by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Hats off to Politico for reporting that Biden campaign pollster Celinda Lake is working for “Yes 4 Minneapolis,” the group pushing to pass Minneapolis’ November ballot amendment that would, in essence, defund the police department. According to Politico’s West Wing Playbook:
If voters pass the amendment this November, it would eliminate rules that require certain percentages of the city budget go to policing and require a minimum number of police officers. It would then create a new public safety department that includes police “if necessary.” The goal is to shift the city’s response to crime away from police and towards social services. The language in the amendment says the new agency would employ a “comprehensive public health approach.”
In other words, the public would be less protected from predators and crooks. Scary. Those opposed to this misguided plan include Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. Cramer writes at startribune.com:
No safety — Add it all up and a vote for the Yes 4 Minneapolis amendment would make Minneapolis less safe. We can’t successfully build MPD into the department our chief envisions with him gone. Reform efforts will be stalled by creating a bureaucracy from scratch with no guiding plan, and too many people with conflicting views in charge.
If the amendment passes, the influence of those promoting it will be significant, and they don’t believe in policing at all. Minneapolis will become an outlier at a time when other major cities are finding their way to “both/and” — improving public safety for their citizens by insisting on transformational law enforcement while embracing complementary, non-policing approaches at the same time.
Is anyone going to ask President Biden about this? The president has said he doesn’t support defunding the police. I am curious to hear directly from Mr. Biden about his pollster’s work on behalf of doing just that. Perhaps he sees Lake’s work as strictly a business decision unconnected to him. Perhaps it makes him uncomfortable. We won’t know unless/until a reporter asks him. Interestingly, Politico also reports that another Biden pollster – John Anzalone – is working against the amendment. Interesting.
In case there’s any question about the connection between Lake and the president, below is a screenshot of Lake’s website, which says she “continues to serve as a pollster and senior advisor to President Biden, the national party committees, and dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers at all levels of the electoral process.” Translation: she’s mainstream Democratic party politics.
It’s fascinating politics.
As for the issue of policing and police reform, the Minneapolis amendment would do the opposite of what its supporters hope. How do we know? Look no further than the report issued recently by Locke’s Jon Guze, which shows that intensive community policing will go a long way toward making communities safer.
“There’s now a large body of evidence showing that increased police presence deters crime and that the benefits that accrue from increased police presence exceed the costs by a significant measure.”
Guze recommends a four-pronged plan to move forward with community policing:
Hire more police officers
Increase the pay for police officers
Arm police officers with state-of-the-art training, direction, and support
Deploy police officers as “peacekeepers” in communities that suffer most from crime and disorder
Jon explained the benefits of community policing in this recent Shaftesbury Society discussion. He begins by referencing the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020. WATCH.
Really want to help people? Then address crime. That requires more police.