Police may increase presence around University of Minnesota

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Minneapolis police officials have proposed hiring more officers to serve the increasing populations of University of Minnesota neighborhoods despite backlash from community groups.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo proposed the increase in February, The Minnesota Daily reported. It seeks to maintain a ratio of about two officers per 1,000 citizens.

Adding officers would help address safety concerns as more residents move into neighborhoods around the university, said Cody Hoerning, a board member of the Southeast Como Improvement Association. 

"I have heard that on busy nights our police officers are running from 911 call to 911 call," Hoerning said. "Our police officers are working very hard, but they need the time and resources to do their job effectively."

Additional officers could mean quicker response times, said Todd Loining, an inspector with the police department.

Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality, said she's concerned that increasing police staffing will limit resources for alternative projects, such as mental health programs.

The personnel increase will also likely mean other police resources will need to be increased, which will raise the overall cost for taxpayers, she said.

"When (police) think about increasing their officers, people don't realize that means more supervisors, then more training, more cars and more body cameras," Gross said. 

Communities United predicts taxpayers may pay $7 million for salaries for 100 new officers, as well as $3 million for more vehicles and other materials.

Loining said he doesn't have an estimate for how much taxpayers would pay.