The Minneapolis City Council, which voted to defund the city’s police department earlier this year, approved a plan on Friday to spend nearly $500,000 to temporarily hire an outside police force to combat a wave of violent crime.
The plan, which council members voted for 7-6, would allow the city to hire between 20 to 40 additional officers from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit Police to respond to violent 911 calls through Dec. 31.
The city would reimburse those agencies for their officers’ salaries and benefits.
“Today we sent a clear signal that we will support [Police Chief Medaria] Arradondo and that we are ready to work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners and neighboring jurisdictions while continuing to implement concrete, transformative public safety measures,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement.
A few of the city council members who voted for the plan voted to defund the city’s police department back in May, according to MPR News.
The police department was never completely defunded, but its budget was cut significantly.
Now, however, city council members are hearing from concerned constituents who are experiencing rising crime in their neighborhoods.
“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police?’” Councilman Jamal Osman said during a city council meeting in September. “That is the only public safety option they have at the moment: MPD. They rely on MPD. And they are saying they are nowhere to be seen.”
Eight Minneapolis residents even sued the city council and Frey earlier this year, alleging that they are violating the city charter’s requirement to fund a fully equipped police force.
Arradondo blamed the crime rates on a lack of resources.
“Our city is bleeding at this moment,” Arradondo said during the vote. “I’m trying to do all I can to stop that bleeding. I’ve got almost 500 people who’ve been shot and wounded in this city…. We can go back and forth on the $185 million [budget], but that isn’t stopping the bloodshed that’s occurring every day in our city.”