In the wake of a significant increase in crime that has followed cuts to the city’s police presence implemented last summer, the Minneapolis City Council has decided to increase the number of police officers patrolling the city, instead of decreasing it further as some had advocated.
The recruitment plan includes new screening for applicants with college degrees in areas such as psychology, criminology, counseling, and social work.
Deputy Police Chief Amelia Huffman told the Star Tribune she hopes the recruitment change “will help us to really feel confident that we are recruiting the kinds of candidates we want right from the beginning.”
Shortly after the death of George Floyd while in police custody, prominent members of the City Council said they were determined to “dismantle” the police department. After the Council announced it would “begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department,” several officers resigned. After further resignations, the city’s police force now has 200 fewer officers than usual.
“The mass exodus had much to do with the months of anti-police sentiment and riots, which included the ransacking and burning down of the 3rd precinct police station,” writes Paul Sacca for The Blaze.
The city now plans to spend $6.4 million to hire and train new police officers after the rash of resignations, the Star Tribune reports. In addition to all the officers that left the force altogether, 155 remain on extended leave.
City residents begged the lawmakers for more police support, citing the slower response times to reported crimes and an overall increase in violent crime. Other residents supported the idea of eliminating the department, claiming the police force is not effective at reducing crime.
The City Council is running for political cover because Minneapolis has experienced a dramatic increase in crime since the police defunding movement began, the New York Post states.
“Months after caving to riotous mobs, the members of the Minneapolis City Council are complaining about the city’s crime surge and insisting they never really meant it when they voted to defund the police department,” the newspaper’s editorial board writes.
The city’s crime rates have continued their upward trend in 2021. The number of people wounded by gunshot is up by 250 percent this year, reports CBS Minnesota. Rape is up 22 percent, and robberies are up 59 percent over last year.
“Unfortunately, we are following a national trend that no one wants to be a part of,” said Sasha Cotton, director of the Minneapolis Office of Violence Prevention.
The police defunding movement has “exploded in the city’s face,” The Washington Times reports.
“I have 74 people who are no longer alive in this city because they’ve been killed,” Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said. “I’ve got almost 500 people who’ve been shot and wounded in this city. We can talk about re-imagining policing. I’m talking about what is necessary today, in this city, and we need extra resources.”