MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The angry protests that gripped Minneapolis and spread across the nation following the death of George Floyd are sparking the call for far-reaching police reform.
One aspect is the controversial plan to require police to actually live in the cities they patrol.
Minneapolis has one of the lowest numbers in the country for police residents. In fact, the four ex-Minneapolis Police Department officers charged in Floyd killing don’t live in the city. They’re from Oakdale, St. Paul, Plymouth and Coon Rapids.
The vast majority of Minneapolis officers don’t live in the city, with only 8% of the force holding residency, according to Star Tribune data. That’s just 72 out of 873 police officers in Minnesota’s largest city. That compares to 22% of the St. Paul Police Department. The national average is 40%.
Where do Minneapolis cops live? Mostly in Twin Cities suburban and exurban areas. Anoka, Andover, Elk River, St. Paul, Hudson, Wisconsin, an hour northwest in St. Cloud — and even 63 miles away in Polk County, Wisconsin.
Now, a bill at the legislature gives Minneapolis the power to require residency. Here’s the bill’s language:
Sec. 14. MINNEAPOLIS PEACE OFFICERS; RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS.
Notwithstanding Minnesota Statutes, section 415.16, or provision of other law, home rule charter, ordinance, resolution, or rule to the contrary, the city of Minneapolis may require residency within the territorial limits of the city of Minneapolis as a condition of employment as a peace officer. The residency requirement applies only to persons hired after the date the requirement is imposed.
Some big cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh already require it. Some allow officers to move out after 10 years. And some cities offer housing incentives for police officers to be able to afford to live in sometimes more-expensive metro areas.
Police accountability groups like Communities United Against Police Brutality in Minneapolis say residency requirements are a distraction, and that overhauling police departments and changing laws to reduce brutality is more important than where cops live.
Still, at 8%, Minneapolis is an outlier. Of the 75 largest American police forces, Minneapolis ranks 70th for the lowest number of police officers who actually live in the city.
Here are some of the sources we used for this Reality Check: