ROCHESTER, Minn. - Some substantial changes are in the works for Minnesota's criminal justice system after the state legislature passed a package on police accountability measures.
The proposal looks to govern how police are trained, how officers are held accountable for bad behavior and what happens when they use deadly force.
One of the most notable changes deals with a ban on neck restraints. The measure comes after a similar tactic was used on George Floyd before his death in Minneapolis.
Other provisions include outlawing warrior training that lawmakers say dehumanizes people, enhanced reporting around use-of-force incidents and creating an independent unit to investigate fatal police encounters at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Mayor Kim Norton says Rochester's community run Police Policy Oversight Committee has already been focusing on those exact changes for the past couple of months.
She explained, "It's the direction we were already moving already, and certainly we moved a little bit faster because of George Floyd's death, but the legislature's recommendations we are for the most part are already ahead of the game on those."
Norton says there are some new requirements the department is looking into such as police training to better serve those with autism.
The proposal is now on its way to Gov. Tim Walz after being passed by the legislature early Tuesday morning.
The Rochester Police Department issued the following statement on the reform bill:
"As the Rochester Police Department (RPD) begins to read through the Police Reform Bill that was passed late last night, we are pleased to report that we are already in compliance with the majority of reforms outlined in the bill. When Chief Jim Franklin began as Chief of Police two years ago, he pledged to lead RPD to become the premier law enforcement agency in the state."
"This included a strong focus and belief in 21st century police leadership. He implemented changes to our training program to include crisis intervention training, emphasizing de-escalation training in our yearly use of force training, implicit bias training, fair and impartial policing and cultural awareness training. Chief Franklin also partnered with local medical organizations to provide functional fitness training and piloted mental health psychological check-ins for officers."
"After the tragic death of George Floyd, Chief Franklin changed RPD's policy on choke holds (carotid restraint) to use in deadly force only situations and made the duty to intervene a stand-alone policy. As an organization, RPD continues to work with our appointed committee/commission and community to continue to provide the highest level of public safety and service in Rochester, MN."