To the editor:

Recently I wrote my MN House 37A representative, Erin Koegel, about the police reforms being considered by the Legislature following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. As a retired police officer and police trainer I was concerned at all of the emotional and inaccurate information circulating in the news and social media, which has negatively affected the safety of police officers and, by extension, our communities. In her response, it seemed that Rep. Koegel is of the same mindset we were seeing in many of the big city leaders: that police departments are the real problem and need to be “reimagined,” defunded and eliminated as much as possible.

In her email response Rep. Koegel wrote: “I do not support an elimination of Minnesota’s police departments so that we no longer have licensed, armed officers who can respond to dangerous calls, or a defunding of police departments to the point of ineffectiveness. While I wish it wasn’t true, the sad reality is that the presence of officers capable of employing deadly force will always be necessary at some level.” That is not the response of a person who is committed and concerned about public safety in turbulent times. Nor does Koegel seem to understand the true nature of the evil and danger present in our communities. Hers is the answer of a person willing to defund police and is obsessed with the fact that licensed police officers are armed to protect themselves and the public.

Her response listed only the names of Black people killed in confrontations with police, ignoring the fact the more non-Black people are killed threatening and resisting police every year.

Her response also expressed concern for the mentally ill in our community, but she offered no solutions other than to expect non-police to handle some of the most dangerous calls police face.

Based on her comments I have come to believe Rep. Koegel is the same kind of ideologue we are seeing on Minneapolis City Council. A vote for Erin Koegel is a vote supporting less effective policing and for more crime, chaos and anarchy in our communities

Kirby Beck

Coon Rapids

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