MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A scaled down version of the budget for the city of Minneapolis includes a hiring freeze that could impact public safety.

Mayor Jacob Frey believes the freeze could mean 100 less officers on the street by year’s end.

However, this proposal comes on the heels of a rash of shootings that continue to plague the city.

“I was shaken to the core,” Jamar Nelson said.

Nelson could not believe his 17-year-old son was nearly hit by gunfire.

His son was sitting in a car with his friend when someone shot at them from about a block away.

“My son noticed a beam coming through the car and then there after shots rang out about three or four shots rang out and the victim was hit in the face,” Nelson said.

At least one of the bullets hit a tree before flying into the car and into the face of his son’s friend.

“On a daily basis I’m out in the community trying to combat violence – especially gun violence – and then to have it hit so close to home it scared me,” Nelson said.

Nelson fears things will get worse when the number of officers on the street decrease.

“If we lose 100 or more officers, gun violence is spiking. It’s not decreasing and it’s happening to people who look like me,” Nelson said.

Mayor Jacob Frey announced hiring freezes for the city in his 2021 budget proposal.

“Dozens of cops have separated from employment this year and we expect that number will reach 100 by year end 2020. Those 100 vacant positions will be included in our hiring freeze to realize savings to property tax payers,” Frey said.

“We got to get these guns off the street,” said community leader Lisa Neal Delgado.

Delgado has spent her life on the Northside, and has never seen shootings cause so much damage, trauma and fear.

“It’s a free for all. Bullets go fling and you don’t know who is going to get hit. They are not shooting at any one person they’ll just go down the block and start shooting at the direction of the house they think an operative lives in,” Delgado said.

Delgado says there is no sense of safety in the community and that will only get worse with less officers on patrol.

Mayor Frey says now is the time to accelerate community recruitment.

He has re-instated the class of 28 community service officers that were eliminated in the final 2020 budget revision.

Reg Chapman

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