Statement from League of Minnesota Cities & Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Regarding Law Enforcement Arbitration Reform

(June 18, 2020–St. Paul, MN) The League of Minnesota Cities and the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association have long sought changes that would help more effectively discipline or terminate law enforcement officers who violate policies and undermine the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system. The organizations are jointly issuing the following statement in response to recent state legislative activity:

“The League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) and the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA) strongly urge the Minnesota State Legislature to consider changes to the current Minnesota Public Employment Labor Relations Act (MPELRA) arbitration system in any further discussions or proposals that address police reform measures.

As it now stands, the arbitration system undermines the ability of elected and appointed officials – including police chiefs – to make lasting departmental disciplinary or termination decisions that protect residents and help to ensure a responsible public safety environment in their own communities. Without systemic changes, arbitrator opinions are allowed to override the professional judgment of police supervisors when it comes to deciding what constitutes just cause and who ultimately is permitted to return to the streets as an officer. Consequently, rigorous police department accountability standards continue to be compromised at a time when they are needed more than ever.

LMC and MCPA believe that the current environment presents a timely opportunity for changing the culture of police agencies. We have provided several recommendations for arbitration reform measures that were outlined in recent letters sent to chairs of public safety committees in both the Minnesota House and Senate. We look forward to working with legislators in the closing days of the special session to accomplish significant, meaningful change based on those recommendations.”