Minneapolis council members suggest cutting $8 million from mayor’s proposed police budget 

At least 100 officers have left the department this year as the city experiences historical levels of homicides, carjackings and shootings.

From left to right: Council President Lisa Bender, Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, and Council Member Steve Fletcher. Photos from City of Minneapolis

Three Minneapolis City Council members want to cut $8 million from the mayor’s proposed police budget, which already includes a seven percent reduction in funding.

Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposed 2021 budget recommends $178 million for the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), a seven percent decrease from the department’s $193 million 2020 budget, according to the mayor’s proposal.

On Friday, City Council President Lisa Bender along with Council Members Steve Fletcher and Phillipe Cunningham released a “Safety for All Budget Plan.” Their proposal calls for moving roughly $7.9 million out of the mayor’s proposed police budget to initiatives that “provide the right response to calls for help,” “effectively prevent and intervene in cycles of violence,” and “increase resources for civilian-led police accountability.”

Specifically, the proposal wants to use $2.4 million to launch a “non-police 911 mental health crisis response” and “embed mental health professionals in 911.”

Another $1.49 million would be invested in “alternative responses,” such as a “non-police city staff unit to take theft and property reports,” and “coordinated support for people experiencing homelessness.”

Additionally, the proposal wants to spend $2.03 million on an “expanded violence prevention program” and $1.94 million on “neighborhood safety organizing.” The latter would involve transferring “existing crime prevention specialists from MPD to the Neighborhood and Community Relations department” and increasing the “Violence Prevention Fund to invest in community-led violence prevention strategies.”

A final proposal calls for $335,000 to “increase capacity within the Civil Rights Department’s Office of Police Conduct Review to investigate complaints about police officer behavior.”

The funds would primarily come from a $5 million cut in MPD’s overtime budget. Since the proposal transfers “as much as 15% of workload away from MPD,” the “need for overtime” is thereby reduced, the three council members argue.

The plan “preserves the mayor’s proposed 2021 MPD sworn officer staffing level of 770,” but “lowers the authorized sworn force average to 750 in future years.”

The Minneapolis City Council approved spending $500,000 to hire outside police agencies earlier this month after Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo pleaded for additional resources.

At least 100 officers have left the department this year as the city experiences historical levels of homicides, carjackings and shootings.

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