Posted on November 13, 2020

Minneapolis City Council Members, Police Chief Clash over Plan for Outside Police Help

Liz Navratil, Star Tribune, November 13, 2020

Tensions between the Minneapolis City Council and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo spiked Tuesday as they debated whether to bring in outside law enforcement to help address a shortage of officers amid a wave of violent crime.

With dozens of people dead and roughly 500 wounded by gunfire so far in 2020 — the highest tally in at least 15 years — residents have been begging city leaders for a strategy to stem the violence.

With an unprecedented number of officers on leave, Arradondo pleaded for money to bring in help from nearby departments.

“Resources are hemorrhaging. Our city is bleeding at this moment. I’m trying to do all I can to stop that bleeding,” the chief said.

Many of the council members he was addressing pledged months ago to work toward “ending” the department following George Floyd’s death.

Before narrowly advancing the plan, some of them grilled the chief, asking how he’d spent the department’s roughly $185 million budget and what difference an extra $500,000 would make, if prior efforts to stem the violence had failed.

Council Member Steve Fletcher noted that the department had already cut back on some proactive policing programs amid the officer shortage to focus on patrolling and responding to 911 calls.


Arradondo pushed back hard, saying 74 people have been killed and nearly 500 shot and wounded in Minneapolis this year.


He noted that about 90% of the department’s budget goes toward officers’ salaries and benefits.

The chief told Fletcher that, if he had a better idea, he should share it. “If you choose to say no to these victims of crime, then please stand by that,” Arradondo said.


Police staffing and budget requests that once would have been considered fairly routine have become more complex since Floyd’s death, as the city debates how to change policing.

Arradondo is asking for money to bring in 20 to 40 officers from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit Police to form joint enforcement teams. {snip}


At the beginning of the year, the department had 874 police officers, seven of whom were on some form of leave. As of Monday, it had 834 officers, 121 of whom were on leave, according to spokesman John Elder. Some of the officers on leave have filed PTSD claims stemming from their response to the unrest that followed Floyd’s death.