(The Center Square) — Ramped-up security during the three weeks of Derek Chauvin’s trial cost taxpayers nearly $3 million, the Minneapolis Police Department said Thursday.
Citing unexpected costs, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo asked the Minneapolis City Council for an additional $5 million.
The MPD has 632 active sworn officers, down from 845 one year ago — a 25% drop — to protect the 425,000-person city that’s fighting spiking violent crime.
Many of those roughly 220 officers are still employed by MPD and are paid by sick, vacation, or workers’ compensation for physical or mental injuries.
Council Member Steve Fletcher asked why the city didn’t have enough payroll savings to cover overtime costs.
“We’re going to need help understanding where the money is going,” Fletcher said.
Minneapolis received $271 million in federal American Rescue Plan money, but the city council must approve most spending. In 2020, some Minneapolis city council members pushed for defunding the police. It’s unclear what compromise stands between the city council and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has opposed defunding the police.
Frey is seeking to use $11.5 million of federal stimulus to bring in outside agencies to stop doubled violent crime rates, including homicides, shootings, and carjackings. Police say at least 19 children have been injured by gunfire in 2021, accounting for 11% of all victims.
Under Frey’s proposal, MPD would receive the following funds:
- $1.4 million to contract with outside agencies to help with criminal investigations
- $1.4 million to unfreeze 13 civilian administrative and support positions
- $250,000 for overtime to staff 12 additional shifts in crime hotspots
- $640,000 for fixed and portable cameras to install in hotspot areas
- $1.8 million to train community service officers
City Council President Lisa Bender pushed back, pointing out outside police forces don’t have to follow city law enforcement rules such as wearing body cameras.
“What happens when we are contracting with outside law enforcement agencies?” Bender asked. “How does the chain of command work? Who’s in charge? Who determines how those resources are used?”
It’s been an expensive two years for Minneapolis taxpayers. The first riots after the death of George Floyd in police custody caused about $500 million worth of damage. Taxpayers footed nearly $12 million out of a disaster contingency fund to rebuild some of Hennepin County. The first National Guard riot response cost almost $13 million.
Two months after the death of George Floyd, 200 police officers out of the roughly 850 MPD officers filed paperwork to leave their jobs with the department. Now, an attorney says the city settlement cost for first responders claiming physical or mental harm could top $35 million.