Despite calls for Minneapolis to defund their police department following the death of George Floyd, the city has unanimously approved to allot $6.4 million dollars in funds to the police department in order to hire more officers.
Fox News reported that the Minneapolis City Council made the decision on February 12, due to an increase in violent crime and slower officer response times. Residents apparently “begged” the police department to hire more officers, according to a Star Tribune report, which caused the city to backtrack on their intentions to defund the police.
The decision to refund the department marks a reversal of the city’s December decision to divert $8 million away from the police budget, which was made during a time when the city was experiencing a significant increase in crime. With violent crime and property crime both soaring over the last year, it seems residents couldn’t take it anymore.
Following the death of George Floyd and the anti-police sentiment it generated, the department has struggled to find new recruits, and an “unprecedented” number of officers have resigned or are on medical leave due to PTSD, significantly weakening the department and rendering them ineffective at responding to crime.
By the end of the year, the city plans to bulk up their force from 638 to 674, with another 28 recruits in the hiring process. Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arrodondo have promised to update the department’s application process to include questions that will help select officers who are in touch with the community and are socially conscious.
According to the Star Tribune, three City Council Members — Phillipe Cunningham, Steve Fletcher and Schroeder — are looking to replace the police department with a public safety department that includes police and other services, and would remove the mayor’s “complete power” over city police.
In addition, Yes 4 Minneapolis, a coalition of Black-led local community groups, is also petitioning for a similar proposal on the November ballot. The Yes 4 Minneapolis committee, according to the Star Tribune, received a half-million-dollar grant from the George Soros-linked, Washington D.C.–based Open Society Policy Center.
The petition, according to the Fox News report, seeks to replace the police department with a “public safety department” focused on public health and safety, and includes (if necessary), “licensed peace officers to fulfil the responsibilities of the department.” They hope to get over 20,000 signatures by April.
President Biden acknowledged that part of the reason why Democrats lost in November 3 congressional races was due to defunding the police rhetoric. He said, “That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country, saying that we’re talking about defunding the police.”