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People speak out against suggested cuts to Minneapolis Park Police

Updated: September 18, 2019 10:11 PM

Citizens and police officers turned out to a Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board meeting Wednesday to tell commissioners they didn't agree with a suggestion to possibly cut Park Police if the Park Board doesn't get an 8% levy increase approved.

Several commissioners have expressed interest in exploring up to a 20% cut in the Park Police budget to come up with an additional $1.5 million for more youth programs.

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Minneapolis resident  Al Flowers told commissioners Wednesday evening that he appreciate their push to have more youth programs, but he didn't want to see Park Police cut as a result.

"I applaud commissioners for making the move to gain more rec programs," said Flowers. "But, why can't we have more rec programs and keep the police, because it is important to me, too, that we don't lose that safety."

Sgt. Adam Swierczek, who represents the 35 Park Police officers as part of the Minneapolis Police Federation, told commissioners it would be shortsighted to cut officers right now.

"Those officers serve and risk everything every day they go to work," said Swierczek. "They love the parks and they love their jobs and they've given and sacrificed more than most people know, and they should be treated better."

Commissioners decided not to discuss the 8% levy increase request at its Wednesday meeting and held over its discussion until the next board meeting.

The Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation will take a final vote on the proposed 8% tax levy increase on Sept. 25.

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Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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