Minneapolis Police Ban Traffic Stops For ‘Low Level’ Traffic Offenses While Violent Crime Surges

Proactive policing is dying a slow death, and the citizens will be the ones who suffer.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arredondo on Thursday sent a memo to his department banning traffic stops for these offenses: expired tabs, an item dangling from a mirror, or not having a working license plate light.

Here’s what the memo said:

“MPD will no longer be conducting traffic stops solely for these offenses: expired tabs, an item dangling from a mirror, or not having a working license plate light.  The City Attorney’s Office will stop prosecuting tickets for driving after suspension when the only basis for the suspension was a failure to pay fines or fees and there was no accident or other egregious driving behavior that would impact public safety.”

“Traffic enforcement remains a key part in keeping our roadways and streets safe for those we serve. By prioritizing the more serious traffic violations and no longer conducting routine traffic stops on the lesser violations mentioned above where it’s the only offense, it will have minimal impact on current MPD traffic enforcement and can also help build trust with the communities we serve.”

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The ACLU and Mayor Jacob Frey praised the new policy in a local news report:

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted his support, “Our team has been working with community and the MPD on reforms to traffic enforcement. We will soon end stops solely for offenses like expired tabs or items dangling from a mirror. Another concrete change moving us in the right direction.”

You may remember Mayor Frey from when he attended BLM protests and was asked to leave by the rioters, or when he successfully defunded the Minneapolis Police Department.

From a Star Tribune report:

The Minneapolis Police Department began 2020 with a budget of about $193 million, an amount that was later reduced amid the coronavirus pandemic and a national debate on policing after Floyd’s killing.

As they settled on spending figures for the police in 2021, Frey and a divided City Council intensely debated whether police funding should be used to increase violence prevention and mental health programs.

They settled on a $164 million police budget for this year — with the caveat that police could access an additional $11 million in reserves if they received approval from the City Council. With that money since released, and American Rescue Plan funding infused, the Police Department now has about $180 million to spend this year.

Frey wants to add more money in 2022, giving the department a $191.9 million budget. His plan calls for adding five recruit and cadet classes in hopes of giving the department a monthly average staffing of 756 officers.

Frey and his anti-police crew defunded the MPD just to realize it was a massive mistake and then moved to restore the funding almost to the original levels. So why did they reverse course? Violent crime is skyrocketing in Minneapolis.

From an MPR News report:

Minnesota recorded 185 murders in 2020, up 58 percent from 117 in 2019. That broke the record of 183 set in 1995 when Minneapolis alone had a record 97 homicides. The report said 75 percent of the state’s murders last year were committed with guns, up from 69 percent in 2019. The homicide “clearance rate” was 65 percent of cases resulting in arrests, in line with 64 percent in 2019 but below the closure rates for 2016-18.

Other significant trends included a nearly 54 percent increase in arson to 710 fires after several years of declines. Motor vehicle thefts rose nearly 20 percent to 13,662, the most since 2005, amid a surge in carjackings. Bias crimes hit the highest number in 15 years, with 223 incidents reported, and 41 percent were motivated by bias against Black people. The value of property stolen jumped nearly 55 percent to $216 million, with big increases in thefts of food, grooming products, cash and vehicles.

Minneapolis City Attorney Jim Rowadar, who has been subject of ethics complaints filed by the Minneapolis Police Federation, claims to have recommended the policy changes.

Jim Rowader issued the following statement regarding the policy change on traffic stops:

The City Attorney’s Office recommended these changes to the mayor and chief after a very thorough and thoughtful analysis. This office is committed to addressing the racial inequities in traffic stops while not compromising public safety, and these two new polices accomplish that goal. While expired tabs will no longer be the primary reason for a traffic stop, this offense will still be enforced in other ways. Whenever a vehicle with expired tabs is stopped for speeding, red light running or any other public safety reason, the expired tabs charge can and should be added to the citation. The City’s Traffic Control agents will also continue to enforce expired tabs on parked vehicles as part of their work.

This type of policy falls into the category of things that sound good, unless you know the truth.  The truth is, this is an attack on proactive policing and the pretext traffic stop.  The pretext stop is best described as an officer conducting a traffic stop for a minor violation while in search of a greater crime.  While looking for criminals and criminal activity, often officers use minor infractions to legally conduct a traffic stop to investigate further.  These are the stops that often lead to DUI arrests, finding arrest warrants of vehicle occupants, finding people with parole or probation search terms leading to searches of their persons, and finding illegal contraband while conducting investigations.

These stops have been ruled legal by the Supreme Court and are the core of proactive policing. Criminals don’t typically hang signs from their vehicles indicating they have illegal weapons or narcotics inside, these discoveries come from cops making traffic stops and conducting investigations.

The sweeping police reforms and defunding of police budgets has been based on one of the biggest lies ever told by the left and the media, that police are racist killers.  They continue to spew lies about police shootings because it fits their narrative, but the facts and data say otherwise. I broke it down in this article:

These new traffic stop restrictions greatly impact the ability of officers to be proactive in their policing.  Want to slow down the increase in violent crime in Minneapolis? Want the police to get more illegal guns off the street?  One of the major tools to slow down violent crime just was taken away,  the ability to find and arrest criminals with illegal weapons before they commit violent crimes.  Now? The MPD is one step closer to a completely reactive policing strategy, which is exactly what the politicians controlling Minneapolis want. Remember, they have private security.

This piece was written by Ray Dietrich on August 14, 2021. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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