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Background on Community Safety Specialist Program

July 21, 2021

The CSS program is an alternative to the current community safety structure that focuses on protecting the communities where we live. It is a new model based on ongoing work being done that can be transformative in how we deal with community safety, racial justice and creating good jobs.

What is a Community Safety Specialist?

The CSS program is an alternative to the current community safety structure that focuses on protecting the communities where we live. It is a new model based on ongoing work being done that can be transformative in how we deal with community safety, racial justice and creating good jobs. 

Traditionally, private security in Minnesota requires only 12 hours of training. Community Safety Specialists progress through an apprenticeship program that includes over 180 hours of class time as well as a year of structured on-the-job learning and mentored practice to more proactively address the problems causing disruptions and insecurity in our neighborhoods.

This program will train and support community residents to serve as de-escalators and problem solvers. This program is designed, owned and run by the community. It is meant to be a long-term solution to the issues of public safety that have faced our community for decades. These will be good union jobs that start at $15.30/hr with wages rising to $23.00/hour wages with benefits after the twelve-month apprenticeship program.

What does it look like?

This is a collaborative effort between The Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC), SEIU Local 26 and NEXT Global Security, a Black-owned local security company that provides mentors and trainers.

CSS participants are recruited from within the neighborhood to bring in-depth, direct knowledge of the community they serve, building off of NRRC volunteer patrols and block watches with extensive relationships to local families, service providers, businesses and community centers. 

There is a state-accredited certified apprenticeship offering over 180 hours of paid classroom instruction at Anoka-Hennepin Community College, and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, to community members who are deployed with professional support to address homelessness, mental health crises, addiction, domestic abuse and other sources of trauma and stress that are not areas where armed police interventions add value.

Timeline for CSS

The pilot program will start in North Minneapolis in June and includes 15 Community Safety Specialists. The goal is to raise funds to eventually have hundreds of Community Safety Specialists across the city. 

The program has support from Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council and is also raising outside funds to help support and expand the program. 

Core elements of CSS