By Ankita Joshi
MINNESOTA – A new poll conducted by Change Research and commissioned by the ACLU finds that there is “overwhelmingly support” for re-examining public safety in Brooklyn Center and investing in alternative public safety mechanisms and structures.
The poll was conducted in response to the Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety Act, which was passed soon after the police killings of Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler in Brooklyn Center.
These results are in line with the change that residents all over the nation and in the Brooklyn Center have been championing for, especially during the protests in 2020.
The Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety Act works to integrate more new approaches to health and safety for the community, including re-examining public safety in Brooklyn Center and investing in alternative public safety mechanisms and structures.
This includes a named Community Response Department responding to all incidents where there is a medical, mental health, disability-related, or other behavioral or social need, an unarmed civilian Traffic Enforcement Department, a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, a permanent Community Safety and Violence Prevention Committee, regulations of the use of force by its armed law enforcement officers, and a Community Safety and Violence Prevention Implementation Committee.
All these resolutions tie back to “systemic, transformative change in the criminal legal system, including steps to divest from police departments and reinvest in the communities most harmed by police violence and over-policing” that residents in the Brooklyn Center have demanded.
Some of the poll’s main findings found that of the 312 adults surveyed in the Brooklyn Center:
- 62 percent of adults in Brooklyn Center think unfair treatment and violence by police against residents of Brooklyn Center is a very serious or somewhat serious problem.
- 86 percent of respondents think some degree of police reform is needed. 48 percent believe major reforms are needed.
- 60 percent of respondents support the resolution to reform police and public safety that just passed City Council.
- 58 percent of respondents support reallocating some portion of the budget from police towards alternative responses, like creating a community response department to send mental health experts to the scene of a crisis.
Policy advisors have also spoken out about the results of the poll, and what they mean for future policy measures.
“The only way to truly end police violence and killings like those of Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler is not through minor reforms and tinkering around the edges — it’s by shrinking the footprint of police so they don’t have the chance to kill community members in the first place,” said ACLU-MN policy associate Munira Mohamed.
“The best way to prevent harm caused by police is to fully fund alternatives that end the role of police being the first, last, and only resort in communities,” added Paige Fernandez, policing policy advisor for the ACLU.
Other nationwide polls, such as ones conducted by Data for Progress and Benenson Strategy Group have also shown similar results for more transformative justice measures.