Minneapolis' plight: A law-enforcement shortage in the center of "abolish the police"

AP Photo/Jim Mone

The same city that vowed to get rid of its police force in the aftermath of the George Floyd homicide now has begun begging other jurisdictions to send law enforcement officers to help out. Why? Because Minneapolis has “a shortage of officers,” and to no one’s surprise, it’s contributing to an ever-increasing spike in violent crime.

I can remember when the city council made a police shortage official policy:

Minneapolis police are bringing in outside help as they try to temper violence that killed four people this weekend alone, including a college senior who was out celebrating graduation.

Mayor Jacob Frey said the city has asked state and federal agencies for assistance, citing the city’s shortage of officers.

“Safety in our city has to be a priority,” Frey said at a news conference Sunday, calling the reinforcements “really, really critical.”

To be fair, Frey didn’t climb on board the “abolish the police” bandwagon himself. However, the city council didn’t just climb onto the bandwagon, they took over the reins and put the horses to gallop in the wake of Floyd’s death and the riots that followed. The lack of support prompted a wave of nearly 200 retirements, medical leaves, and outright resignations that depleted the Minneapolis PD by as much as 25%.

It wasn’t just all talk, either. The council spent months trying to get around its city charter requiring a police department and a minimum level of staffing, while cutting off funds for new recruitment and training. They refused to specify any new plans for public safety while lecturing people about their “privilege” if they called 911 over property crimes. As a result, violent crime exploded, especially carjackings and homicides.

Even the police reformers are tired of the lack of law enforcement one year after Floyd’s death:

The group has been keeping a vigil outside North Memorial Health Hospital. On Friday night, they heard the “pop, pop, pop” of gunshots coming from the direction of Broadway Avenue, said Randy Ottoson. He’s the grandfather of Trinity Ottoson-Smith, 9, who was shot this month while jumping on a trampoline in a north Minneapolis yard.

“We need more police officers. There is no doubt in my mind,” he said. Ottoson said the city needs need police reform because Black lives matter, but he believes it needs more police on the street, too.

All of this was entirely predictable. The Minneapolis city council decided to abandon its responsibilities and pander to radicals in the wake of the riots. They set an expectation of impunity for criminals, who have responded to those incentives and the lack of effective policing thanks to manpower shortages in the MPD. It will take years to recover from this cycle, and that’s a best case scenario that assumes the voters in Minneapolis start taking their own responsibilities seriously enough to stop electing self-promoting “woke” clowns into office. Bet on a worse-case scenario in the short term.