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:

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

State Investigates and Suspends DRE Program

As you can read here, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has launched a criminal investigation into the allegations that police officers participating in the Drug Recognition Evaluator program gave drugs to Minneapolis residents.  This investigation was sparked by the allegations made on the Occupy video.  In particular, an officer from Hutchinson, MN is under investigation for giving drugs to DRE subjects.

Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman has also suspended the DRE program until the investigation is complete.

This is a very big deal.  I look forward to getting more information from this investigation, but it clearly indicates to me that the allegations made in the Occupy video were legitimate (and not, as some have asserted, some sort of left-wing conspiracy to make the police look bad). I commend these individuals for having the courage to come forward and testify at a City Council Public Hearing.  I also applaud the Public Safety Commissioner for being willing to suspend this program until the investigation is complete.  From my perspective, at this point the program has zero credibility.

It appears that at least one officer who witnessed came forward with information, and I also highly commend him or her.  It is not easy for police officers to 'inform' on each other, in my experience.

All this said: even once the investigation is complete and even if the program is been changed to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again, I do not believe that it should operate in Minneapolis.  Minneapolis police do not participate in this program, so it has no real benefit to our city.  I'd prefer that the program be permanently ended, but if this type of program is to exist I think it should be run by a public health institution or an accredited college or  university. At least we should demand that if police or sheriffs from out state Minnesota want to see what drug use looks like they do it outside Minneapolis and not involve any the residents or visitors in Minneapolis.


At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Michelle Gross, CUAPB said...

Cam, thank you for your blog. However, it is not true that Minneapolis police are uninvolved in DRE. In fact, a number of MPD officers are trained as DREs and there are a number of references to the program in the MPD policy and procedure manual. Beyond that, though, there is significant evidence that they were at least aware of the activities of out-state law enforcement officers as MPD squads and officers were present when DRE trainees solicited and picked up people from Peavey Plaza. Moreover, a number of people who were offered drugs stated that they were asked for information on Occupy MN. Why would a Sheriff's Deputy from Kanabec county of a cop from Hutchinson care about Occupy MN. It's clear to me that they were acting on behalf of the MPD when they attempted to recruit snitches.


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