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Minneapolis’ 517 sworn police officers must protect 425,000 people

(The Center Square) – Minneapolis’ 517 police officers must protect 425,000 Minneapolis residents and some say that is not enough.

Sherral Schmidt, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, told The Center Square 517 officers are available for work to protect 425,000 city residents.

While the Minneapolis Police Department is authorized 888 officers, it’s funded for 731 officers. Even if each officer worked simultaneously, that person would have to protect 823 residents.

The Minneapolis Police Department declined to comment and pointed The Center Square to the mayor’s office. Mayor Jacob Frey hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment about police staffing.

In 2018, there were 892 sworn officers. A city crime dashboard notes 6,066 motor vehicle thefts, 7,242 assaults, 8,481 larcenies and 5,056 shots fired in 2023.

In 2022, the dashboard notes 4,248 motor vehicle thefts, 7,095 assaults, 11,010 larcenies, and 7,233 shots fired in 2022.

Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson, representing the 12th Ward, said the city needs more police.

“I think we need more officers, which is why we’ve allocated funding to get the numbers up,” Johnson told The Center Square in an email. “But as I am guessing you know, there are challenges with hiring nationwide, and MN is no exception. We’ve even boosted compensation somewhat recently and are trying different strategies to hire more officers.”

Federal data from the Department of Justice reported a 34% drop in MPD officers between 2019 and 2023.

The staffing troubles follow three years after former MPD officers killed George Floyd, which resulted in months of riots, more than $500 million of property damage, and the burning of the Third police precinct.

In 2020, the Minneapolis City Council voted to divert $6 million from the police to public safety and reduced the force’s authorized size from 888 to 750 – a 15.5% reduction.

In June 2020, a majority of members promised to dismantle the police department and replace it with another form of public safety after more than 500 people were shot in 2020 – a 15-year high. About 499 people were shot in 2022, data says.

In June 2023, the Department of Justice said the Minneapolis Police Department and the city engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct violating the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The DOJ, city and MPD entered a court-enforceable consent decree with an independent monitor. The DOJ found the MPD

  • Uses excessive force, including unjustified deadly force and unreasonable use of tasers;
  • Unlawfully discriminates against Black people and Native American people in its enforcement activities, including the use of force following stops;
  • Violates the rights of people engaged in protected speech; and
  • discriminates against people with behavioral health disabilities when responding to calls for assistance.

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