MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A meeting between community members and the Minneapolis Police Union is an effort to create a new beginning.

Since 2003, Members of the Unity Community Team have been working to reform the Minneapolis Police Department with the help of a federal mediator. Now, new leadership in the police union is giving the community new hope.

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“Our goal is to reform, “ said Rev. Ian Bethel, who has been working to reform MPD since 2003.

That year, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed with MPD, which vowed to protect the safety, human, civil, and legal rights of all Minneapolis residents.

“The federation was signatures on the original agreement and so we are here today to re-establish a relationship with the federation, “ Bethel said.

For the first time, the mediation team along with members of its Young People’s Task Force will sit down with members of Minneapolis Police Federation.

“With somebody new coming in I felt it was imperative for us to build a relationship to start with,” said AJ Flowers.

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AJ Flowers and Nicholas Martens are co-chairs of the Young People’s Task Force, who hope to work with the federation on police reform.

“It’s going to bring in recruitment, the traumas that people have felt in the past, it’s going to help transform that,” said Martens.

Union President Sherral Schmidt welcomes the conversation and chance to work with community.

“Bringing these two groups together will be a great thing for the community and for the police department and hopefully moving forward in what does Minneapolis look like in the next five, even the next year,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt says listening is the first step. It’s easy when all parties involved want the same thing: a safe city.

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“I think this will help us move forward and hopefully all get on the same page,” Schmidt said.

Reg Chapman