Yesterday the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that during the upcoming municipal elections, voters can now move to abolish the police department.
If approved, the move would replace the Minneapolis police department with a new Department of Public Safety.
The DPS would employ a “comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions” of public safety, according to the amendment, and “could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities.”
The bill would essentially strip the police chief and mayor of their authority over the agency, which would now be managed by a commissioner nominated by the city council.
The court overturned a finding by Hennepin County Judge Jamie L. Anderson, who had struck down the charter change on Tuesday.
The appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court was filed with a sense of urgency, as early voting for the November 2 Minneapolis municipal elections begins on Friday.
The challenge to the ballot item “does not meet the high standard” imposed in an earlier judgment, according to Chief Justice Lorie Gildea’s order. It concluded that the district court ruling mandated local election officials to “provide notice instructing voters not to vote on the ballot question, and enjoining local election officials from tallying, counting or in any way considering votes cast on the ballot question is reversed.”
It added: “So as not to impair the orderly process of voting, this order is issued with an opinion to follow on a later date.”