Minneapolis mayor can’t think of a city with ‘fewer officers per capita’

Facing reelection in November, Frey said he supports a "both-and" approach to public safety. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks at the Minnesota DFL's 2018 election party. (Lorie Shaull/Flickr)

Mayor Jacob Frey said during a recent campaign event that he can’t think of another major city with “fewer officers per capita” than Minneapolis.

“We already had one of the lowest numbers of officers per capita of any major city in the country. And then we lost a third of our department. As far as I can tell, I can’t find another city that has fewer officers per capita than we do. And there are consequences to that,” Frey said during an event last week at Farwell Park, according to a video he posted on Facebook.

Frey opposes the current ballot initiative to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a department of public safety. That effort, backed by a group called Yes 4 Minneapolis, was kick-started by a single $500,000 donation from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Policy Center.

Facing reelection in November, Frey said he supports a “both-and” approach to public safety.

“Not every call requires response from an officer with a gun, and you also need response from an officer,” he said. “It means yes, safety beyond policing, yes accountability, and simultaneously you need to make sure the department is properly staffed.”

The Minneapolis Police Department started 2021 with about 200 fewer police officers than it had at the beginning of last year. Hennepin County District Judge Jamie Anderson agrees with Frey’s assessment and recently ordered the city to hire more police, as is mandated by the city charter.

According to Anderson’s order, Minneapolis estimates that it will have 669 sworn officers by this time next year — a projection that falls “significantly below” the required number of officers.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety revealed last week that 2020 was the worst year on record for homicides in Minnesota. In Minneapolis, there were 82 murders, the third-worst year in city history.