Minneapolis Will Increase Police Force and Budget, Despite Opposition

By Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States (Minneapolis Police Squad Car) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons, Minneapolis, Police,
By Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States (Minneapolis Police Squad Car) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Minneapolis City Council approved a budget Thursday that will set aside $1.3 million to hire 15 new police officers, despite the objections of opponents, reports MPR.

The group Neighborhoods Organized for Change led opposition against the budget. The city council heard from 12 different people advocating for the money to instead be used for crime prevention.

“More money for police isn’t going to help the city,” Meg Riley, a South Minneapolis resident, said reports MPR, “They need to put more money into the community, into the violence prevention, into domestic violence prevention, the mental health issues, and into the community.”

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’ budget for the next year is $1.3 billion in total, reports MPR. That is about 7.7 percent more than in 2016. In order to pay for that, overall property tax collections will also increase by 5.5 percent.

The Police Department will see a total budget increase of $5.2 million, or about three percent. The plan calls for 12 of the new officers to focus on community policing, while the other three will specialize in responding to mental health crises.

At Hodges’ request, the council has also reallocated $100,000 from the city attorney’s office. That money will now be put into the civil rights department. Specifically, it will be investigating what Hodges called an uptick in racial and religious discrimination since President-elect Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November.

“We are in a very divided state in our country and in our world,” Hodges said according to MPR, And this is one of the many things we’re going to need to do to think about how to protect the people we represent here in the city of Minneapolis.”

The money reallocated to the civil rights department will pay for an additional full-time civil rights investigator.