Minneapolis judge: You have to hire more cops

AP Photo/Jim Mone

It’s already been established that police in Minneapolis have been leaving in droves. That’s been happening at the same time that crime has been steadily rising in the city, making for a seriously unwelcome confluence of events. This led some residents to band together and go to court in an attempt to force the City Council to take action and bring things under control. This week a judge agreed with the plaintiffs in the case and issued an order for the city to hire more cops. That sounds great on paper, but even if the members of the council agree to go along with the plan, they’re going to have to figure out where they will find these new officers and if they can still afford them. (Fox News)

A judge on Thursday ordered Minneapolis to hire more police officers after ruling in favor of a group that had sued the city council over a rise in crime in the city.

“Minneapolis is in a crisis,” the eight plaintiffs connected to the conservative Upper Midwest Law Center wrote in their complaint, citing the rise in shootings and homicides and the violent George Floyd protests, FOX 9 in Minneapolis reported.

While the city is expected to have about 649 officers by next June, Hennepin County District Judge Jamie L. Anderson said the city needs to have at least 730 by June 30, 2022, or .2% of the population after the 2020 Census is published, the station reported.

The Minneapolis PD is already nearly 100 officers short of where they need to be at a bare minimum. And that doesn’t take into account the extra resources required to handle mass disruptions, riots, and increases in both property crimes and violence. They claim they have a plan to bolster the thin blue line by next year, but the judge wants them to do considerably more than that.

The court case in question was strengthened by the fact that the need for more cops isn’t only being driven by the lawlessness in the streets. The judge noted that the city is currently in violation of its own charter.

According to the city’s charter, it must fund a police force of at least .0017 employees per resident. City attorneys argued the charter refers to the most recent decennial census, which would still be the 2010 census. However, the filing states attorneys for both the petitioners and the city agreed to have the court use the census’s 2019 population estimate of 429,606.

As I mentioned above, the judge’s order may give some residents cause for hope, but this isn’t the sort of thing that the City Council can just make happen by snapping their fingers, assuming they even feel like cooperating. (The city is reportedly “reviewing the order.”) Many of the police officers who have left attributed their decisions to the anti-police atmosphere both out in the streets and on the City Council. How many qualified candidates are going to be looking to take a position under those conditions?

Even if the council agrees in principle, they’ve already cut the police budget as part of the “defunding” push. On top of that, municipal revenues have been down because of the pandemic, as they are in many cities. They’re not rolling in cash at the moment and restoring their police department to proper working order won’t be cheap. Unless they’ve got some of that pandemic relief money laying around, they may have to find alternate sources of revenue.

It’s easy enough to lay the blame for this mess on the City Council of Minneapolis as well as the various rioters and criminals in the street. But perhaps the plaintiffs in this lawsuit should be turning their attention to their neighbors as well. They are the ones who keep electing the same people to the Council and the Mayor’s office time after time. If enough people wanted to restore law and order in the streets, they should have voted accordingly well before now.