What do cities do when murders suddenly rocket up by over 50% and carjackings by 537%? Here in Minneapolis, the city council cuts police spending by $8 million. Believe it or not, this deal is actually the good news, as the council initially wanted to cap the force at 750 employees — far below its currently authorized 888, a move stymied by Mayor Jacob Frey’s veto threat..
Police can come back and request funds for two new recruitment classes starting next year … assuming they can find anyone who’d want to join law enforcement here:
The Minneapolis City Council passed a budget early Thursday that moves about $8 million from the Police Department to other services — but preserves its plan to hire more officers in future years.
The late change to the department’s staffing projections, passed along a narrow 7-6 vote, does not change the number of officers who will work in 2021. The move, instead, avoided a political showdown with Mayor Jacob Frey.
The city expects a monthly average of 770 police officers will work in 2021, if council agrees to release funding for some recruit classes.
The City Council had initially planned to drop the force’s authorized size to 750 officers starting in 2022, but reversed course late Wednesday. Frey, who sought to keep the current target level of 888, had said he was considering vetoing the budget because he was concerned about “the massive permanent cut to officer capacity” in future years.
The cash will get redirected into social programs, notably “de-escalation efforts.” That will certainly be useful when residents get guns pointed in their faces while having their cars stolen in broad daylight.
Part of the money cut from the budget covered overtime costs, which have risen substantially this year. That is because the department has suffered a 20% loss of manpower over the last six months, police chief Medaria Arradondo explained, forcing police officers to stretch their schedules to cover the gaps:
About $5 million of that money came from cuts to a budget for police overtime — a move that Police Chief Medaria Arradondo had strongly discouraged, calling overtime a “necessity” for the department as it copes with staffing shortages and prepares for the trial of the four former police officers charged in Floyd’s death.
The department had been funded for about 880 officers in 2020. But Arradondo told council members Monday that, as of Dec. 1, the agency was down 166 officers — some of whom have permanently left the force and others who have been out on long-term medical leave, many citing post-traumatic stress disorder from the civil unrest that erupted after Floyd’s death.
In other words, the city plans to cut overtime in the middle of … [checks notes] … a huge staffing crisis and a massive crime wave. Just to remind everyone of the latter:
Homicides in Minneapolis are up more than 50 percent, with nearly 80 people killed across the city so far this year. Nearly 530 people have been shot, the highest number in more than a decade and twice as many as in 2019. And there have been more than 4,600 violent crimes — including hundreds of carjackings and robberies — a five-year high.
Yeah, this is a great time to cut the law-enforcement budget. And once again, the city council talked about alternatives to policing but without any real plan in place, let alone evidence that their innovations would do anything to curtail the crime wave city residents are now experiencing. That was too much for one participant in the council meeting:
Doug Tanner, a resident of South Minneapolis, told council members his wife had been carjacked, robbed and assaulted.
“The fact that this council does not even acknowledge there is a problem is irresponsible,” he said. “The crime rate is at an all-time high, and you want less cops on the street. Where does common sense come into the equation?”
Perhaps the answer to that is with the voters who elected these clowns to office in the first place. Minneapolis got the governance they chose — politically correct, hard-Left progressive, and utterly devoid of any sense of accountability for not managing their own public safety responsibilities. Perhaps in the next election, residents will take these choices a bit more seriously.
Update: Edited headline for more context.