MINNEAPOLIS, MN- Just over a month after voters in Minneapolis shot down a proposal to eliminate the city’s police department, The Blaze is reporting that last week, the city approved $191 million for the police department, which restores its funding to nearly the level it was at prior to the George Floyd death.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Saturday:
“Mayor Jacob Frey and the City Council last week agreed to a $1.6 billion budget that includes just over $191 million for the Police Department (MPD), restoring its funding to nearly the level it held before George Floyd was killed in 2020.”
According to the paper, the “urgency faded as crime surged and the ‘defund police’ message became a police liability.”
After the death of Floyd, attributed to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Minneapolis saw a push to defund the department, along with the aforementioned proposal to abolish the department.
All of that changed after Minneapolis experienced a crime wave of near epic proportions, a malady suffered by a host of Democrat-run cities across the country.
Last June, nine of the city council’s members out of thirteen voted to begin the process of dismantling the police department.
“We are here today to begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating a new, transformative model for cultivating safety in Minneapolis,” the council wrote in June 2020, only weeks after Floyd’s death.
Just days later, the council passed a resolution in which they declared “the intent to create a transformative new model for cultivating safety” for the Minneapolis PD.
Only a few months later, by September of last year, violent crime in the city spiked, along with property crimes. Arson increased by 55% compared to the same time period in 2019.
The crime increase occurred while at the same time, some 100 police officers quit the department in the first nine months of 2020.
As time went on, Minneapolis city leaders began to realize the error of their ways, and by February of this year, the city council voted unanimously to allocate an additional $6.4 million in funding to the police department as crime in the city exploded.
In May, the city’s feckless mayor Jacob Frey (D) who had been an advocate of defunding the department changed course and was forced to admit that limiting law enforcement had caused the spike in violent crime.
“It’s just the reality of the situation, you know,” Frey said. “When you make big, overarching statements that we’re going to defund or abolish and dismantle the police department and get rid of all the officers, there’s an impact to that. We need accountability and culture shift within our department, and we need police.”
“It’s going to take a very comprehensive effort,” Frey continued. “Yes, it includes safety beyond policing, and it includes police. And, you know, I’m one that has been working lock step with our Chief Arradondo, and I’m calling on the council members to try to work with him as well.”
In approving the additional appropriation to the police department’s budget, some city council members complained about it, yet remained silent, unlike last year, when a number of them insisted on taking money out of the police budget and directing it elsewhere.
“There wasn’t more of that type of action because there wasn’t the political will, really, to do so,” said councilor Phillipe Cunningham, who lost his reelection bid last month.
It was Cunningham who actually helped push the defunding effort last year and direct the funding into violence prevention and similar programs.
The increase in police funding was met with relief by some community groups in Minneapolis, who saw it as confirmation that elected officials were willing to abide by campaign promises to boost funding for the police, as well as other public safety services, such as the Office of Violence Prevention, which received $11.3 million in funding.
One individual who was pleased with the funding increase was Steve Cramer, president of the Downtown Council and one who spoke in favor of increasing the police budget.
“This vote is a first step on a long road back from the division over public safety that has characterized the past 18 tumultuous months in Minneapolis,” Cramer said.
Not everyone in Minneapolis was happy, including some activists who viewed it as ignoring so-called “lessons learned” after Floyd’s death, while directing too much money into a department which they claim has a history of racial issues.
“I think many people in Minneapolis feel dismayed,” said Kenza Hadj-Moussa, according to Star Tribune.
Hadj-Moussa, a spokeswoman for TakeAction Minnesota, a progressive organization continued, “What we’ve seen [is], year after year, no matter what’s happening with crime, the MPD always demands more resources.”
Cunningham, along with Council President Lisa Bender and member Steve Fletcher advocated a “Safety for All” budget, which looked to move about $8 million from the mayor’s police budget to other services, specifically those focused on mental health and violence prevention.
Last month, Minneapolis voters overwhelmingly voted to reject the ballot measure which would have eliminated the police department and replaced it with a department of public safety. After that vote went down in flames, budget negotiations opened up just two weeks later.
The “dismantle the police department” activists dominated the final budget hearings, the Star Tribune said, with many asking the city council to block Frey’s proposed budget increase to the budget as opposed to cutting it.
The activists are also insisting on having racial discrimination investigations into the department work in a parallel fashion, with one activist claiming to have collected some 1,500 accounts of people’s interactions with the Minneapolis PD.
Dave Bicking of Communities United Against Police Brutality said, “I the mayor and the City Council have circled the wagons, and nothing is going to change unless they are forced to.”
Four council members voted against the budget, complaining about the increase to the police budget. Two councilors proposed a $3.75 million measure which would “boost mental health services, interrupt cycles of violence and evaluate which 911 calls could be handled by other agencies.”
That money will not come from the police budget but instead from the city’s general fund.
“Those of us who have stepped into leadership around public safety have had to deal with the worst backlashes and harassment and the biggest hits so folks, after a really tough election, there just wasn’t the will to do so, to fight such a major increase,” Cunningham said.
Frey joined in with the council, telling councilors he supported the programs they were seeking to boost, however suggested them to use federal aid instead. The city’s top financial officer had cautioned that depleting the city’s general fund would likely violate financial policies requiring a budget reserve.
The Star Tribune said that despite disagreements over the budget, Frey and city councilors had expressed support for expanding violence prevention programs.
“Nothing is more in flux right now in our city than our public safety needs, and our ways to address them have to be this both-and approach,” said Council Member Linea Palmisano, who was reelected last month.
For more on the ballot measure to dismantle the department, we invite you to read our prior reporting on that.
But they learned that they did not have the authority to do so without a ballot measure.
The question as to whether to defund the agency or not was posed to voters this year, and almost 60 percent of those voters called for keeping the agency as-is.
QUESTION 2 FAILS: Minneapolis voters have rejected a ballot question to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new department of public safety: https://t.co/IJVjbjDTY8 pic.twitter.com/TWI6JZrboi
— FOX 9 (@FOX9) November 3, 2021
The voters were asked whether or not the police department should remain the same or be reimagined in what was referred to as question two on the ballot.
The specific question that was posed was if the city charter, which mandates a police department, should be changed and replaced with what was termed as a Department of Public Safety.
If the proposal would have passed, the Minneapolis Police Department would have ceased to exist. There would have been no requirements for the city to provide a certain number of police officers based upon the city’s population. The proposal stated:
“The Department of Public Safety is responsible for integrating its public safety functions into a comprehensive public health approach to safety, including licensed peace officers if necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the department.
“Commissioner of Public Safety Department. (a) The Mayor nominates and the City Council appoints a commissioner of the department of public safety.”
— Crooked Media (@crookedmedia) November 4, 2021
One of the groups that were pushing the measure, Yes 4 Minneapolis, in their push for voters to pass the now failed proposal, claimed that this measure would not abolish the police force in the city. Per their website:
“[Abolishing] has been a lie perpetuated by the handful of very wealthy and powerful people who want to keep the Police Federation stronghold on the city through the city charter…
— Eric Chaloux (@EricChalouxKSTP) November 3, 2021
“The people of Minneapolis agree that there are certain situations where it is necessary for a well-trained and disciplined police officer to respond to a situation…We also know that the majority of situations where people need help, a police officer is not the appropriate response.”
While the supporters of the bill are disappointed that their measure did not pass, they may believe it is because of what they claim are lies that this measure would have led to the abolishing of the police force.
One of the supporters, JaNae Bates, said they would push forward to find a way to transform the police department. She said alleges that the agency has a well-documented history that includes corruption and murder.
Because of this, Bates said:
“Maintaining the status quo by voting no means that we’ll continue to have a city that will devolve.”
Those who were against the measure, like Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Senator Tina Smith, and Democratic Governor Tim Walz all were against it. When the measure failed, Minnesota State Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller said:
“Defunding the police was never a good idea, and I’m happy the residents of Minneapolis have made it clear they are not on board with the anti-police rhetoric.
A professional, trained, and properly staffed police force is crucial in keeping communities safe. Law enforcement is an increasingly challenging profession, and I’m grateful for the men and women who serve and protect our communities.”
Bill Rodriguez, the co-founder for Operation Safety Now, also was concerned about the changes proposed regarding the police force. Rodriguez was thankful the measure failed and said:
“Tonight is a victory for sanity and common sense in Minneapolis. Of course, there’s work to do on how we approach public safety, but the notion that we can do it without police, or with a skeleton crew of officers, is fantasy.”
Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters? Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you. Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories. Click to check it out.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Tuesday, October 26th, the Pew Research Center released a new poll that revealed that Americans’ opinions on defunding the police have changed drastically since 2020.
The share of adults who say spending on policing in their area should be increased now stands at 47 percent, up rom 31 percent in June 2020.
That data includes 21 percent who say funding for their local police should be increased a lot, up from 11 percent who said the same thing during summer 2020.
The poll also reported that support for defunding the police has fallen significantly with 15 percent of adults now saying spending should be decreased, down from 25 percent in 2020. Additionally, only 6 percent now advocate decreasing spending a lot, down from 12 percent who said the same in 2020.
At the same time, 37 percent of adults now say spending on police should stay about the same, down from 42 percent in 2020.
The survey found that black Americans and Democrats have changed their opinion on reducing police spending for local law enforcement more than white, Hispanic, or Republican adults.
According to the survey, the share of black people polled who advocate decreasing police spending in their communities dropped 19 percentage points, from 42 percent to 23 percent between June 2020 and September 2021.
Pew Research said that number included a 13-point drop in the share who said funding should be decreased a lot, from 22 percent in 2020 to nine percent in 2021. According to reports, the poll showed that the most notable drops in support were among black adults and people age 18 to 49.
Both of those demographics had plurality support when Pew asked the same question in June 2020 about police funding.
The survey also showed the share of Democrats who think local police funding should be decreased dropped similarly from 41 percent in June of 2020 to 25 percent now.
The survey showed that black and Hispanic Democrats were more likely than white Democrats to advocate for increased spending on police in their area.
The Pew poll showed 38 percent of black Democrats surveyed and 39 percent of Hispanic Democrats polled wanted to actually increase spending on their local police. However, only 32 percent of white Democrats wanted to see an increase in spending on police in their area.
Pew said there was no significant difference in race or the ethnicities of those who advocated for decreased spending on police. Sixty-four percent of white Republicans and 53 percent of Hispanic Republicans support increasing spending on local police.
Pew Research Center said its poll showed that the age gap in views on police funding has widened in the past year, mainly because “views have shifted more dramatically among those ages 50 and older.”
The share of adults 50 and older who want to increase police spending has jumped 22 percentage points, from 37 percent to 59 percent, since June 2020. However, the share of adults under 50 who want to increase police spending only increased by 10 percent, from 26 percent to 36 percent.
The research indicated that there is a drop in support for defunding police in both age groups. The survey results said:
“Both age groups have see a drop-off in support for reduced spending on local police. These age patterns are similar among white and black adults, as well as across parties.”
Pew’s latest research found:
“Americans’ changing attitudes about police spending in their area have occurred amid rising public concern about violent crime.”
Sixty-one percent of adults said violent crime was a “very big problem in the country today” in July, up from 58 percent in April 2020. In June 2020, only 41 percent of adults said crime was a “very big problem.”
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.