Minneapolis police and city council members clashed in a debate over whether to call in additional law enforcement agencies from outside departments to help fight crime in the city.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the department is struggling because violent crime in the city has increased 20 percent over last year and about 40 percent over two years ago, KSTP reported.
At a city council meeting on Tuesday, city leaders clashed over proposals to introduce the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit, a move that would cost around $500,000.
“Resources are getting out of hand. Our city is bleeding at this moment. I am trying to do everything in my power to stop this bleeding,” said Arradondo.
City Council member Steve Fletcher asked how an additional $500,000 would make a difference when the police have already received $185 million in funds in this year’s budget.
“So we’re going to take a thing that hasn’t worked very well, that hasn’t worked very well against car theft and the increase in violent crime… and say that if we do just five percent more of that, we’re going to move to a better place. I find it hard to understand why this is a good idea,” Fletcher said of the Star Tribune.
“We can go back and forth with the $185 million, but that doesn’t stop the bloodshed that happens in our city every day,” the boss added.
Council member Jeremiah Ellison rejected suggestions that those who oppose the plan to introduce additional patrols are not concerned with the increase in violence in the city.
“What I hear is that we don’t need to put together a strategy. We do not need to draw up a plan. We do not have to create budgetary transparency. Shut up and pay us,” Ellison said.
After the death of George Floyd in May, Minneapolis City Council voted to dissolve the city’s police department and redirect its funds to other social service areas.
This move came as part of plans to reevaluate the city’s “toxic relationship” with the police and to “rebuild public safety systems that will actually keep us safe.
About five months later, the plans have not been implemented, and residents blame the lack of measures and sparse details on what a possible restructuring of the police would look like in view of the increase in gun-related crime in the city.
Minneapolis police are also understaffed, with officers taking leave on the grounds that they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of reporting on the protests that erupted after Floyd’s death.
According to the Star Tribune, the MPD currently has about 120 officers on leave.
The entire city council will vote on Friday on the proposals for additional officers.