Minneapolis is reportedly considering bringing in supplemental police officers to assist the city’s police department as the city deals with an uptick in violent crime and a shortage of officers after a large number left during the unrest that gripped the city over the summer.
Officers from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit Police would work with the Minneapolis Police Department to combat violent crime specifically if the proposal is approved by Mayor Jacob Frey and City Council, the Star Tribune reported Monday.
The mayor has indicated his support for the plan, which is projected to cost the city nearly $497,000.
The officers would be part of Joint Enforcement Teams with city police that would form by November 15 and remain in operation through the end of the year, according to the plan.
“We’re not gonna be having these people out taking bicycle theft reports. These are going to be people out combating crime issues,” John Elder, a spokesman for Minneapolis police, told the paper.
The proposed plan to call in additional officers comes as the city grapples with a surge in violence crime as well as a thinning police force after many officers left the department in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the unrest that followed, some officers filing PTSD claims. Floyd, a black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, including after Floyd passed out.
Violent crime is up in Minneapolis more than 20 percent compared to this time last year, according to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. The department is also bracing for about $12 million in cuts.
After Floyd’s death, the city faced mounting calls to overhaul and defund the police department. The Minneapolis City Council in June announced that a veto-proof majority had voted to dissolve the department, a proposal opposed by both the mayor and Arradondo.
The mayor has called for “sweeping structural reform” of the department but has resisted calls to defund the city’s police force.