The GOP’s approach will bring neither security nor justice

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All Minnesotans deserve to be safe, no matter where they live or what they look like.

Minnesotans also deserve to know that the Republican Senate Public Safety Proposal is an assortment of the same old, ineffective, poll-tested policies dressed for a new election (“Tough on crime proposition advances,” April 26). I fear that, if passed, this bill will put Minnesota on a path to become more like Mississippi: a state with high crime rates and outcomes that are more punitive, more racially inequitable, but less effective in public safety and criminal justice.

As someone who has been personally affected by gun violence, I consider the fight against crime to be too important and too personal to be political and not speak out against a set of policy proposals that simply duplicate the stupid policies of the past. .

Unfortunately, Senate Public Safety Chairman Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, does not share this philosophy and has instead chosen to ignore what works at the expense of scoring political points.

The GOP Senate’s primary solution to rising crime is not meaningful policy improvements or additional law enforcement resources, but rather giving tens of millions of dollars in direct payouts to officers. current and potential law enforcement officers. This approach ignores the immediacy of the problem.

It is essential that we recognize that while these recruitment and retention efforts are admirable, they are not timely and should not be sold as an ultimate cure for crime. Funding our current cops will continue to produce current results, and funding potential cops will not magically materialize additional qualified cadets over the next year.

To be clear, investments in law enforcement would be less of a concern if they weren’t at the expense of real public safety solutions. St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson said it best during a Senate hearing earlier this year: “This is not something we’re going to be able to hire or arrest to get away with. ” He advocated a significant ongoing investment in the type of violence prevention work he uses at Saint-Cloud.

Unfortunately, this fell on deaf ears, as the Senate instead chose to avoid making major investments in victim support, addictions and mental health services that have been proven to help. to increase law enforcement capacity by preventing and responding to crimes that law enforcement would otherwise have. have to address.

The house DFLers, however, were listening.

We heard from Chief Anderson, nationally renowned Princeton sociology professor Patrick Sharkey, community violence prevention professionals, victim advocates, mayors, county commissioners, and countless people personally affected by the rising crime across the state. We heard from people in rural communities who struggle to access treatment centers for opioid addiction, from statewide domestic violence advocates who face growing victimization and a lack of funding created by the Trump administration’s failure to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act and Mental Health Crisis Response Team suburban facilitators struggle to find space in their budgets to continue their impactful services.

They all make the same request: please provide ongoing funding to local communities to continue and expand this work of transforming public safety. We responded by placing their recommendations in the House Public Safety Finance Bill.

The package is investing $200 million in proven, transformative and innovative solutions to help Minnesota address some of the biggest challenges in keeping communities safe. Unlike the Senate’s approach, this bill is not designed to craft political slogans for political gain while dividing our state along regional and racial lines. Instead, it’s designed to fend off crime by arming law enforcement with additional investigators, analysts, state assistance from prosecutors, mental health crisis response personnel , probation supervision, victim services, embedded social workers, juvenile diversion programs, drug treatment facilities, equipment and much more. After.

House Democrats have repeatedly invested more resources in law enforcement and offered more solutions to promote law enforcement best practices than the Senate GOP. We’ve done both, year after year, to demonstrate how seriously we take not playing politics with public safety.

It’s time for Senate Republicans to stop trying to make Minnesota look like Mississippi. It’s time we come together to embrace real and innovative public safety solutions.

Cedrick Frazier, DFL-New Hope, is a member of the Minnesota House.

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