Flee The Minneapolis Police Department
Every Police Officer Must Consider An Exit Immediately
This article has been a tough one to consider and even a tougher one to write. As an author for Police One for a decade and then the Editor In Chief for Law Officer Magazine for several years, I have been keenly aware of both the good and bad in the law enforcement profession. While my role in the media industry has (thankfully) subsided, I maintain an awareness with the trends in the profession and my teaching schedule keeps me in front of a lot of cops from a lot of places.
With that said, I have never made this kind of recommendation, because as bad as an agency is or as terrible as the leadership behind that agency is, I have an optimistic viewpoint that just as bad leadership can destroy a law enforcement agency, great leadership can bring it back.
I typically tell frustrated cops that this profession is a marathon and what may seem like a terrible and toxic environment, can be turned around.
“Keep your head up, do the right thing and serve your community” is often my mantra.
But that is not what I am saying to Minneapolis Police Officers.
They need to flee the agency immediately and this is why…
The George Floyd Aftermath
The entire world changed in the aftermath of the George Floyd incident but what has been ignored by virtually everyone are the lies, deception, and utter destruction of the police department in the months that followed by the very leaders within the police department and the city. I discussed much of this in a previous article but much of the destructive aftermath of the incident was directly caused from leaders, that knew the facts, but refused to reveal them.
The narrative that was originally (and continues) to be pushed by Minneapolis leaders (and adopted by 99.99% of the world) was that racist cops murdered George Floyd in broad daylight by choking him to death with cameras all around.
But to anyone that utilized logic in their frontal lobe, there was always something strange about that narrative.
Why was Floyd struggling to breathe long before the officers arrived?
What role did lethal amounts of fentanyl mixed with methamphetamine and severe coronary blockage have to do with his death?
If the autopsy showed no trauma on the body including no strangulation or asphyxiation, how did this supposed murder happen?
Why did the coroner originally say that Floyd died from an overdose and was then omitted from testifying?
Why did the police department not release the body camera footage, going against well established protocol?
Finally, did the officers involved, including the minority officers, really believe (intent) that they were murdering someone on the street for all to see and it would be a good career move or were they simply following an established policy/training protocol that had been utilized many times before and endorsed by agency leaders?
All of this and much more is covered in Liz Collin’s book on the topic, They’re Lying: The Media, the Left and The Death of George Floyd and while some could chalk up those failures of leadership as incompetence and fear in a critical situation, the idea that officers followed department policy and training and leaders lied in public and in court about that is not incompetence but evil.
You heard that right. In the years that preceded the incident, every Minneapolis police officer received training and policy on exactly what is now the viral incident that proved without a doubt that American Policing is racist and must be defunded and defamed.
We can and should have a debate on whether that training and policy conforms with best practices but what cannot be tolerated are the very leaders that implemented said policy and training acting like it did not exist.
That is how more cops in Minneapolis (and everywhere else with cowards) go to prison for following policy and training.
At this point, anyone that knows how to read, knows that all of the above is true…But almost no one will ever say it and the idea that no one will be held accountable for promulgating a lie that changed the world, makes me sick.
Fortunately, a lot of current (and former) Minneapolis cops know this truth and they are now speaking out.
The truth has a way of shining light on darkness and the upcoming documentary, The Fall of Minneapolis, will do just that. I am proud of the officers and medical professionals that are speaking up and especially proud of Liz Collin and Dr. Jay Chaix for telling a story that must be told, in the hopes that leadership will never fail us on this grand of a scale again.
While there is hope across the profession, all hope is lost in Minne-hopeless.
Rather than tell the truth, Minneapolis leadership continues to lean in and signed up for not one consent decree, but two. Not only did the department agree to a consent decree by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights but also the Department of Justice. I have spoken at great lengths about the generational damage that consent decrees do to departments and communities so I won’t repeat them here but suffice to say, we have thirty years of evidence that they make things worse…a lot worse.
Does the Minneapolis Police Department need change?
Likely so but that is why leadership exists. The utilization of a damaging consent decree, that will exist for decades and cost millions every year, is nothing more than a scapegoat for leaders in doing their job.
The 72 Page Policy
If you had any doubt about what a consent decree will do to an agency and the professionals within, look no further than the first major policy revision in Minneapolis. It is a proposal at the moment but it will happen and it is unreal. The 72 page Use of Force policy has some of the most insane language I have ever seen. Law Officer broke down the first 14 pages here and it is frightening.
This and future policies are nothing more than a side door to fire and prosecute officers when they don’t conform to every vague word on the page. Not only is the policy very difficult to read, it’s impossible to understand clearly and specifically, and that is the actual point.
Take a look at Use of Force policy section on “trust:”
“Officers shall act in a manner that promotes trust between MPD and the communities it serves.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but sometimes when a police officer has to use force against someone attacking them, a few in the community may say that it did not “promote trust” (as if anything could to them).
Keep in mind, that is one section and it gets worse from there.
The Minneapolis Police Department has made an already difficult job impossible with their adoption of two consent decrees and the policies that will follow. Remember, consent decrees and their failures last multiple decades, not a few years. Decrees produce generational failures within cities and departments and that’s not emotional rhetoric. Is Seattle, Chicago, Portland or Cleveland better today as their consent decrees continue into forever?
There are many good police officers and citizens in Minneapolis and this once great city could be turned around for the better but the downward spiral is so low, it would take a complete upheaval of the political system that enabled it and new leadership within the agency. Some in current leadership are passive contributors but others, like the current police chief are not only contributing to the demise of the agency but doing all that he can to trash American Policing.
Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara admitted that his Department has engaged in a "pattern or practice" of unconstitutional policing and that his officers are racially biased. O’Hara even condemned the entire law enforcement profession by saying that every agency that comes under federal investigation deserves to be punished by DOJ consent decrees.
O’Hara didn’t provide specifics but his comments surely made his boss, the DOJ, very happy.
"The reality is: we have earned it. Policing as a profession has earned it. The cities where this happens, there is good reason — it's because of our behavior."
O’Hara likely doesn’t believe anything he says but he’s in survival mode. He’s calling the plays in the playbook for success but in doing so, he is the final reason I say that every officer must flee.
CEO of Police Strategies, Bob Scales, may have said best:
“Minneapolis is going to have two consent decrees (one state and one federal) with two judges, and two for-profit monitors with lots of competing interests and directives. The current Police Chief and Mayor will not last more than 5 more years while the consent decrees will last two or three times longer. The City is doomed.”
Considering The Exit
I do not make the recommendation for officers to leave the agency as some sensational plot to get clicks. I am truly concerned for anyone wearing a badge in Minneapolis.
Yes, the job is dangerous and sometimes thankless but we all accept that.
What cannot be accepted is being destroyed from within your own agency and that is exactly what has and will continue to happen at MPD.
The decision to leave any job is tough and it’s especially tough if you are working towards a pension and the State of Minnesota has one of the best around (3% per year of service). I want that for the officers and their families but I also want them to make it to the end in one piece. It’s clear after looking at the actions of Minneapolis leaders, some won’t.
Some will end up in prison or worse.
I also understand the call to serve and the loyalty to the community. The vast majority of Minneapolis residents are good, hard working folks, that deserve protection and that is and should be a draw to stay at MPD.
But…The ability to protect and serve has been made impossible by cowards in leadership positions and no one should be expected to do a job that is impossible to do.
A Message To MPD
Hundreds have already left the agency and many more are in the process of doing so. You know, more than anyone, that I have told the truth here. I understand that some of you simply can’t leave for reasons and situations that are your own and I have no business advising you otherwise.
But some of you know that you must leave and you are waiting. Let me encourage you to have faith in your professionalism and expertise and that God has placed a burden in you to leave for a reason. You have experienced incidents that affirmed your future exit and along the way affirms God’s plan for you.
The profession is experiencing a nationwide recruiting epidemic and if you want to stay in law enforcement, there are many agencies that would welcome you and many leaders that would lead you.
I know money is an issue but it should never be THE issue. Your quality of life matters and you deserve so much more.
God Bless…Lead On & Stay Courageous.
Dr. Travis Yates retired as a commander with a large municipal police department after 30 years of service. He is the author of “The Courageous Police Leader: A Survival Guide for Combating Cowards, Chaos & Lies.” His risk management and leadership seminars have been taught to thousands of professionals across the world. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy with a Doctorate Degree in Strategic Leadership and the CEO of the Courageous Police Leadership Alliance.