The push to defund urban police departments following the wave of social unrest last year appears to be backfiring—especially in the epicenter of the chaos, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The push to defund the police department came in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd while in police custody in May of last year. In the immediate aftermath, the city (along with several others across the nation) were crippled by Black Lives Matter protests that devolved into destructive and violent riots.
As we reported last year, the four-block area where Floyd was apprehended and killed had become a virtually “police-free zone” at the height of the unrest, seeing nearly daily gunshots and lawlessness.
Now, as crime appears to be peaking in the city, the council has done a sharp about-face and is hiring more police.
According to Fox News, the City of Minneapolis walked back its push to defund the Minneapolis Police Department after residents begged the city to hire more officers, complaining of longer response times and increased violent crime.
On Friday, the City Council voted unanimously to approve $6.4 million in additional funding that police had requested.
According to the Star Tribune, the department says it only has 638 officers, a staggering 200 fewer than usual due to the unprecedented number of officers who quit or went on extended medical leave after Floyd’s death.
The city anticipates it will have 674 officers available at the end of the year, with another 28 in the hiring process.
Ahead of the council vote, Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo promised to improve the application process for new police recruits to include questions about whether they have lived in Minneapolis, have degrees in criminology, social work, psychology, or counseling, and whether they volunteer or participate in programs such as the Police Activities League.
Still, three City Council members have proposed replacing the police department with a public safety department that would maintain law enforcement in addition to other services.
I’m not going to say we knew this was going to happen—wait, yes I will. We all knew this was going to happen. We can and should work to ensure we have the best-trained, most professional police force possible, but it is asinine to believe our society can function without them.
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