Civic Buzz

PUBLIC SPEAKER & Discussion Series

Interested in discussing local issues? Learning more about what your city government is doing? Join us for our community speaker series. A discussion with LWVMpls means all voices are heard. Our goal: everyone leaves the discussion with a broader understanding of the issues.

Current Civic Buzz

April Civic Buzz - Recording Here 

Thursday, April 4th, 7:00-8:30 pm IN PERSON at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis. (1900 Nicollet Ave)

The LWVMpls Re-imagining Public Safety Committee will be hosting Commissioner of Community Safety Todd Barnette and Director of Neighborhood Safety Luana Nelson-Brown. The event is co-sponsored by the Plymouth Congregation's Re-imagining Community Safety Committee.

After the murder of George Floyd by police officers in May 2020, the MN Department of Human Rights and the US Dept of Justice began investigating the Minneapolis Police Department.  Both found evidence of human rights abuses and systemic racism in MPD.

In March of 2023, the MN Department of Human Rights and the City of Minneapolis signed a settlement agreement that mandates major changes in the way the MPD operates. A new Commissioner of Public Safety position was established, and official reorganization of departments devoted to Public Safety began.

But changes had been happening even before that, as the City Council and Mayor's office responded to public pressure to change the way we do policing in Minneapolis.

Our guests will discuss the many changes that have been happening and plans to continue improving Public Safety in our City. This will be followed by our usual Q & A.

Commissioner of Community Safety Todd Barnette attended the University of Minnesota Law School, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1992. After 14 years with the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, Commissioner Barnette joined the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office as a senior assistant County Attorney in the Juvenile Division.

On February 6, 2006, Commissioner Barnette was appointed to the Hennepin County Judicial District Court. He was elected Chief Judge by his colleagues on May 4, 2020, and reelected to a second term in 2022. He was the first Minnesota State Court Chief Judge of color.

On October 19, 2023, Judge Barnette was confirmed by the Minneapolis City Council as Commissioner of Community Safety. Commissioner Barnette’s job entails leading the city’s Office of Community Safety by managing and coordinating five departments - 911, fire, emergency management, police, and neighborhood safety - and breaking down barriers between them.

Commissioner Barnette is also an Adjunct Faculty Member and mentor at the University of St. Thomas Law School.

Luana Nelson-Brown became Director of Neighborhood Safety (formerly the Office of Violence Prevention) with the City of Minneapolis, in June 2023. Her goal is to use a public health perspective and evidence-based alternatives to policing, to address the root causes of violence.

Director Nelson-Brown is the former Executive Director and founder of the Iowa Coalition For Collective Change in Des Moines Iowa. The coalition works with nonprofits throughout Iowa on a range of topics including violence prevention and intervention, community outreach, and creating equitable anti-racist policies, practices, and procedures.

Nelson-Brown was appointed by the Iowa Supreme Court to the Iowa Access to Justice Commission to serve a three-year term from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2024: The Commission serves Iowans by promoting and advancing innovative strategies for ensuring equal access to justice.

Please join us
Thursday, April 4th, 7:00-8:30 pm
IN PERSON at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis
1900 Nicollet Ave

Past Civic Buzz Events