The Minneapolis City Council voted to defund the police department after George Floyd’s death. To the shock of no one, crime went up in the city after many left during the protests.

Now the city council approved spending $6.4 million to hire more police officers.

Remember when Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender claimed the ability to call the police over a robbery “comes from a place of privilege?”

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

From the Star Tribune:

Minneapolis police said they began the year with 817 officers on their payroll, 60 fewer than the previous year. But, only 638 officers are currently available to work, the department said. Some officers resigned or retired early in the year, while another 155 remain on some form of extended leave.

With the new recruit classes, the city expects it will have 674 officers available to work at the end of the year, and another 28 working their way through the hiring process at that time.

An unprecedented number of officers quit or went on an extended medical leave — many for PTSD claims — after Floyd’s death, rioting that led to the burning of a police precinct, and calls to end the city’s Police Department.

Citizens have begged the city council and other leaders to hire more cops. With so few, many have seen longer response times to reported crimes.

The city council began to change course in September.

In December, the members did not completely defund the police, but moved $8 million from the department “toward violence prevention, mental health response and other programs.”

The council also formed the Public Safety Staffing Reserve Fund. They gave it $11.4 million for overtime and recruit classes, but “can only be released with additional council approval.”

The city council voted to release the $6.4 million on Friday night.

Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo want to change the hiring process:

Days before the City Council vote, Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo promised to update the application process for police recruits to include questions about whether they have lived in Minneapolis, have degrees in criminology, social work, psychology or counseling, and whether they volunteer or participate in programs such as the Police Activities League.

But groups have not stopped pressuring the city to replace the department with a “public safety department:”

Meanwhile, three City Council members have proposed replacing the police department with a public safety department that would include law enforcement and other services. Yes 4 Minneapolis, a coalition of local community groups, is also collecting signatures to try to get a similar proposal on the November ballot.

The Star Tribune reported the Yes 4 Minneapolis committee is being fueled by a half-million dollar grant from the Washington, D.C.-based group Open Society Policy Center, linked to billionaire George Soros.

The petition would remove police department language from the city’s charter and create a public health-focused Department of Public Safety, “including licensed peace officers if necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the department.”

 

 
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