The front page of the Star Tribune local section rang out with the new Minneapolis Police Chief promising "integrity and transparency" for the largest local law enforcement agency in the state. The agency which has a history of lawsuits, complaints, and in many instances not wanting to comply with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
So a set of questions I would like to ask the new Chief:
Are you familiar with the basics and nuances of the Data Practices Act as it applies to a law enforcement agency?
Explain to the public what transparency means to you?
Do you support collecting information on innocent law abiding Americans?
Can you define what the relationship between you and the Minneapolis Police Union should be?
Transparency is a buzz word which many administrators and politicians promise, but do not implement. Take for example, President Obama. Many times it is only an agencies interest to be transparent at their choosing or when they are in trouble.
I have been aware many times when data is clearly public and law enforcement agencies refuses to release it. They want to fight about releasing it because it may embarrass the agency or administration, but will release public data faster than the speed of light to show the positive things they do.
The Strib story also indicated the Chief is "reviewing every police unit and function " and wants to do more training. Two suggestions:
An extensive review regarding the process and procedures as to how the public gains data from the Minneapolis Police Department through the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
Make sure when Minneapolis Police use the many databases the cops have access to, they follow the law. What will the training for that and the enforcement be?
I hope for the best to the new Chief and more than likely if we have not met before, more than likely we will.