Minneapolis Mayor, Police Chief call MPD staffing reduction proposal 'irresponsible'

The Mayor of Minneapolis called a proposal from a trio of city councilmembers that would reduce the size of the police department “irresponsible” in a news conference Monday afternoon.

Mayor Jacob Frey and Chief Medaria Arradondo held a media availability to address a new proposal written by Councilmembers Lisa Bender, Phillipe Cunningham and Steve Fletcher that would move nearly $8 million from the department’s budget toward other areas like violence prevention, a mental health crisis team and other smaller crimes and violations enforcement. Those three councilmembers were part of a nine-member majority that called for the defunding of the Minneapolis Police Department in June. 

At particular issue of Frey is the proposal to fund approximately 770 officers, more than 100 lower than Frey’s targeted level of 888 .

The Mayor said the councilmembers’ proposal would be “untenable” considering a noticeable increase in violent crime city-wide.

“We are at a critical time in our city,” said Arradondo. “The increase in violent crime is real.”

Arradondo added, “[Residents] are not saying they want less public safety, they are saying they want more.”

Frey and Arradondo both pointed to a third-party study of the city’s department staffing levels currently underway, adding that making a decision on staffing levels would be to ignore the results of the study being paid for by the city.

Arradondo said he was “deeply concerned” that budget reductions that affect staffing levels should be based on “clearly defined data.” He added that any reductions also have to be “clearly communicated to our city’s residents and business owners.”

Frey said that a promised year-long community engagement process is also underway.