Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis residents voted on Tuesday to keep the Minneapolis Police Department.
If the amendment to the city charter had passed, the police department would have been replaced by a Department of Public Safety geared far more toward a public health approach than law enforcement, WCCO reported.
Opponents of abolishing the Minneapolis police said that the proponents of the measure to do away with the police department had no concrete plan for establishing its replacement, the Associated Press reported.
Had it passed, the amendment required Minneapolis to replace its police department within 30 days, WCCO reported.
The vote count on Nov. 2, with 136 precincts reporting, was more than 80,506 votes against the amendment to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and 62,813 votes for changing the city charter.
That amounted to the proposed amendment failing by 57 percent to 44 percent, FOX News reported.
It requires more than 51 percent of the vote in order to pass an amendment to the city charter, WCCO reported.
The city charter requires the city to have a police department and dictates how many officers are required based on the city’s population.
Crime has skyrocketed in the city in the time since George Floyd died as he was being arrested by the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020.
Since that time, Minneapolis police have been accused of a pattern of racism and excessive force and the whole department is currently under investigation by U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
But a poll of Minneapolis voters in September showed that black residents of Minnesota’s biggest city did not want to see their police department dismantled.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy surveyed 800 registered, likely voters in the city of Minneapolis between Sept. 9 and Sept. 13 and found that 51 percent of white voters supported replacing the police department, but only 42 percent of black voters agreed, KARE reported.
Some Minneapolis residents filed suit against the city in October of 2020 for failing to have enough police officers to protect the citizens.
“I kind of trembled a little bit in the voting booth today because I live in one of the neighborhoods most impacted by crime and violence… and knew the correlation between the lack of policing and good policing,” Sondra Samuels, one of the Minneapolis residents who was part of the lawsuit, told FOX News. “We can have reform and we can have enough police to keep our children, our elderly safe. So this was a win tonight.”
Samuels said that four people in her neighborhood have been victims of gun violence and several neighbors have put their homes on the market to get out of the area.
Advocates of the change have insisted that replacing the Minneapolis police with a public safety department wasn’t about defunding the police department, FOX News reported.
“I am disappointed that people appear to be coming from a place of fear,” Erica Mauter, a Minneapolis resident who supported the measure, said after the results were in.
“When we’re uncertain about the future or when change feels tenuous, we want to go back to what made us feel comfortable and to what we already know,” Mauter said. “We have to challenge ourselves to have some imagination about different paths to a safer Minneapolis.”
The shortage of officers to patrol the city has continued to be a growing problem.
The Minneapolis Police Department had only 591 sworn officers left as of Oct. 9, FOX News reported.
Police data showed that in 2018, there were 853 sworn officers on the police force.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is seeking a $27 million budget boost from the city to address the “staggering” number of officers who have left the department amidst the surge in violent crime, WCCO reported.
It’s not the first time the city council has been forced to address funding shortfalls as crime spiked in Minneapolis in the wake of defunding efforts.
In November of 2020, the city started borrowing police officers from other nearby departments at a cost of $497,000 to the taxpayers at the same time they continued to defund their own police force.
In February, the council voted to spend $6.4 million to recruit and train more officers.