Minnesota – $300 Million Public Safety Proposal for Washington

Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan Discuss What $300 Million Public Safety Proposal Would Mean for Washington County

Washington County would receive nearly $1.27 million per year for public safety under the Walz-Flanagan Budget to Move Minnesota Forward

ST. PAUL, MN (STL.News) Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan stopped in Stillwater on a statewide public safety tour to discuss what their public safety budget – including $300 million for cities, counties, and tribes – would mean for Washington County and communities across the state.  Under the Walz-Flanagan Budget to Move Minnesota Forward, Washington County would receive nearly $1.27 million per year to invest in public safety. Photos from the event are online.

Today’s roundtable discussion in Stillwater follows recent public safety meetings Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan have had with community leaders in St. Louis Park, Duluth, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, and North Minneapolis.  A detailed list of the funding that would be made available to each community is available online.

“We know that public safety issues aren’t just our neighbors’ problem – they’re all of ours.  We also know that the public safety needs of a community are best met locally,” said Governor Walz.  “That’s why our $300 million public safety plan empowers local governments across the state to take the lead and address their most urgent public safety needs at the local level.  Under our plan, counties like Washington County will receive $1.27 million per year to invest in their communities’ safety.”

“Minnesotans are the experts in their own lives and should have a say in their communities’ public safety,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan.  “Whether it’s providing first responders with the resources necessary to serve their community or investing in community-based public safety initiatives, including mental health response teams, our plan will help ensure local communities have what they need to keep all of our neighbors safe and cared for.”

“Washington County has a long history of working collaboratively with our elected officials to address the public safety concerns of our residents.  I’m pleased that the Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flannagan took the time to come to Washington County to discuss their budget with us and to listen to our ideas of how we may better address public safety,” said Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry.  “Our team continues to serve with pride, dedication, and commitment to excellence through proactive outreach, education, and enforcement.  The initiatives proposed in the Governor’s budget align with many programs we currently promote and would allow us the potential to expand.”

“Approximately 30 percent of Washington County’s annual operating budget is dedicated to public safety,” said Washington County Commissioner Wayne Johnson.  “We appreciate Governor Walz’s support and partnership in developing financial assistance that will allow Washington County to meet those needs – now and into the future.”

“Ongoing flexible Public Safety Aid – like the Governor is proposing – will support Washington County’s ability to continue to provide high quality-responsive public services that build resiliency in our community and ensure our residents feel safe,” said Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel.

An outline of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s public safety proposal is below.

Invest $300 million in local governments to improve public safety
The Walz-Flanagan budget invests $300 million over three years to cities, counties, and tribes across the state, encouraging and supporting new ways of meeting the evolving expectations of public safety in communities across Minnesota.  The budget also invests in recruiting peace officers who represent the population of our state and reducing violent crime by providing investigative support to local agencies.  The budget also funds several grant programs to invest in the changing needs of communities as they address increased crime, providing funding for Minnesota’s community-based crime prevention grants that fund such programs as probation, youth services, truancy programs, elder abuse prevention, neighborhood watch, resident engagement, and other community-driven intervention and prevention strategies.

Fund a Statewide Violent Crime Initiative
Increased violent crime is a threat to thriving communities across Minnesota.  Effective violent crime strategies must employ a coordinated approach of prevention, intervention, and enforcement.  This proposal will leverage forensic science to identify perpetrators of violence and clear the innocent, use analytics to strategically identify those committing violent crimes, and leverage partnerships to investigate violent crimes.  Critical resource gaps currently exist in some of our most challenges communities.  This investment will create the capacity to provide much needed assistance to address violent crime.

Invest in community groups to prioritize youth intervention and juvenile justice
Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan propose providing resources to programs serving youth, including after school activities, tutoring, mentoring, and other services for youth.  The Walz-Flanagan budget also provides funding to develop community-based alternatives to juvenile detention, including ongoing funding to establish Community Outpost Houses and invest in TRUCE youth conflict resolution centers to connect community members can connect with outreach programs;  learn about applicable government services;  obtain community meeting spaces;  host mentoring and tutoring programs; and provide youth conflict resolution, suicide awareness and counseling, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, and leadership programs.  This proposal is focused on building relationships and trust within communities;  providing opportunities to create relationships between community and local law enforcement;  reducing crime;  and providing youth with a place to resolve conflict in a positive non-violent manner.  The budget also establishes Crossover Youth Practice Model and Dual Status Youth Programs in counties throughout Minnesota to support youth who are both in child welfare and juvenile justice systems.