The Minneapolis City Council last week unanimously approved $6.4 million in additional funding for its police department amid an increase in violent crime. The decision comes less than a year after the Council voted to replace its police department with a new system of public safety following the controversial killing of George Floyd.
The police department lost roughly 200 members during the weeks following Floyd’s death. It has just 638 officers available to protect a population of more than 420,000. With added funding, the department plans to have 674 officers in place by the end of the year and roughly 30 recruits in the training process.
Moving forward, the police department will prioritize recruits who have degrees in social work, criminology, psychology, and counseling.
These changes “will help us to really feel confident that we are recruiting the kinds of candidates we want right from the beginning,” says Deputy Police Chief Amelia Huffman.
With approval from the City Council, the police department will also have the option to tap into the newly-created Public Safety Staffing Reserve Fund. This holds roughly $11 million for training and police overtime. The Council has also approved $230,000 for an independent investigation into the city’s response to the protests that followed Floyd’s death.
“The review will help address gaps in service and provide a comprehensive narrative detailing the city’s response to the civil unrest,” said one official.
In the meantime, at least three Council members support a proposal to replace the city’s police department with a public safety force that includes “licensed peace officers.”
This would limit the mayor’s authority to control police operations. With help from a George Soros-funded nonprofit, the “Yes 4 Minneapolis” coalition is collecting signatures in an attempt to add a similar proposal to the November ballot.