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Minneapolis police would receive raises, $7,000 payments in new contract

The new contract would also require officers to undergo a mental health screening before returning to work following a "critical incident" — when they are seriously harmed or seriously harm or kill someone else — and includes some provisions related to discipline.

MINNEAPOLIS POLICE file.jpg
New police officers raise their hands to take an oath at a Minneapolis Police Academy graduation ceremony in July 2020 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
MPR News file photo
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis police would receive raises and $7,000 payments under a tentative contract agreement reached months after voters rejected a proposal to replace the department following George Floyd's murder.

The new contract would also require officers to undergo a mental health screening before returning to work following a "critical incident" — when they are seriously harmed or seriously harm or kill someone else — and includes some provisions related to discipline.

The city hasn't yet released a copy of the full agreement, only a summary of it. Additional details could be released Monday, when the City Council's Policy and Government Oversight Committee is set to discuss the matter.

The tentative agreement comes four months after voters rejected a proposal to replace the Police Department with a new public safety agency and ushered in a new City Council with wide-ranging views on police funding. The contract with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis has drawn increasing scrutiny in recent years, with activists encouraging elected officials not to simply rubber-stamp the agreements but to use them as a chance to push for needed changes.

The contract typically covers a wide range of issues, including salaries, work schedules and discipline. Police have been working under a contract that expired at the end of 2019. This latest agreement, if approved, would cover 2020 through 2022. A new negotiation would be needed for a contract covering 2023-2025.

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According to the summary, officers would receive a 1% raise to wages and longevity pay for 2020, a 1.5% raise for 2021, and a 2.5% increase for 2022 — the bulk of which would be paid out retroactively. It also includes a 2.5% "market adjustment" effective at the beginning of this year and an additional 1% adjustment beginning Dec. 31.

The new agreement also calls for "incentive" payments for both new and current officers. New hires would receive $3,500 after they complete field training and another $3,500 after they finish their probationary period. Current officers would receive $3,500 after the contract receives final approval and an additional $3,500 if they "remain on duty" until at least Dec. 31.

The full costs of those raises and payments weren't immediately available. The city's latest job postings have cadets starting at $21.46 per hour, while officers coming from other departments could receive between $31.45 and $40.74 per hour.

The financial incentives come nearly four months before a court deadline for Minneapolis officials to hire nearly 190 officers — or explain to a judge why they can't meet the minimum staffing requirements outlined in the charter, which serves as the city's constitution. The city has appealed that case and is awaiting a ruling.

Minneapolis has about 300 fewer officers than it did before Floyd's killing, with about 544 on staff, according to one recent count. Many left after filing PTSD claims, while some left for other departments claiming to offer more stability or higher pay.

Some residents welcomed the order to hire more police, saying they wanted additional officers to help amid a surge in homicides and other violent crimes. Others said they felt the city's money could be better spent on other programs, pointing to research that questions whether a higher number of officers guarantees a decrease in crime.

A note attached to the City Council agenda says Mayor Jacob Frey has reviewed the summary of the new contract "and recommends these terms for approval." Frey has frequently said in recent months that officers "need to be paid more and fired more."

The tentative agreement also gives the chief "increased authority" to determine where an officer should be stationed after a "critical incident," though the summary didn't specify how that authority was increasing. The summary also says the agreement includes "clarification of discipline language for personnel with rights to return to the bargaining unit," but didn't provide further details.

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The contract also needs approval from the council. Union President Sherral Schmidt did not respond to requests for comment.

Star Tribune staff writer Christina Saint Louis contributed to this report.

©2022 StarTribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Related Topics: MINNEAPOLISPOLICE
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