Plaintiffs in MPD staffing case call budget proposal a step in the right direction

Frey’s budget proposal is likely to face resistance from the City Council’s left-wing members, some of whom want a "city without police."

Representatives from the Upper Midwest Law Center and one of the plaintiffs in the case speak outside Minneapolis City Hall Thursday.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s budget proposal for 2023 and 2024 calls for funding 731 sworn police officers and adding four classes of new recruits each budget year.

A group of Minneapolis residents who sued the city over its failure to properly staff its police department called this a step in the right direction.

The Minnesota Supreme Court sided with the residents earlier this summer, saying the mayor has a clear obligation to employ a minimum of 731 officers, as required by the City Charter.

The mayor’s proposal calls for increasing the police staffing budget by $6.5 million in 2024, investing $8.6 million into overtime expenses, and setting aside $1.5 million for contracting with outside jurisdictions. It would also add five new staff positions to the city attorney’s office to “improve charging decisions made on city criminal cases.”

“We do believe, from the legal perspective, that this step toward restoring Minneapolis’ police force is absolutely necessary for the mayor to uphold his legal duties under the Charter,” said James Dickey of the Upper Midwest Law Center, which represented the eight residents who sued the city.

“They have established firmly that no mayor or city council can defund and dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and leave the most vulnerable open to attack from an emboldened criminal element,” he said during a Thursday press conference outside Minneapolis City Hall.

Frey’s budget proposal is likely to face resistance from the City Council’s left-wing members, some of whom want a “city without police.”

The 731 officers would comply with the minimum requirements of the City Charter but falls well below the MPD’s peak of 888 sworn officers in the summer of 2020.

“Despite all of the good news, Minneapolis continues to suffer from a substantial crime wave. The MPD remains greatly understaffed, far below the Charter’s required 731 officers. And so the question is, how do our legal victories translate into safety for the people of Minneapolis?” Dickey added.

He said the budget proposal represents a stark contrast from just two years ago, when the city “slashed the MPD budget by over $10 million, leading to the canceling of all police academies and the termination of the CSO program, a feeder program for bringing community oriented officers into the MPD.”

Because of this, Dickey said his clients would “certainly encourage greater investment in Minneapolis’ safety than even the mayor has proposed.”

“They fought back against an ideology of defunding, dismantling, and division, which disproportionately harms Minneapolis’ most diverse neighborhoods and hurts those who cannot afford to pay for gated communities and private security,” he said of the plaintiffs. “They have won that fight in the hearts and minds of their fellow residents of the North Side of Minneapolis.”

 

Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and reported for The Daily Caller.