Minneapolis police budget talks continue as council works to finalize plan

The logo of the Minneapolis Police Department on a squad vehicle. (FOX 9)

Minneapolis city councilmembers are getting closer to finalizing next year’s budget.

At a budget meeting Thursday night, the councilmembers laid out their goals after listening to nearly eight hours of public comment the day before.

Three major budget proposals have emerged, Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis Police Department’s budget, the "People’s Budget" that was created by social justice groups, and the "Safety for All" plan.

City Council President Lisa Bender and two other councilmembers came up with the "Safety for All" plan, which is an 11-part amendment to the mayor’s proposed budget. The plan would cut nearly $8 million from the Minneapolis Police Department to go toward crime prevention and a mental crisis response team. The plan also expands 311 to take calls like property crimes and theft and reduces the number of police officers to 750.

"I think this is the very beginning of a transformation of a start our commitment to transform public safety," said Bender.

She calls it a "very moderate, very incremental" plan.

The "People’s Budget," made by activist groups, would move funds from the police budget to more community-based programs. It would decrease the police budget by more than $84 million.

Frey's budget would keep MPD staffing levels the same, but would include a citywide hiring freeze.

As debate among the council continues, a group of businesses and non-profits stood in front of City Hall, offering up $5 million to fund mental health initiatives without making cuts to police.

"Council members give this chief, give this city the kind of budget it needs to put cops on the ground and in our communities," said Rev. Ian Bethel of New Beginnings Baptist Ministry.

Council members will be back in a budget committee meeting for further debate Friday. The full council is set to vote on the budget on Wednesday.