MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A vote to change policing in Minneapolis divided a community.

On last week’s ballot, Question 2 was about changing the Minneapolis Police Department into a Department of Public Safety.

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It failed — 56% to 44%.

On Thursday, WCCO was there when both sides of this divisive issue sat down for the first time.

After a long, hard-fought battle over policing in the city of Minneapolis, community leaders, activists, and faith leaders gathered to plot a course forward.

“We take this work seriously, this is not political,” said The Rev. Ian Bethel.

The Unity in Community Mediation Team began re-vamping its document that promotes trust and respect between communities and the police department the day after George Floyd was killed.

It presented 70 new action items to Chief Medaria Arradondo and the Police Federation, but now more may be added with new voices at the table.

“Everyone is accepted at this table, and let’s do it together,” Bethel said.

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Attorney General Keith Ellison, Minister Janea Bates and council member Jeremiah Ellison supported Question 2 and a new Department of Public Safety. They admit it’s time to put away differences.

“All of the people in our city come together and talk about how we can all jointly, in partnership, enhance safety for everyone,” Ellison said.

“We want to join together today no matter how the Question 2 shakes out, we need transformative change,” said Minneapolis City Councilman Jeremiah Ellison. “We cannot have another George Floyd in our city. We have to end this gun violence crisis, we’ve got to move together in this work.”

The Young People’s Task force is taking the lead with the talks.

“The point of this meeting was to heal our city, the point of this meeting was to tell everybody on both sides whether it was vote yes or vote no to now start to re-invest back into our young,” said AJ Flowers, co-chair of the Young People’s Task Force.

The attorney general presented additions to the plan that he believes will help all voices concerned about public safety be heard.

“We are going to forge an agreement for law enforcement but also accountability for our community that our young people’s task force is leading us on that can be perpetual despite who is elected as council person, mayor, or who is the chief,” Bethel said.

The Unity in Community Mediation Team believes both sides want the same thing: respect for the sanctity of life, transformation, reform, transparency and consequences for both police and the community.

More meetings are planned.

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Reg Chapman