Mayor Frey's budget calls for far fewer officers than MPD requested |

Mayor Frey's budget calls for far fewer officers than MPD requested

Updated: August 16, 2019 05:35 AM

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey presented his budget to the city council Thursday.

One of Frey's priorities, he says, is to address a recent uptick in crime, especially in downtown Minneapolis.

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"It's not going to solve the problem in one fell swoop. I recognize that we have to be honest about that but what it does is set a stage and lay out a plan so we can get numbers where police officers are just running from 911 call to 911 call," Frey said Thursday.

Frey said the proposal includes funding for additional police officers. In his budget, Frey requested 14 additional sworn police officers. It breaks down to 14 additional sworn officers; eight neighborhood outreach officers who walk the streets, three investigators in sex assault and domestic violence units and three traffic enforcement officers.

Frey said his goal is for everyone to feel safe in their neighborhoods.

"We need safety beyond policing but we still need police," said Frey. "This is a commitment I made, we're increasing it and it's my job to figure out the strategy to get it through."

In a conversation with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS earlier this week, Frey said part of addressing the issue is to make sure the Minneapolis Police Department is working with other law enforcement agencies, including the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and Metro Transit Police.

"We will continue with the resources we have. We will continue the best we can," said Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo. 

But Arradondo added he will still raise his concerns about the need for more officers on the streets of Minneapolis.

"I will continue to make the case where we are at," he said. "I know for many it was quite the culture shock for chief to come and propose where we need to be."

Lt. Bob Kroll, the president of the Minneapolis police union agreed with Chief Arradondo.

"It's a start, but it's a very slow start," he said. "We are happy our numbers are increasing, but we're hoping it would be a much larger increase."

"I'm open to looking at it," said City Council member Cam Gordon regarding the Mayor's request for officers. "I think it was interesting that he did talk about what we are doing in safety beyond policing." 

Additionally, Frey has said recommendations from an opioid taskforce are included in the proposal. Frey said city leaders will continue to work with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office to address the issue.

He said the new proposal outlines $405,000 to invest in the city's response to the opioid epidemic.

At times, the Mayor's speech was interrupted by protestors in the room.

"If you can't hold something accountable, you have a department running amuck. Why are [you] going to add more funding to those people," said Sam Sanchez, community activist.

During his address, Frey said funding from the 2019 budget request allowed for many new Affordable Housing Trust Fund applications.

As a result, Frey said his new proposal requests $31 million of city money to be put toward affordable housing.

Frey said an additional $200,000 has been requested to put toward the Great Streets Facade Improvement Project to improve systems and infrastructure in various districts throughout the city.

Frey also said he requested $550,000 to be put toward supporting street sweeping, trash pickup and improved lighting.

In a wrap-up tweet, Frey stated, "In Minneapolis we must be united. We are bound by a shared duty to our city, to one another, & to advancing progress here, no matter what the world may throw our way. Let the totality of our acts be the making of a truly inclusive Minneapolis."

To see the full Mayor Jacob Frey's Minneapolis budget plan, click here.

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Rebecca Omastiak & Tommy Wiita

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