MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jacob Frey will remain mayor of Minneapolis after his re-election on Wednesday, but in his next term he will work with a city council made up of seven new members, a shake-up at City Hall he hopes will help move his public safety vision forward.
“This election marks a true turning point for our city,” Frey said after city officials tabulated ranked choice votes. “It marks a turning point where we all put aside the politics and we unite around a common vision.”READ MORE: Minneapolis Election: Jacob Frey Re-Elected As Mayor
Voters rejected the charter amendment proposal that would’ve replaced the Minneapolis Police Department with a new public safety department that supporters said would bring a public health approach. Frey, who was opposed to the change, has long vouched for a “both end” approach that would reform policing, while keeping police.
On Wednesday, he reiterated his vision to hire more community-oriented officers, invest more in public safety programs and services beyond policing, and integrating all public safety work—including police, and social and mental health services.
But when asked if that would be under one department, like a department of public safety proposed in the ballot question, he declined to answer.
“I didn’t think that was workable, and clearly the majority of our city agreed, but now it’s an opportunity, yes, to integrate the approach,” Frey said. “I don’t want to prescribe exactly what it will look like yet, but we’re gonna be rolling out in conjunction with a whole lot of people in the coming weeks and months.”
The city council after Tuesday night’s election will see seven new members, though not all of them share Frey’s views on the police question and how to reform public safety. Four incumbents who supported the amendment were voted out, but others who supported it held on.READ MORE: Minneapolis City Council President Files Ethics Complaint Following Police Chief's Press Conference On Public Safety Ballot Question
With a few of his critics no longer in City Hall after this year, the mayor expressed optimism that he and the council can work together on implementing changes in the city where George Floyd was murdered last summer, touching off national protests and demands for more police accountability.
“Moving forward, I believe that there will be a collaborative approach where we’re actually working together,” Frey said of the new council members. “Anyone that is willing to work with us even where they disagree, we are willing to do so in good faith, and good faith being the important.”
Yes 4 Minneapolis, the coalition which put forward the charter amendment aiming to replace the police department, said in a statement that it was disappointed in the results, but now it is committed holding leaders and the system accountable.
“We changed the conversation about what public safety should look like. We showed the country and the world the power of democracy and the power of the people,” said Corenia Smith, campaign manager for Yes 4 Minneapolis. “We will work to heal our city and create safer streets for all our communities.”
Lisa Bender, the city council president who didn’t seek re-election this year, has been sharply critical of Frey and called on residents to keep the mayor to his promise of reforming the police department.
“It is important that the Minneapolis community get clear: the Mayor of Minneapolis has always had and will retain complete control over the Minneapolis Police Department,” she said. “The people of Minneapolis should hold the Mayor accountable to that power and responsibility.”MORE NEWS: Mayor Frey Faces Minneapolis Voters With Future Of Policing At Top Of Mind
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