th is intended to be a venue for open discussion, as well as an opportunity for the community to inform the decision-making process around this project.

We invite all to attend and be open to think about this project not from a pro or con perspective, but rather as an opportunity to be proactive about energy use in the neighborhood. We can work to continue conservation efforts in the community and help create a clean, green Phillips. Please join us on Monday, January 12th to be a part of this process and conversation. Free childcare as well as Spanish and Somali interpretation will be provided."


For More Information about the meeting contact: jeagles@phillipsenergycoop.com or call: 612-278-7120

While the Public Utilities Commission is the final authority regarding the line and the substations, I am pushing to require that the transmission lines be buried and also working to ensure that any substations that the PUC approves to be built are built in areas that will have the least negative impact as possible on any current housing or small businesses.