Senate Republicans Agree to Police Reforms in Special Session

(ST. PAUL, MN) – Senate Republicans will pass an agreed upon set of police reforms.

Last special session, the Senate passed several bills to ban chokeholds, require a duty to intervene, report the use of excessive force by a fellow police officer, and require consideration of the sanctity of life before using force. The Senate also added community members to the POST board (Police Officer Standards and Training) and required the POST Board to create a uniform use of force policy for the state’s law enforcement agencies. To support peace officers, the Senate also included more training on crisis response and flexibility to seek help from a variety of resources.

“The bill we’ve agreed on this special session is based on common-sense reforms that Minnesotans, police officers, and community leaders can support,” said Senator Warren Limmer, chair of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. “Most of these reforms we already passed in the senate, and we worked with law enforcement to ensure these measures wouldn’t hinder their main role, which is to keep the public safe.

“Of course, we are not in any way going to defund or dismantle the police, but we are going to encourage communities and peace officers to work together to restore trust and build relationships among the community and law enforcement,” Limmer concluded.

The agreed upon legislation starts with 10 of the 11 provisions originally supported by the senate in the previous special session, and includes five additional major reforms to policing:

  • Ban the use of “warrior” style training
  • POST Board Membership Changes to create the Ensuring Police Excellence and improving Community Relations Advisory Council; adds a member from the public to the POST BOARD Complaint Investigation Committee
  • Create a POST board database of public, anonymized peace officer data
  • Authorizes local municipalities to provide residency incentives for peace officers to live in the communities they serve
  • Establishes an independent investigatory unit in the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension

Additionally, the bill extends the deadline for a report from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman taskforce.

“This bill reflects agreement, compromise, and puts the safety and well-being of Minnesotans first,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. “The Senate put forward common-sense reforms in June, and we ended with common-sense reforms in July. We have the support of law enforcement to adopt and enforce these changes. Most importantly, there is nothing in this bill to defund, dismantle, or otherwise impede the ability of police officers to do their jobs,” Gazelka said.