5 US cities to vote on altering their police forces: What to know

National / World

CHICAGO, Ill. (NewsNation Now) — Five cities across the United States will vote on ballot measures to alter the structure of police forces in their communities as the country continues a national reckoning on law enforcement.

Austin, Texas; Albany, New York; Denver; Minneapolis, and Cleveland all have police reform measures on the ballot Tuesday.

Of those, Minneapolis is the only one considering a total overhaul of its police structure. The rest are considering more incremental changes like reforming police oversight and training.

This follows trends seen in earlier 2021 ballot measures where more significant structural change lost at the polls.

Oak Park, Illinois; San Antonio, and Detroit all looked at making more significant structural changes to their law enforcement. All measures lost at the ballot box.

What did succeed was an Austin ballot measure on establishing a director of police oversight.

Back in 2020, there was more momentum behind the idea of structurally changing police forces as seen in key votes among residents of Los Angeles, San Francisco and King County, Washington.

Los Angeles’ ballot measure was in line with the move by organizers in Minneapolis to redirect some funds to helping those experiencing homelessness or mental illness from the LAPD’s budget.

For the most part, voters seem much more supportive of reform-based efforts rather than structural overhaul.

According to Ballotpedia, an online elections tracker, there were 17 successful ballot measures last year that focused on, among other things, establishing oversight boards or better training of officers in use of force situations.

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