Posted on July 22, 2022

Why Are Wealthier Minneapolis Neighborhoods Receiving Extra Police Patrols?

Mohamed Ibrahim, MinnPost, July 21, 2022

As Minneapolis continues to see spats of criminal activity across the city, some neighborhoods have banded together to raise money for extra police patrols in an effort to help residents feel safer.

But some city officials and residents alike have raised concerns over how the program can operate given the department’s staffing woes, and whether the program creates inequity in policing for neighborhoods that can’t afford the extra patrols.


The Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) “buyback” program is a contractual agreement between the city and an external organization or group in which the organization secures extra police presence and patrols by paying for officer overtime hours. The funding sources for the agreements have included state and federal grants, sports teams and venues wanting extra security for events, and neighborhood and business organizations. The contracts go to the city council for approval before officers can volunteer to sign up to work the extra hours.

Neighborhoods made up about 22% of the nearly 9,700 buyback hours worked by MPD officers in 2021, according to a presentation by the department to the city.

The Lowry Hill neighborhood, through a nonprofit called the Minneapolis Safety Initiative created by the neighborhood’s residents, secured a contract with the city earlier this year for $210,000 in extra police patrols at $107 per hour worked by an officer, starting Jan. 17 and running through Dec. 31. {snip}

The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association (DMNA) started organizing its own fundraiser (but not a formal buyback agreement) for one off-duty officer to walk the Mill District downtown Thursday to Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. from June 18 to Sept. 4. The fundraiser, which has raised more than $4,800 of its $30,000 goal, credits Ward 3 Council Member Michael Rainville with coming up with the idea as a way to help residents feel safe while improving community relations with police by returning beat cops to busy corridors. {snip}


Paying for extra police patrols amid higher need during a crime wave may be a viable option for neighborhoods like Lowry Hill, where about 40% of residents make more than $100,000 a year, according to Minnesota Compass. But for neighborhoods like Cedar-Riverside where that number is just 5%, and more than 72% of residents make less than $35,000, it’s disappointing that a program like police buyback can be used by residents in upscale areas to gain more access to the public service that is policing, said AJ Awed, an executive director of neighborhood group the Cedar Riverside Community Council.


MPD’s staffing woes have been well known, its rank-and-file numbers still recovering from an exodus of officers due to retirements, resignations and disability leaves after the protests and civil unrest following George Floyd’s killing under the knee of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. The department has 564 active officers at all levels as of June 18, according to Interim Chief Amelia Huffman. That’s still nearly 200 short of the charter-mandated 731 based on the city’s latest census numbers.