(RepublicanInformer.com)- It seems as if the Minneapolis government won’t be defunding the police after all.
Last week, the City Council unanimously approved spending an additional $6.4 million to hire police officers. The police department said it has approximately 200 fewer police officers available for work. There are 638 officers available to work for the department right now, after many either quit or have taken extended medial leave after George Floyd was killed while in police custody last spring.
Following the incident, some members of City Council were calling for the police department to be defunded. They were joined in that messaging from other Democratic lawmakers in the state as well as civil rights and activist groups.
But, when it came time to actually act and not just spread rhetoric, some of those same City Council members caved and agreed to spend millions of dollars to beef up the police force. The police department now say it will have about 674 officers available to work by the end of 2021, with an additional 28 going through the hiring process.
Floyd’s death in May set off a wave of protests and unrest in the city of Minneapolis. Eventually, that unrest spread to other parts of the country, too.
One of the popular responses to the calls for racial equality and the protests against police brutality was to defund the police department. Liberal city governments across the country started discussing removing funding from their police departments and giving that money to other enforcement offices.
At the same time, there was plenty of backlash to that movement. Many residents actually believed that cities such as Minneapolis should hire more police officers, as response times decreased significantly while violence crimes increased.
In Minneapolis, what they have decided to do is increase funding to hire much-needed officers while also changing some of the hiring policies. For example, Medaria Arradondo, the city’s police chief, along with Mayor Jacob Frey said they’d update the police recruit application process. Applicants will now be asked whether they’ve lived in the city; whether they have a degree in social work, counseling, psychology and/or criminology; and whether they participate in or volunteer for programs such as the Police Activities League.
Amelia Huffman, the city’s deputy police chief, said the department hopes changes such as these “will help us to really feel confident that we are recruiting the kinds of candidates we want right from the beginning.”
Still, there are some who are hoping to eventually forge ahead with the defund the police movement. Three members of the City Council proposed replacing the police department completely with a public safety department that could include not only law enforcement but other services as well.
A local community group coalition, called Yes 4 Minneapolis, is trying to collect signatures to get a proposal similar to that on November’s ballot. That group is being financially backed by ultra-liberal billionaire George Soros. Open Society Policy Center, a group associated with Soros, gave a $500,000 grant to the Yes 4 Minneapolis to try to help them collect 20,000 signatures by the end of March.