It has been my honor to work side-by-side with law enforcement in Shakopee during my first term as State Representative and as the Mayor of Shakopee.
Together, we have passed bills aiding law enforcement across the State to fund bullet-proof vests (HF1490), keep County Sheriffs, Corrections Officers, and inmates safer (HF733), funded the State Trooper Academy, worked in opposition to the Executive Branch to get better pay for our State Troopers, and worked with Metro Transit Police to improve safety on our transit system.
I was proud to receive the endorsement of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) as a result of this work. In all of my time in public service from Mayor of Shakopee, to civic groups, to State Representative; I have been a staunch supporter of our local law enforcement. Anyone who knows me in our district knows that.
Unfortunately yesterday — in an era of politics where compromise and collaboration are bad words; where civility and kindness are considered weak; and where rhetoric and outrage win the news cycle — the MPPOA has made the unfortunate decision to rescind DFL House member endorsements.
This is extremely sad and frustrating.
It is frustrating that the MPPOA would cave to the political pressure that is forcing people to take sides and run to their corners. It is sad to me that they are indicating that working together to solve the big problems we have in Minnesota is no longer valued.
Minnesota is often ranked as one of the best places to raise families in the nation while simultaneously being one of the worst for families of color. Black men have been murdered by law enforcement time and time again on our streets throughout Minnesota with few – if any – repercussions. Having these conversations about race and police accountability is very difficult but also critical for the future of all Minnesotans.
Our current system of public safety is broken.
We all know we have incredible police officers and law enforcement — but we ask too much of them. A cop can’t physically or mentally be able to respond in rapid succession to a rape, a mental health incident, and a kid stealing candy. It isn’t ok. We need to rethink how we approach public safety so the right people are responding to the right situations and we don’t put all responsibility and accountability on the backs of our cops and sheriffs.
During the hearings after George Floyd’s murder, I talked with dozens and dozens of cops who work across the metro and live here in Shakopee. We all want the same thing. We want good cops doing good work for our communities. It is a simple thing without simple solutions.
Finding these solutions will require compromise, collaboration, and change. It will require funding, training, and equipment. It will require compassion, understanding, and grace. I am proud to have proven myself as an effective leader in the realm of law enforcement for the safety of all Shakopee and Minnesota residents — no matter their skin color and no matter the endorsement of the MPPOA.
I am proud to stand together with Minnesota’s people of color and law enforcement as we work to tackle the problems facing our state.