MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Tense moments and strong words were exchanged on Tuesday as city leaders in Minneapolis debated hiring outside police officers to combat crime in the city.
The department lost a large number of officers following the unrest earlier this year. Now, a $500,000 proposal would pay for extra patrols from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit through the end of the year.
But some city council members clashed with the police chief in their conversation Tuesday afternoon.
“Our resources are hemorrhaging, our city is bleeding at this moment, and I’m trying to do all I can to stop that bleeding,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Arradondo asked for help from other law enforcement agencies to answer 911 calls. Mayor Jacob Frey’s office says Frey “actually authored the proposal for council action today to give [Chief Arradondo] authority to pursue the additional resources.” The ask was met with questions about data and strategy and how the money would be used to stop the violence. The questions set off tense moments between the city council and the chief of police.
“We still got $185 million going into the department. And this department is coming to a month before we pass a budget and asking for half a million bucks,” said Steve Fletcher.
“What we are asking for is if this is the half-million that will get us over the hump when the first $185 million was not it, then what’s the strategy?” asked Jeremiah Ellison.
Arradondo says with 74 homicides and more than 500 people shot across the city, MPD needs help to respond to calls for assistance.
“This is not an either-or decision,” said Lisa Goodman. “This is a both-and decision. We need to solve the systemic problem with policing in our community as do every other city council around the country. We need to develop violence interruption and prevention plans, we need to stop using words like ‘abolish’ or ‘defund.'”
Goodman said until then, crimes are being committed and people are afraid, and having a few extra feet on the street will make a difference.
“We can go back and forward on this but every day that we go back and forth on this, people are dying in our city,” said Arradondo.
The plan to hire outside help narrowly advanced in Tuesday’s committee meeting. The full city council will vote Friday.