Sunday, April 14, 2024

City That Rioted Over George Floyd’s Overdose Struggles to Recruit Cops

'Residents say the city feels lawless...'

(Headline USA) Inside the Minneapolis Police Academy’s sprawling campus on the city’s north side, six people sat soberly and listened to a handful of officers and city officials make their pitch about joining an understaffed department that has been subject to public derision—and defunding—because of the arrest and fatal overdose of George Floyd.

Officers would live in a bustling, vibrant metro area with a high quality of life, they said, working in a large department where they could choose a wide variety of career paths with comprehensive benefits.

But those who take the oath must understand they are entering a job that has received nothing but hatred and ingratitude from Minneapolis.

Crime was rising immediately before George Floyd’s overdose in Minneapolis and continued to rise afterwards. Homicide offenses nearly doubled from 2019 to 2021, aggravated assaults jumped by one-third, and car-jackings exploded. And the city’s crime problem has been compounded by a mass exodus of officers after the riots over Floyd’s overdose gutting the department of roughly one-third of its personnel.

Residents say the city feels lawless. On July 4, police appeared unable to cope when thugs shot fireworks at other people, buildings and cars. That night sparked more than 1,300 911 calls. A witness described a firework being shot at one of the few police cars that responded.

“Our city needs more police officers,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in August, while presenting a proposal to boost police funding in a push to increase officer numbers to more than 800 by 2025. Adding to the pressure: a court ruled in favor of residents who sued the city for not having the minimum number of officers required under the city’s charter.

Police spokesman Garrett Parten said the city is aware of the recruitment challenges it faces. Each class can accommodate up to 40 recruits, but only six were in the class that graduated in September. Only 57 people applied in 2022, down from 292 applicants in 2019.

“You can scream as loud as you want, ‘Hire more people!’ but if fewer people are applying, then it’s not going to change the outcome much,” Parten said. “Across the country, recruitment has become an issue. There’s just fewer people that are applying for the job.”

Statistics bear that out. Among 184 police agencies surveyed in the U.S. and Canada, the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum found that resignations jumped by 43% from 2019 through 2021, and retirements jumped 24%. In the face of those departures, overall hiring fell by 4%.

As it turns out, defunding and threatening the police leads to fewer law enforcement officers which leads to lawlessness.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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