Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Review on forward and backward mapping. Considering the ‘Community-First Public Safety’ case study, and the articles on different ways of approaching policy analysis, in a (longer - Very-Good Essays

Review on forward and backward mapping. Considering the ‘Community-First Public Safety’ case study, and the articles on different ways of approaching policy analysis, in a (longer

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Review on forward and backward mapping. Considering the "Community-First Public Safety" case study, and the articles on different ways of approaching policy analysis, in a (longer) policy memo for the mayor, first discuss what problem the several programs/components (Reimagining Public Safety in Saint Paul) are addressing (be as specific as possible in defining the problem-and is it the same for the various stakeholders?).  Provide a brief overview of each program components. For the three most important components in terms of the Mayor's overall vision, forward map the policy components as best you can. Provide all this information in a detailed policy memo.


R E V : J U N E 2 7 , 2 0 2 2

Professor Mitchell B. Weiss and Case Researcher Sarah Mehta (Case Research & Writing Group) prepared this case. It was reviewed and approved before publication by a company designate. Funding for the development of this case was provided by Harvard Business School and not by the company. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 2020, 2022 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545- 7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.

M I T C H E L L B . W E I S S


Community-First Public Safety

We all do better when we all do better.

— Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, in his 2018 inaugural address, quoting Senator Paul Wellstone1

How many police officer positions to fund? In August 2020, this was the question facing Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. The COVID-19 pandemic had rendered the city budget some $19-$34 million short for 2021. Advocates across the country (and nearby) had pointed to a likely pool for budget cuts: police budgets. The May 2020 murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a police officer in neighboring Minneapolis, had sparked calls nationwide to “defund the police.” Minneapolis’s City Council had faced calls to cut as much as $45 million from its $193 million police budget (although the city appeared to be on track for a much smaller reduction).2 Days earlier, Washington D.C.’s Council had cut $15 million from its Metropolitan Police Department, despite Mayor Muriel Bowser’s objections.3 Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had proposed a 7% increase for his department in April, and then changed course after Floyd’s death in May, saying he would direct as much as $150 million from the LAPD toward youth jobs and health initiatives, among other efforts.4 Garcetti said, “I got calls from mayors around the country, some of them saying, ‘I’m so excited,’ and other ones saying, ‘What the hell did you do? Now I gotta shift money.’”5 What would Saint Paul’s mayor do?

Carter had swept into office in 2018 promising equity for a city that was rising—albeit unequally. He had spoken from experience about what it felt like to be pulled over by police because he was Black. He had committed to, and then undertaken with his police chief, use of force reforms in 2018. He had closely monitored an increase in neighborhood shootings and homicides in 2019 and declared that public safety must be “our first and highest ambition upon which all other dreams must be built.”6

Carter envisioned a new public safety framework that would include—but be much more expansive than—simply responding to emergencies. He had supported a slate of pilot efforts for 2020, all under the banner of “community-first public safety” that had seeded what he hoped represented “the most comprehensive approach to public safety and crime prevention our city had ever taken,” and that were rooted in community.7

Then, COVID-19’s operational demands and mobility constraints had delayed progress on the pilots. Moreover, the pandemic had dashed Carter’s hopes of funding truly novel community-led public safety efforts with extra money in 2021. The $100 million-plus police department budget might have looked ripe for raiding to others, but not to Carter. He inquired about the impact of cuts up to $9 million, but not much more than that. A deep cut would mean laying off officers, which Carter felt committed to avoiding, both in that department and in agencies across the city. He would lay more

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groundwork for his community-first public safety efforts by appointing a task force to explore “rapid- response teams of social workers, mental health workers, and housing counselors who could lighten the load of police officers and allow them to focus on violent crime.”8 He planned to task them with providing recommendations in time for his 2022 budget proposal in twelve months.9

Carter’s family lived in a neighborhood with significant public safety concerns. They had seen gunshots fired on their block. His wife would feed their infant daughter on occasion on their back porch, and Carter was not philosophical about what public safety approach he wanted when it came to them. “I want whatever plan makes it less likely that someone will get shot on my block.” Is that what he had laid out for 2021?

Melvin Carter Carter had deep roots in Saint Paul. He was born in 1979 in the city’s Rondo neighborhood, which

had been an economic and cultural hub for Saint Paul’s Black residents since the early 20th century.

Carter’s parents were committed Saint Paul public servants. Carter’s mother was elected Ramsey County Commissioner in 2005, becoming the first Black County Commissioner in the state’s history.10 Carter’s father was among Saint Paul’s first Black police officers, having joined in the early 1970s as part of a desegregation lawsuit. Carter recalled how his father’s career shaped his early impressions of the police. “I saw [my father’s police badge] as sort of like a superhero outfit,” he said. Still, his father’s status as a police officer did not shield the younger Carter from racial profiling. “I’ve been stopped by police more times than I can remember,” he said.11

After a childhood spent in Saint Paul, Carter enrolled at Florida A&M University to study business administration. He returned to Saint Paul in 2001. He later earned a master’s degree in public policy. He was passionate about municipal government, but stayed largely behind-the-scenes, helping to organize others’ campaigns. Over time, Carter grew increasingly frustrated with some of Saint Paul’s urban planning projects and with his City Council representative’s voting record. “I made a list of seven people who would make good City Council members and offered to run their campaigns,” he said. “And all of them suggested that I run instead.” In 2007, Carter was elected to the Saint Paul City Council. He served until 2013 when he became the director of the Office of Early Learning within Minnesota’s Department of Education. In 2016, Carter decided to run for mayor on the Democratic- Farmer-Labor ticket, Minnesota’s Democratic Party affiliate.

Saint Paul In 2016, as Carter began to consider a mayoral bid, Saint Paul, the capital of Minnesota, was home

to just over 300,000 people.12 From 2010 to 2016, the city’s population grew by 6.4%, with most of the growth driven by people of color.13 The city boasted large Ethiopian, Hmong, Somali, and Vietnamese populations.14 More than 120 languages were spoken in Saint Paul’s public schools, and the majority (80%) of students were non-white.15 Carter counted the city’s diversity among its greatest strengths.16

There were significant disparities among racial groups in the Twin Cities (i.e., the metropolitan area comprising Saint Paul and Minneapolis). The metropolitan area was among the least equitable in the country (see Exhibit 1).17 The disparities had been traced to historic policies that deliberately disadvantaged Black Americans.18 One such policy was “redlining,” which started in the 1930s and referred to the Federal Housing Administration’s systematic refusal to insure mortgages for houses in predominantly Black neighborhoods.19 Other policies explicitly forbade the sale of homes to Black

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buyers. As one deed for a home in an affluent Minneapolis neighborhood in the 1930s read: “The said premises shall not at any time be sold, conveyed, leased, or sublet, or occupied by any person or persons who are not full bloods of the so-called Caucasian or White race.”20 Another historic driver of inequality specific to Saint Paul, said Carter, was the demolition of properties in the Rondo area to make way for Interstate 94. Some 13% of Saint Paul’s Black residents lost a home in this period.21 Carter’s grandparents’ home and several of their properties were among I-94’s causalities.22 They “were given pennies on the dollar for their properties,” Carter lamented.23

Carter built his mayoral platform around the issue of equity. He defined equity as the opportunity for citizens to exercise decision-making power, and the ability to build transferrable wealth and participate in economic growth. If elected, he promised to work toward increasing equity across three key pillars: economic justice, education, and public safety.24 A key campaign promise was to raise Saint Paul’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.25 Another was to grant every child born in Saint Paul a college savings account with $50.26 He also aimed to modernize the city’s transit system, eliminate library late fees, enhance early childhood education, and improve jobs.27 In November 2017, at 38 years old, Carter won the election with 51% of the vote, becoming Saint Paul’s first Black mayor.28 His closest rival trailed with 25% of votes. Carter’s performance reportedly “took even his die-hard supporters by surprise.”29

Becoming Mayor: “Don’t Clap if You’re Not Going to Help.” Carter took office in January 2018 and immediately began implementing his equity agenda, which

was also an engagement agenda. Said Carter, “The first thing we did after being elected was to engage over 100 Saint Paul residents, city employees, and business leaders to help choose my team through community-based hiring panels. These volunteers spent three days sourcing candidates, reviewing resumes, and doing interviews.” 30 He said that all of his administration’s directors had been hired through that process. Carter also instituted a community-based budgeting process. These participatory approaches reflected Carter’s philosophy on civic engagement; he’d often said, “Building a city that works for us all means we all must do the work.”31 At his inaugural address, he threw in an unscripted aside to one of the rounds of applause, “Don’t clap if you’re not going to help.”

On keeping communities safe, Carter described his goals as nothing short of “re-wiring how we think of public safety.”32 He wanted to tackle the drivers of crime by investing in programs for idle youth and increasing social services for homeless individuals and those with mental health problems. Another strategy of interest—crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED)—was based on the idea that crime could be prevented by developing a conducive physical environment.33 Explained Carter, “The CPTED science says that the activities and outcomes that take place in a given area occur in direct response to the physical and aesthetic quality of that space. If I put up a basketball hoop, people will play basketball there because I put up the hoop.”

Carter also planned to evaluate policing practices. Use of force was rare in Saint Paul’s police department; of the 570,409 incidents involving a Saint Paul police officer in 2016 and 2017, just 0.15% involved force.34 Eight months before Carter’s election, however, the city had settled a lawsuit brought by Frank Baker, a Black Saint Paul resident, who was assaulted by a police dog and officer.35 In Carter’s first three months in office, he forged a productive partnership with Police Chief Todd Axtell, who was viewed as being committed to community and diversity.36 Axtell had taken a public stance when officer behavior deviated from department norms.37 In 2019, he fired five officers for failing to intervene when an assault occurred.38

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The mayor began hosting a series of “Imagine Our City” events, which convened residents in dialogue on public safety. Carter had said at one of these events, “What we’ve done for the last 30 years hasn’t gotten us to the solution we want.” 39

Overview of Policing In the U.S., sworn police officers worked at the federal, state, and local levels. Federal officers

worked for government agencies, such as the FBI. State officers primarily patrolled highways and handled criminal matters that fell outside any specific jurisdiction, and local officers were responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing the laws of one geographic area.40 By 2016, there were about 700,000 officers in the U.S., most of whom were employed by local police departments.41

The earliest public safety efforts in the U.S. were neighborhood watch programs, which emerged in the colonies before independence. Boston started the first one in 1636, followed later by New York and Philadelphia.42 Night watchmen served voluntarily and monitored towns for illegal activities such as gambling and prostitution.43 They were described as largely ineffective.44

The first organized policing entities in the U.S. emerged in the Southern states in the 1700s and 1800s as a mechanism to uphold slavery.45 Called “slave patrols,” these violent units existed to quell rebellion and discourage uprisings, and nearly all white men between 21 and 45 years of age were required to join them for up to one year.46 Some local governments worked with militia to draft patrolmen; others drew names from lists of landowners.47

In the Northern and Midwestern U.S., most organized police forces emerged between 1820 and 1840 as cities began to grow. Many early police forces were modeled on Britain’s 1829 Metropolitan Police Act, which created London’s police.48 The key features that distinguished these police forces from the preceding neighborhood watch groups were a focus on regularly patrolling neighborhoods, preventing crime, and a command structure, complete with uniforms, badges, and rank designations.49

A watershed 1931 report spurred efforts to further professionalize the force.50 This undertaking, led by Berkeley, California Police Chief August Vollmer, emphasized the need to educate police officers and elevate their social status.51 From this movement emerged police academies, civil service requirements for police, hierarchical reporting lines, strict standard operating procedures, and a focus on swift crime response.52

Racial tensions in the U.S. intensified throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and eventually boiled over in a series of protests and riots in the 1960s. Police often responded with force, relying on attack dogs and firing tear gas on protestors.53 The Kerner Commission in 1968 reported that about half of the riots in urban areas since 1965 resulted from instances of excessive police force.54 The commission recommended that the police become more involved in resolving communities’ social problems.55 This eventually led some to advocate for a new approach to policing—one that relied on partnerships between communities and the police that served them.56

Community Policing

This new approach, called community policing, was sometimes defined as “a collaboration between the police and community that identifies and solves community problems,” rather than simply responding to problems as they arose.57 It was based on a set of principles first articulated by Sir Robert Peel in the U.K. in the 1820s (see Exhibit 3).

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Community policing called for greater police diversity and better connections between police officers and the geographic areas they patrolled. The logic was that when officers spent more time in a given community, they were better able to understand the needs and resources available therein.58 Mayor Carter told U.S. Senators in a 2020 hearing what his father, Sgt. Carter, had told him: “If you know the children in the community, you come up with a whole lot of reasons not to shoot someone.”59 Another notable element of organizational transformation was a shift to decentralized police departments, which enabled lower-level officers to find solutions to local problems without bureaucratic delays.60

Community policing also involved deep community partnerships. These partnerships moved beyond sporadic, surface-level engagements with community actors and instead involved ongoing relationships with a range of diverse groups, such as businesses, neighborhood associations, schools, and faith-based organizations.61 They sometimes yielded neighborhood watch programs and community meetings.62 A final element of most community policing practices was a focus on problem- solving and preventing crime, rather than responding once crime occurred.63

Carter’s father had been on the front line of Saint Paul’s pioneering efforts to implement community policing in the 1970s.64 Responding to complaints that Saint Paul’s Black residents felt “over-policed and under-protected,” the police department in this decade instituted a community relations unit, stepped up its hiring of Black officers, and introduced “team policing,” which referred to a model that anchored officers in specific areas and encouraged them to familiarize themselves with the community.65 As a result, the elder Carter saw very little difference between policing and community policing, concluding, “If it ain’t community policing, it ain’t policing at all.”66

A 2017 review paper looking at community policing’s effects reported mixed results. Most of the studies reviewed found that community policing improved both residents’ perceptions of the police as well as their sense of police legitimacy.67 Community policing also improved officers’ job satisfaction.68 Yet, just half of the studies reviewed found that community policing reduced residents’ fear of threat, and just 18.6% of the studies found that community policing resulted in a measurable reduction in crime.69 Skeptics called community policing “an expensive attempt at public relations after a long history of racialized police violence and injustice.”70

During the 2010s, two social networking platforms signaled the arrival of tech-driven versions of community-driven public safety. Ring, the video doorbell company owned by Amazon, launched the Neighbors app, on which Ring users could share videos from their doorbell to alert others in their neighborhood of issues, such as fires and suspected theft.71 Nextdoor, another neighborhood-centric platform, invited members to post information about pertinent events from the community.

Both platforms claimed to have benefitted their user communities. Through Ring, for instance, a group of homeowners identified a woman stealing packages from several homes in a Dallas, Texas, neighborhood. They reported the video footage to the police, and she was arrested.72 Posts on Ring and Nextdoor sometimes devolved into racial stereotypes. Users posted about “suspicious” characters when a person of color walked through a largely white neighborhood.73 Some Nextdoor users reported Black people “breaking into” their own homes.”74 Both companies rejected the racist behavior of their users.

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Reimagining Public Safety in Saint Paul Carter had come into office promising a new model of public safety in Saint Paul, and in 2019 he

had reason to continue that effort. Though violent crime overall was on its way to a quarter-century low, gun violence in Saint Paul was the highest it had been since 1992 (see Exhibit 7).75

Later in the year, some called for Carter to add to the police department ranks, perhaps by as many as 115 officers to bring the department up to national averages.76 One such proponent blamed low staffing for low crime detection rates: “If someone attacks you in St. Paul, they have about a 60 percent chance of getting away with it, according to the city’s 2018 Police Crime Report. If someone steals your property, they have about an 85 percent chance of getting away with it.”77 Carter rejected these calls and requested extra funding to instead support a slate of community-first public safety efforts. He declared, “We need a fundamentally new approach. Even with a strong police department that leads locally and nationally on so many fronts, we cannot expect our officers alone to solve all of our problems.”78

Community-first Public Safety Plan

In November 2019, late in the FY2020 budget planning process, Carter presented City Council with a supplemental, community-first public safety plan to fund nine programs (see Exhibit 8).79 Carter asked the city to cover about $1.7 million of the $3 million needed to fund the plan (private funds would cover the remaining $1.3 million).80 In December 2019, Saint Paul’s City Council approved Carter’s plan by a one-vote margin.81 These approaches included:

Community Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) The supplemental budget included funds to begin staffing Saint Paul’s fire department with a small number of community EMTs. Whereas EMTs only interacted with patients during an emergency medical event, community EMTs received additional training on making follow-up visits to answer patients’ questions and ensure that they understood their medication. The hope was that by helping people better understand their health condition, community EMTs would reduce the number of unnecessary repeat 911 calls. The early recruits were representative of Saint Paul’s diverse population, and thus could communicate with many city residents in their primary language. As of late 2020, COVID-19 had delayed the program.

Community Ambassadors Founded in 2013 with private funding, the Community Ambassadors’ Initiative (CAI) placed youth workers in priority areas of Saint Paul and asked them to de-escalate conflicts that arose. The ambassadors worked four-hour shifts on Thursday to Saturday evenings in teams of two to three. “We don’t advertise,” said Director Joel Franklin. “We recruit through the relationships we have with a lot of youth workers. Most work in recreation centers or schools. Most of the ambassadors had issues when they were growing up. They know the street.”

After the CAI’s first year of operations, juvenile crime declined by 40% in the areas where the 12 initial ambassadors were stationed. In 2014, the program was expanded to 30 youth workers across the city, and juvenile arrests declined by 63% in the areas the youth workers worked. In 2015, the mayor that preceded Carter included $150,000 in the budget for the CAI, which covered 25% of the program’s $600,000 budget. Carter’s supplemental budget included $300,000 to further expand the program to 50 ambassadors. The ambassadors had pulled three guns off the street.

Franklin wanted to do more, noting: “If I had additional funds, I would love to be able to utilize the relationship that ambassadors have with at-risk youth to do more direct services, like connect them to jobs.” COVID-19 had stalled the ambassadors’ work, given the need to interact with youth in person.

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Community-First Public Safety 821-005


City Attorney Community Justice Unit Carter’s supplemental budget also included $114,000 to expand the ETHOS restorative justicea program, run by the Saint Paul City Attorney’s Office. The program brought together the perpetrators of low-level misdemeanors (e.g., trespassing, disorderly conduct, excessive noise) with members of their own community and a facilitator (the “circle-keeper”) to examine the harms that resulted from the offense and find a resolution. Once the perpetrator completed the restorative justice process, the misdemeanor was expunged from their record. Assistant City Attorney Tammie Larsen explained:

A lot of the cases we’re talking about don’t involve identifiable victims. The community is the victim in many cases. We have recruited and trained volunteers in our city. They are from the neighborhoods where the offense occurred, and they talk to the participant about the effects of a crime and the harm that was done. They also start a conversation around the root causes of what happened. These offenses are small misdemeanors, but they are easily the type of thing that blows up into disorderly conduct, and the next thing you know, the person is in jail. This program interrupts that cycle and makes the perpetrator accountable to their community.

The City Attorney’s Office had trained around 40 participants; by late 2020, approximately 15 circle- keepers and five community members had participated in a circle. About 75 perpetrators had completed the program in 2020, compared with the goal of roughly 250. Larsen explained that the City Attorney’s Office prosecuted between 11,000 and 15,000 misdemeanor cases per year, and about half of those cases could potentially be eligible for the ETHOS program. To reach that scale, she estimated that her office would need to hire one to two more administrators. Circle-keepers would be paid $200- $250 per session.

Returning Home Saint Paul Formerly incarcerated people with access to housing were less likely to re-offend.82 Thus, Carter included $110,000 in the budget to launch a pilot program that would help these people find and secure rentals and reduce the risks to landlords who rented to them. Explained Muneer Karcher-Ramos, director of the Office of Financial Empowerment, “We provide an application fee, a partial security deposit, and a contingency fund to landlords, so if a resident returning from incarceration were to damage the property, then the city would back an extra $3,000 on top of the security deposit. We’re currently supporting 20 participants, but the upside is tremendous.”

The Office of Financial Empowerment separately launched a guaranteed income pilot. The pilot would provide a basic monthly income of $500 for 18 months to 150 households. It would be the first guaranteed income program run by a municipality in the U.S., and would be funded by both the city and philanthropy. “That’s a very upstream program,” said Karcher-Ramos. “When you don’t have income, that can place you in precarious positions that lead to crime and other issues.”

Additional Programs Following the example of several other cities across the U.S., the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance planned to establish a “fusion center” in the downtown area. The center would coordinate the work of independent private security officers working for commercial property owners with non-profit organizations providing social services, and increase the number of “active eyes and ears on the street.”83

In the summer of 2019, the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance piloted the Streets of Summer program. Streets of Summer employed a full-time “Street Team” to provide hospitality downtown and to clean

a Restorative justice was a process that prioritized “accountability, making amends, and—if they are interested—facilitated meetings between victims, offenders, and other persons.” Source: “Restorative Justice,” Centre for Justice & Reconciliation,, accessed October 2020.

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