On April 22, State Representative Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) voted no on the House DFL's public safety proposal.
“The bill undercuts the authority of our law enforcement agencies at a time when we need their services more than ever,” Torkelson said. "I hope that the bill comes back from conference committee with provisions I can support with a yes vote."
Torkelson also noted the legislation was opposed by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA), the Minnesota Sheriffs Association (MSA), and the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.
Torkelson said the bill includes language to let criminal go free. It allows the Department of Corrections to reduce sentences for incarceration and supervised release – even for heinous crimes, in effect allowing criminals to go free before they’ve finished their court-ordered sentence.
There’s also language that could put activists in charge of law enforcement agencies. It allows governing bodies that oversee a law enforcement agency to create a citizen oversight council, which could have broad powers over the agency and its peace officers with no requirement that members to have adequate knowledge of law enforcement procedures.
Torkelson said it even includes a provision to hide criminal offenders’ sentences from the public, including from their victims.
“Everyone wants to feel safe in their city, and our police officers need support to carry out that mission,” Torkelson said. “In order for that to happen, we need collaboration with police, not hostility towards them. Remember, without law enforcement, public safety cannot exist.”