The City of Minneapolis will spend $6.4 million to employ more police officers after a large number of cops left the department following the killing of George Floyd.
On Friday (Feb. 12), the City Council voted unanimously to approve the additional funding. According to ABC News, the department says they only have 638 officers who are available to work — which is 200 fewer than usual. REVOLT previously reported that nearly 200 officers applied to leave the force last summer. Typically, about 45 officers leave the force every year, but about 65 officers had already left the department in July.
With their new recruit classes, the city wants to have 674 officers available to work at the end of the year, with an additional 45 people participating in the hiring process. A few days before the City Council vote, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey vowed to update the application process for 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,” according to the outlet.
Deputy Police Chief Amelia Huffman says the change “will help us to really feel confident that we are recruiting the kinds of candidates we want right from the beginning.”
Several City Council members proposed replacing the police department with a public safety department. Yes 4 Minneapolis, a coalition of local community groups, started a petition to get a similar proposal on the November ballot. They are calling to include “licensed peace officers” to “fulfill the responsibilities of the department.”
“We have a policing system that doesn’t work for us and we need alternatives,” said Rachel Bean, who signed the petition this past weekend. “I’m a social worker and I feel like we have lots of tools that we could try to create more community safety.”