When Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd in May 2020, the nearby city of Brooklyn Park began urgent work, including convening listening sessions and tasking city commissions with creating a work plan to improve the Brooklyn Park Police Department.
In December 2020, the City of Brooklyn Park hired Wilder Research to uncover the root causes of violence in Brooklyn Park, understand community perceptions of the Brooklyn Park Police Department, create research-driven recommendations to improve community safety, and develop a tool to assess and improve the Brooklyn Park Police Department’s performance. Wilder Research reviewed existing research on community safety and policing, analyzed Brooklyn Park specific community survey data related to the root causes of violence, and conducted interviews with residents and employees of Brooklyn Park.
- There are risks of violence when people are not economically secure or connected to their community.
- There are disparities in Brooklyn Park that likely contribute to violence and disorder.
- Improving traditional policing may not improve safety.
- Brooklyn Park Police Department policies and interviewee themes support that procedural justice is a key strength; even so, some BPPD policies and Minnesota laws conflict with best practices.
- Focus on prevention. To improve safety, the city should address inequities, and ensure that the social conditions where safety thrives are equally distributed across races and places in Brooklyn Park.
- Improve interventions. The city should explore using community-based mental health and substance use responses, school-based safety workers, and other efforts to reimagine police responsibilities. The city should also partner with community stakeholders to expand focused deterrence initiatives, and interventions including treatment and restorative justice.
- Assess BPPD for improvements. We developed a scorecard to measure BPPD performance. We recommend the city, BPPD, and community members impacted by systemic marginalization and police contact partner to assess and recommend changes to BPPD.