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Minneapolis officials announce plans to speed release of some police information

25 February 2022

Five Minneapolis employees will move from the city’s Police Department to the clerk’s office as part of an effort to speed up the release of some information about police, officials announced on Friday.

“Our Police Department gets more data practices requests than all of the other departments combined,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a news conference. “So this gives us the ability to centralize the work, hopefully improve transparency, as well as responsiveness.”

The city said it typically receives about 150 requests per day from people seeking police information, ranging from accident reports to statistics to video, case files, or emails. Officials said they receive about 50 requests per week for all other city departments.

The change comes at a time when Frey is facing renewed demands to overhaul the department and improve transparency following the police killing of Amir Locke. It expands upon a move made in the summer of 2020, when city officials moved two employees from the Police Department’s Records and Information Unit to the clerk’s offices amid public outcries for more transparency following George Floyd’s murder.

City Clerk Casey Carl said the move in 2020 allowed the clerk’s office to take over responsibility for reviewing and redacting police information, but still left the records unit in MPD responsible for gathering documents and releasing the information after it was reviewed.

The latest change, Carl said, will mean 10 full time employees are available to review requests from all city departments. He said he hopes the move will allow them to create a more uniform process for prioritizing requests and eventually speed up the release police-related requests, some of which have taken months to process.

Frey said work on the transition is beginning immediately. To make the change permanent, he would need the City Council to approve of it in future budgeting processes. City Council Vice President Linea Palmisano, who appeared alongside him at the news conference, said she fully supports the change and many of her colleagues have said they do as well.

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