Mpls Community Safety Commissioner answers questions about police staffing

The newly appointed Minneapolis Community Safety Commissioner is responding to questions about how Minneapolis Police are allocating resources. 

On Wednesday, FOX 9 broke down the Minneapolis Police Department's staffing data from over the last three years which suggests despite the fact that the majority of crime is happening during evening hours in some precincts, Minneapolis Police aren't shifting resources to the more demanding parts of the day.

Community Safety Commissioner Dr. Cedric Alexander says MPD is doing the best they can with the resources they have to combat crime within the city. 

"We are constantly roving. We are constantly looking at the data, and the data may hold true for a moment, but then something happens over here, and we are splitting those resources or moving those resources," said Alexander. 

He admits their numbers right now make it virtually impossible for police to prevent crimes from happening and says their current staffing model allows them to respond to situations as they arise. 

"Proactive is not an experience we have an opportunity to do…to really go out and do proactive patrols because it is constantly, constantly reacting," said Alexander. 

At a time when numbers are down, some in the community have raised questions over uniformed officers with squad cars seen patrolling downtown businesses and construction sites during the day. But Alexander says it’s important to look at things in context. 

"We do have officers on their off days who work off-duty jobs on their off days. This is not part of their work schedule," said Alexander. "That has nothing to do with the shortages we are experiencing because whether we had 100 officers or 10 thousand officers, they still would be working those off-duty jobs."

The department says if an officer is working an off-duty shift and sees a crime take place, it is their duty to respond. 

Another side effect of the shortage is fewer people on the force to help solve crimes. Personnel data from the department shows they’ve lost nearly 40% of their investigators, from 28 in January 2020 to just 17 in July of this year. 

Alexander wants the community to know the investigators they do have are working hard on unsolved cases and that they will not stop working until those responsible are brought to justice. 

"Certainly, to the family of those victims who may not feel like their case is being attended to, we haven't forgotten about these cases. We haven't forgotten about these victims," said Alexander. 

Despite their numbers being down, he adds they are still solving big cases. 

"Homicide arrests are being made, and bad people are being arrested. We are still taking guns off the street, we are still taking drugs off the street, and we are putting some really, really bad people in jail and that is not going to stop," said Alexander.