Minneapolis mayor: Private fund will transform public safety

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and local business owners announced plans Thursday to create a private fund for new programs designed to change public safety.

There have been numerous calls to transform the Minneapolis Police Department since the May 25 death of George Floyd.

Frey said the fund, called the Minneapolis Community Safety Innovation Fund, is a way for the city to make changes without cutting the police force, the Star Tribune reported.

Jonathan Weinhagen, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, said private organizations committed roughly $5 million to the project so far. The funds will be managed by the Minneapolis Foundation.

Frey's roughly $1.5 billion budget includes about $179 million for the police department, plus additional funding for violence prevention and housing programs. But three City Council members are proposing to cut nearly $8 million from the department and funnel the money toward violence prevention, mental health crisis teams, and other ways to respond to some calls currently handled by police.

Frey said he believes those proposals require detailed operational plans before they get started, and the city shouldn't cut its police force any more in order to achieve those goals.

He said the new fund allows the city to do its homework on new changes.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the budget next week.