MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis Police Chief says his force of officers is stretched thin. He wants to dramatically increase the number of patrol officers responding to 911 calls by 2025.
After several shootings in downtown Minneapolis this summer, people who live downtown and visit downtown feel more police officers are needed.
Chief Maderia Arradondo explained why hundreds of additional officers are needed in front of the Minneapolis City Council members Wednesday at a public safety committee meeting, but community members expressed mixed opinions about expanding the city’s police force.
“We are at a critical time within the MPD and, because our staffing needs have not been properly addressed over many years, it has resulted in our current MPD resources being strained to capacity and, quite frankly, we’re hemorrhaging,” Arradondo said, saying his department is at a breaking point. “The MPD staffing model has been broken, in fact, for decades.”
Arradondo says staffing constraints lead to officer fatigue, overtime and slow response times. Over the course of a year, Minneapolis Police were unable to immediately respond to 1,251 urgent 911 calls for things like shootings, burglaries in progress, overdoses and assaults.
“This is unacceptable to me as chief and, I know, for all of you as well,” he said. “When our community members pick up their phone and they’re told that we don’t have a police response, I’m responsible for that.”
The chief’s solution is to hire roughly 400 additional patrol officers. He said the MPD needs to be at 1,000 patrol officers by 2025, and currently they’re at about 600.
But the chief has some convincing to do. Multiple council members and citizens challenged the idea that a larger police force would be a more effective one, with some suggesting there’s no conclusive evidence that more police officers equals less crime. Arradondo said that more police would create a safer Minneapolis for everyone.
“The stakes of our city safety are too high and failure is not an option for me as your chief,” he said.
Mayor Jacob Frey’s office told WCCO that the data and Arradondo’s case make it clear that the department needs more resources and personnel, though they did not give specifics on how many new officers Frey would like to see added to the police force.