Minneapolis, MN – The city council that voted to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department now wants to pay to bring in extra officers from other law enforcement agencies to help tackle the city’s spike in violent crime.
Minneapolis police officials have been shuffling people around to fill gaping holes left since roughly 20 percent of the officers filed for “duty disability” in the wake of violent riots after George Floyd died in police custody.
Almost 200 officers have sought “duty disability” to leave the Minneapolis Police Department and cited the reason as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the riots.
Fifty of the officers who have claimed disability were present when the 3rd Precinct was overrun by rioters on May 28 and burned to the ground, according to KMSP.
Attorney Ron Meuser, who is representing the officers seeking disability, said the siege of the 3rd Precinct was the tipping point for the many of the officers.
“They did not feel they were going to come home,” Meuser told KMSP.
He said some officers texted their goodbyes to their families and others said they had planned to save a bullet for themselves that night rather than being beaten to death by the mob.
The attorney said many of the Minneapolis officers he represents feel abandoned by their local leaders as well as the communities they’ve served for years, KMSP reported.
Meuser said that most of the officers seeking disability have between 16 and 23 years on the police force.
In October, a group of Minneapolis residents filed a lawsuit against the city for failing to have enough police officers on the streets to keep their neighborhoods safe.
The Minneapolis police chief has also blamed the staffing shortfall on record numbers of veteran officer retirements over the past few months.
So the same Policy & Government Oversight Committee that tried to change the city council charter to eliminate the police department altogether a few months ago is considering a plan on Tuesday to bring in more cops to make the city safe again, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
And since they don’t have enough officers anymore to cover patrol shifts and respond to 911 calls about violent crime, their solution is to borrow from other departments.
“We’re barely able to cover the shifts that we have,” Minneapolis City Councilmember Linea Palmisano told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We really can’t allocate additional police officers for on-duty shifts.”
The plan is to borrow Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies and Minneapolis Metro Transit Police Department officers to help respond to violent 911 calls.
“We’re not gonna be having these people out taking bicycle theft reports. These are going to be people out combating crime issues,” Minneapolis Police Department Spokesman John Elder explained.
The proposal calls for the formation of Joint Enforcement Teams (JET) to help fill the gaps where Minneapolis police have a staffing shortage, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The city would pay the other agencies for their officers an estimated $497,000 out of the city’s contingency fund to get the additional police coverage for the remainder of the fiscal year.
The committee was expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday and then it would go before the city council and the mayor on Friday for approval, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
If approved, the borrowed law enforcement officers would begin responding to 911 calls in Minneapolis on Nov. 15.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has said he would support the initiative.
Palmisano said she hoped the supplementary police coverage would also be built into the 2021 city budget that will be voted on next month, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Violent crime has surged in the city in the past six months, starting with the riots over the death of Floyd that began the last week of May.
There have been 74 homicides already this year, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
There were 48 homicides total in Minneapolis in 2019.