“We just want to encourage people to recognize law enforcement officers for all that they do.”

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As leaders in Minneapolis push to defund the city’s police department, a Minnesota congressman is encouraging people to recognize and appreciate police officers.

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-6th District) announced Wednesday that he’s launching an initiative to thank law enforcement officers in Minnesota.

“The goal here is simple: while the public debates issues of police reform, we all need to take a step back and realize what our peace officers do for all of us and our communities every single day,” he said, in a statement.

The congressman explained that since the death of George Floyd, police in Minnesota are currently suffering low morale and recruitment difficulties. Meanwhile, violent crime has spiked in the Twin Cities.

Floyd, a Black man, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay on the ground, pleading for help. The officer, Derek Chauvin, is facing murder charges.

Cellphone video of the fatal arrest sparked protests and riots, as well as calls for major police reform. In Minnesota, a package of police reform bills passed last month during a special session. Among the changes were a ban on chokeholds and a requirement for officers to intervene when they see a fellow officer acting inappropriately.

RELATED: Minneapolis Charter Commission To Take Up Proposal To Disband Police

In response to Floyd’s death and calls for racial justice, the Minneapolis City Council is pushing to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new department of public safety. On Wednesday, a city commission will take up a proposal to amend the city’s charter — the first step in dismantling the police department.

Amid such events, Emmer says it’s more important now than ever to show gratitude to law enforcement.

“Everyone knows a law enforcement officer, and they come from all different backgrounds and beliefs,” he said. “We just want to encourage people to recognize law enforcement officers for all that they do.”

Emmer’s initiate, #ThankACop, will highlight individual officers from across Minnesota on a weekly basis, showcasing their accomplishments and how they serve residents.

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