Let’s be honest, would you take a job as a Minneapolis Police Officer? No wonder they can’t get enough officers.
The city is planning to spend $6.4 million to hire dozens of police officers, at a time when some city council members and activist groups have been advocating to replace the police department following George Floyd’s death.
In a surprise to no one but the city council members, the department says it only has 638 officers available to work — roughly 200 fewer than usual. An unprecedented number of officers quit or went on extended medical leave after Floyd’s death and the unrest that followed, which included the burning of a police precinct.
With new recruit classes, the city anticipates it will have 674 officers available at the end of the year, with another 28 in the hiring process, but that’s still about 140, or 20%, less than usual.
While there have been calls to dismantle the department after Floyd’s death, some residents have begged the city to hire more officers, citing longer response times and an increase in violent crime.
Days before the City Council vote, Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo promised 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.
Deputy Police Chief Amelia Huffman said they hope the change “will help us to really feel confident that we are recruiting the kinds of candidates we want right from the beginning.”
Meanwhile, three City Council members have proposed replacing the police department with a public safety department that would include law enforcement and other services. Yes 4 Minneapolis, a coalition of local community groups, is also collecting signatures to try to get a similar proposal on the November ballot.