Too much ‘balance’ in public safety

The lame-duck chief prosecutor for Minnesota’s largest county continues to justify his unique approach to public safety. Citing statistics on caseload, prosecutions and convictions, Mike Freeman defended the work of his operation against critics (local mayors and police chiefs) accusing him of being soft on crime.

Interviewed Saturday in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Hennepin County Attorney Freeman is quoted as saying that “his office is always pursuing a balance, being tough on crime while acting thoughtfully on justice reforms.”

A direct quote from Freeman:

There has to be more than a philosophy of putting a person in jail and throwing away the key.


We need ways to get kids back in school and have GED programs, sports activities, mental health services, gang violence intervention, mentors and job training and placement.

Even the ultra-liberal Star Tribune editorial board seems to think that Freeman’s approach isn’t enough. writing,

No single individual or entity will have all the answers needed to combat this latest wave.

The county’s largest city, Minneapolis, was hit with a wave of 640 carjackings in 2022 and a record-tying number of homicides. Over the past few weeks, crime has been spreading out into the surrounding suburbs. GED programs seem a long way off from the current crisis.

The county attorney is an elected position and represents a population of 1.3 million, larger than any congressional seat in the state. Indeed, Hennepin County has a population larger than eight states.

Given the stakes, and considering the fact that Freeman will serve out his term without facing voters in November 2022, should one person decide the level of public safety offered in calendar year 2022?

At the state capital, members of the legislature are not waiting for an answer. Representatives and senators of both parties are introducing bills to be debated in the upcoming session on fighting violent crime, beginning at the end of this month. It should be an interesting session.