Skip to Main Content
This link open a new window

Request for Committee Action

A briefing memo explaining the purpose, background, and impact of the requested action.
Contract with New York University through the NYU School of Law's Reimagining Public Safety Policing Project for implementation of the Safe and Thriving Communities Report (RCA-2023-01150)

ORIGINATING DEPARTMENT
Finance & Property Services and Performance Management & Innovation
To Committee(s)
# Committee Name Meeting Date
1 Policy & Government Oversight Committee Nov 13, 2023
Lead Staff:
Pam Fernandez
Presented By:
Kira Hasbargen
Action Item(s)
# File Type Subcategory Item Description
1 Action Contract/Agreement

Authorizing a contract with New York University (NYU) through the NYU School of Law's Reimagining Public Safety Policing Project, in the amount of $1,000,000, for a two-year term effective Dec 1, 2023, to Nov 30, 2025, for implementation of the Safe and Thriving Communities Report.

Ward / Neighborhood / Address
# Ward Neighborhood Address
1. All Wards
Background Analysis

The agreement is being requested to implement the initial phase of the Safe and Thriving Communities Report (“Report”), which provides a blueprint for a new public safety model. Urgent circumstances during 2020 prompted the work of developing the Report to be awarded without an RFP process. This proposed agreement would continue the collaboration with a co-author of the report, who the Department states is a single source for the implementation work. The new contract will be for two(2) years, from December 1, 2023 to November 30, 2025.

Staff has received approval from PRC to enter into a single source contract to begin the implementation of the Safe and Thriving Communities Report and seek Council approval to enter into a contract with New York University School of Law’s Reimagining Public Safety Policing Project.

Part of the enterprise’s ongoing work to integrate and unify safety functions in the City and support unarmed public safety responses, staff leveraged their expertise and networks to identify a credible partner who could support the assessment and co-design of alternative public safety responses. Knowing the significant time and energy both the Policing Project and Dr. Oftelie’s team put into evaluating public safety systems generally and Minneapolis’ specifically, they were immediately identified as likely the only organizations that could work with the City on this topic without months of additional background work.

Informational meetings were completed to understand the readiness of The Policing Project and alignment with the City’s approach. In discussing the City’s direction with the Policing Project and Dr. Oftelie, the conclusion was reached that the Policing Project, with support from Dr. Oftelie, was well-positioned to move the City’s Community Safety design and implementation work forward, using the Minneapolis Safe and Thriving Communities Report as its foundation. 

From that discussion, City leaders determined that the Policing Project (supported by Dr. Oftelie) was the only option that would not require significantly more time and funding to continue implementing the work identified by the City and the Minneapolis Safe and Thriving Communities Report. No alternatives were deemed acceptable because The Policing Project has constructed a team and a community of thought leaders and practitioners nationwide, coming together to collaboratively solve problems and share information about reimagining public safety. The Policing Project is uniquely positioned to support the realignment of public safety services in Minneapolis to address underlying community needs and reduce reliance on police for a range of issues that do not require or necessarily benefit from a law enforcement response in Minneapolis.

The Policing Project has been conducting in-depth, on-the-ground research on alternative response across the country, working with community members and municipal stakeholders—police officers and leadership, alternative responders, 911 operators, City Hall staff, and others. Going issue-by-issue, they have been producing guidance for cities that seek to redesign their first response systems. And, they have stood up a community of practice with practitioners across the country to share information and foster cross-jurisdictional collaboration. The Policing Project is designed to support strong, healthy, and safe communities, and end an overreliance on police. They are engaged in an expansive effort to learn about and support jurisdictions redesigning public safety systems. They have been learning across several cities – Denver, San Francisco, Tucson, and Chicago – and leading a national effort to design new systems.

The Policing Project has constructed a team and a community of thought leaders and practitioners nationwide, and their work in Minneapolis will include the engagement of the Safe and Thriving Communities report co-author Dr. Oftelie to come together to collaboratively solve problems and share information about reimagining public safety. The Policing Project is uniquely positioned to support the realignment of public safety services in Minneapolis to address underlying community needs and reduce reliance on police for a range of issues that do not require or necessarily benefit from a law enforcement response.

This single source contract continues the collaboration with a report co-author of the report and begins the critical work forward.

The Policing Project would:

  • Engage Dr. Antonio Oftelie, who co-authored the Safe and Thriving Communities Report. Dr. Oftelie has been researching best practices and innovations involving policing and health and human services, documenting promising cross-disciplinary collaboration, and developing recommendations for an ecosystem-based model that will align organizations and services around common outcome goals. As one of the report’s authors, Dr. Oftelie will bring his unique understanding garnered by his experience which included interviews of many government partners and community organizations. His connection to the report and credibility cannot be provided by anyone else.
  • Perform an analysis of the City’s service continuum to 1) determine what assets the City has that can be leveraged or expanded, and 2) identify resource gaps the City must address in order to both scale existing initiatives and develop new programs to implement the ecosystem articulated by the Report. This would include an analysis of calls for service to identify opportunities for expansion of alternative (non-police) responses.
  • Serve as a Subject Matter Expert and Advisor to the City in the area of alternative (non-police) response data analysis, outcomes measurement, and visualization, as the City pursues its public safety data analytics and information systems workstreams. This would include advising on the build-out of comprehensive performance metrics including a public-facing dashboard to promote accountability and transparency, as well as internal performance management metrics.

The Safe and Thriving Communities Report outlines a long-term vision for the future, and recommendations for continuing to build out an ecosystem for safety beyond policing. The Policing Project and their collaboration with Dr. Antonio Oftelie will enable the City to begin an integrated, coordinated, and comprehensive approach to safety that will help guide the City’s work well into the future. This collaborative work will support the development of an integrated performance management infrastructure and community engagement strategy that contribute to the outcomes outlined for Performance Management & Innovation in the Safe and Thriving Communities Report and “Committee of the Whole meeting for October 31, 2023” memorandum that shared with city leadership. With a focus on asset assessment and program evaluation across the continuum of preventative, responsive and restorative services, the Policing Project’s recommendations will also contribute to the development of the spectrum of community safety services that could be provided at the Community Safety Center to meet the unique needs of residents across the city.

Enterprise Review
  • Approved by the Permanent Review Committee
  • Meets the City’s Equity and Inclusion goals for contracts over $100,000.