The PCOC held its monthly meeting on June 14, 2016. Highlights included discussions about the city’s body camera policy, officer liability insurance, and committee updates and case review.
Chief Harteau addressed the Commission to explain the changes made to the second draft of the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) body camera policy. Changes have been made in response to Commission and community concerns. The changes include: the addition of explicit language regarding officer discipline for those who fail to comply with the policy; a stated purpose to use body cameras to promote transparency and community trust; a requirement for officers to document reasons for failing to activate their body camera when required; and mandated periodic supervisor review of officers’ body camera video.
Commissioners expressed their desire for better communication and increased collaboration between the Commission and the Police Chief. The Chief expressed a commitment to improve that communication, stating with a recently established monthly meeting with Chair Brown and Commissioner Singleton. The Chief expressed interest in involvement with the Commission’s community outreach work.
Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUABP) spoke to the Commission about requiring MPD officers to purchase liability insurance as a condition of employment. CUABP president Michelle Gross explained that such insurance would cover officer lawsuits alleging misconduct. Insurance premiums would increase each time the insurance company had to pay a settlement. CUABP advocates that the city pay the insurance base rate while officers pay the premiums. The potential of increased premiums serves as a deterrent and direct consequence for egregious behavior. Officers with multiple settlements would ultimately become uninsurable and unemployable with the force. According to CUABP, this is an ideal outcome.
This is a measure the group has been working towards for years. They have obtained the requisite number of signatures to place the measure on the ballot for during the next election. The city is currently going through the signature verification process. Once verified, the City Council is vested with the decision as to whether the measure will be placed on the ballot. CUABP requested the Commission investigate the insurance topic and discuss their findings at the next PCOC monthly meeting.
Following the presentations, Commissioners gave Committee reports. Both the Outreach Committee and the Policy and Procedure Committee reports can be found here and here respectively. Commissioner Buss discussed the newly established Audit Committee, whose first meeting took place on June 7, 2016. The Committee will have a role in establishing the foundation for future Commission research and studies. Subsequently, the Committee will function in a project-specific way necessitating meetings only four times a year. However, until the Committee is fully established it will meet on the first Tuesday of every
The conclusion of the commission meeting entailed review of May’s case summaries and case synopses which will be converted to case summaries for June’s meeting. Commissioners chose cases 7, 9, 10 from the synopses for that conversion.
The next commission meeting is scheduled for July 11, 2016.