The collective was inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Minneapolis Police Department to imagine alternatives to public safety. That led to the creation of a report - called “Enough is Enough” - that assessed the effects of policing throughout time. MPD150’s Kyle Tran Myhre says the report is broken down into three parts - past, present and future.
“The ‘past’ section is just what the police department looked like throughout the decades. And it's a history of corruption and violence and oppression,” said Tran Myhre. “The ‘present’ section of the report focused on interviews with people whose work puts them in contact with police. The kind of thread that emerged from all those interviews was that police very often make that work harder, not easier. And then the ‘future’ section of the report focused on, if we want as a collective, as a society, as a city, to move away from prisons and police and punishment as the only way we can keep ourselves safe, what could that look like? So it's policy ideas around drugs, homelessness, interpersonal violence, domestic violence, all the different problems that a society deals with.”
Tran Myhre says the members of MPD150 are now taking what they learned and sharing it with other organizations. He says one of the things they learned is that different solutions make sense for different groups of people.
“We do need to have a healthy and safe community. When people do bad things, we need to figure out what to do about that,” said Tran Myhre. “It's not to say let's just snap our fingers and get rid of all the cops and just figure stuff out. It's to say that there are ways that we can build processes that will look different in different communities to keep each other safe.”
Tran Myhre says another lesson is that prevention is far more effective than punishment:
“We shouldn't set up our entire criminal punishment system around a very small class of people who, because of pop culture and because of propaganda, we think are everywhere but they're actually not,” he said. “If we are able to create or work toward a world that doesn't just throw people in cages for decades at a time when they do something bad, that isn't just organized around punishment, it’s not just “what does that look like” intellectually. It's like, how does that make us feel? And the feeling that comes to mind for me is always of a weight being lifted. A burden suddenly dissipating where, maybe you were struggling to breathe, and suddenly you're breathing fully.”
MPD150 is hosting a virtual panel on November 14th to talk about sunsetting the organization and the future of abolition in Minneapolis and beyond. You can find more information at MPD150.com.