Gang Strike Force reform bill passes in House

A bill designed to make sure scandals like the one at the now-defunct Metro Gang Strike Force never happen again passed the state House of Representatives last night and appears headed for final approval from the Legislature.

The bill, authored by DFL-er Rep. Michael Paymar, outlines a bevy of changes that would provide oversight for gang and drug task forces around the state.

It bill also eliminates the advisory board for the now-defunct group, and creates a new oversight committee responsible for setting the agenda and strategy for the state's drug and gang task forces. Members of the council would include the state Attorney General, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, four police chiefs and sheriffs, and some public members.

The bill also creates the position of a statewide coordinator in charge of auditing all the task forces and keeping them law-abiding.

For exact language of the bill, click here.

The dysfunction of the Gang Strike Force was the last year's biggest law enforcement scandal. Last July, the Strike Force was shut down amid an FBI probe and allegations that officers took seized money and property for personal use.

A companion bill to Paymar's passed in the Senate on May 8. Next, a group of state legislators will meet to hash out minor differences between the two bills, rushing to wrap up the changes so that the final package can be voted on by May 17th, the last day of the legislative session.

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