Senator Chamberlain, Minnesota Senate establish LEO Account to ensure Minnesota law enforcement has resources to keep public safe

The Minnesota Senate on Monday passed legislation funding the Law Enforcement Operations Account (LEO), securing resources for emergency law enforcement operations tied to extraordinary and unplanned emergency events. The resources can be accessed by state and local law enforcement following an emergency declaration or when the Minnesota State Patrol requests assistance for state properties, particularly the Minnesota Capitol. 

“Nobody wants a repeat of last summer’s riots,” said Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes). “Minneapolis took the right steps by committing $6.5 million for more police officers, but with the Chauvin trial beginning today, it is very possible they will have an immediate need for more assistance. This funding will give them the resources they need to keep the public safe.”

The Law Enforcement Operations Account will be funded with a $20 million appropriation from the General Fund. Applications for the funds can then be made by both tribal or local entities and are not exclusively limited to law enforcement.  Fire services, emergency medical services, and other governmental operations can also apply for funding for their needs.  Eligible costs include mutual aid, overtime, food, lodging, damaged or destroyed equipment, and emergency management costs. Jurisdictions experiencing the emergency qualify for reimbursement up to 75% of their expenses, and assisting jurisdictions can receive the full 100%.  

Applicants have 90 days following the event to request funds. All applications will be reviewed by a five-member reimbursement panel consisting of the Commissioner of Public Safety, two sheriffs, and two police chiefs, who will evaluate the requests and make binding recommendations for reimbursement from the account.  

Additionally, the legislation excludes riot costs from the Disaster Assistance Contingency Account. Over the past year, Governor Walz spent 70% of the account to provide Hennepin County $11.7 million to help rebuild public infrastructure, undermining the spirit of the fund. Under the reform, the account would be only eligible for natural disasters and some human-made disasters like dam or bridge failure.