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.
- Training in mediation, and techniques of peace keeping, community education and organizing skills.
- Framework anchored in an analysis of restorative justice, looking at historic relationships between police, traditional security and communities of color.
- Certification in Mental Health First Aid and as an Emergency Medical Responder.
- Trained in techniques of de-escalation, hands on tactical, and anti-terrorism approaches to safety.
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 CSSThe 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
- Community-based safety: Provide unarmed safety specialists in communities with a focus on responsiveness and relationships.
- Emergency Triage: Recognize and assess emergencies as a first responder and identify threats and vulnerabilities that may affect a specific incident, or community safety more broadly.
- Proactive intervention: Provide education, referrals, and access to other organizations that provide services in the community to address homelessness, mental health, domestic violence, addiction, and other sources of trauma and stress.
- De-escalation: Using conflict resolution and mediation to increase safety and security in the participating neighborhoods.
- Positive presence and interactions: Using proactive tools within the community including residents, organizations, and businesses to create a sense of vibrancy, ownership and safety on the street and public spaces.
- Education and leadership development: Recruit a network of resident leaders, to analyze the context of power and insecurity in the neighborhood and develop initiatives to address it, including public health, personal safety, conflict resolution and other tools as needed.
- A new model of accountability to the community: the CSS program reports to a board made up of multiple community stakeholders(small businesses, homeowners, tenants, community organizations, homeless or addiction advocates), rather than a single property (which tends to emphasize narrowly pushing problems off the property)