A House Democrat from Minnesota, where support for the "defund the police" movement surged after the 2020 death of George Floyd, is asking House members to participate in a police ride-along so they can better understand the dangers law enforcement officers face every day.
Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., introduced a resolution last week that says every newly elected member the House must attend at least one ride-along within the first year of taking office.
"I’m hopeful that with the passage of this resolution, my colleagues will gain insight into the challenges and obstacles facing their local law enforcement agencies and ensure that Congress steps up to the plate to give our officers the resources they need as they work to protect our communities," said Craig.
Craig represents a swing district, and her reelection race this year is rated by the Cook Political Report as a "toss up." Republicans have been hammering Democrats on law and order issues and have been highlighting the support among Democrats for the "defund the police" movement.
Craig said she has joined city police and county sheriffs on a few ride-alongs in the last several months, and said they gave her "critical insight into the uncertain – and often dangerous – situations" that local officers face.
Minnesota was in the national spotlight in 2020 when George Floyd died after being handcuffed and held down by Minneapolis police officers in 2020. Floyd’s death sparked violent protests in Minneapolis and around the world, as well as a "defund the police" movement that was supported by many Democrats.
Democrats have cooled on that idea since a plan to restructure the Minneapolis police department was handily rejected by voters in 2021, but Craig’s openly supportive stance toward police is uncommon among Democrats.
An aide to Craig said she was the first member of the Minnesota delegation to publicly oppose the ballot initiative to restructure the Minneapolis police department. She supported bipartisan legislation to boost officers’ access to disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder, which President Biden signed into law last month.
In January, she sponsored a bill providing $50 million in grants for small and mid-sized police forces for training, equipment, and personnel support, including mental health resources. That legislation was supported by Republicans and Democrats, as well as the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Troopers Coalition.
Craig has also helped police law enforcement submit federal grants to support hiring and getting officers access to better equipment and technology.
Craig’s resolution would not require new House members to attend a police ride-along. However, it calls on the House Ethics Committee to track compliance and publish the names of members who fail to attend a ride-along on its website and in the Congressional Record.