Minneapolis City Council set to vote on budget, possible police department cuts

Updated: December 09, 2020 08:11 AM
Created: December 09, 2020 06:29 AM

On Wednesday the Minneapolis City Council could make its final vote on the city's 2021 budget, which includes controversial changes to the police department that the mayor has threatened to block.

Earlier this year, Mayor Jacob Frey proposed a $14 million cut to the Minneapolis Police Department, while keeping the current staffing level. The City Council's proposal takes those cuts nearly $8 million further and drops the number of sworn police officers to 750 after next year.

On Monday, the council budget committee approved the Safety for All Budget Plan amendment that would redirect $7.77 million meant for the police department to "other approaches to preventing violence and building community wellbeing." 

If passed, the Safety For All Budget Plan would redirect some emergency calls to other departments, build a non-police mental health crisis response and violence prevention programming in the city. It also includes $6.4 million for a public safety staffing reserve.

The final budget is set, but Frey has said he is leaning toward a veto if it's approved.

"Pre-emptively reducing the sworn capacity by 138 officers prior to having alternative responses in place or completing the mutually-agreed upon staffing study is irresponsible," he said in a statement.

Council members, however, say it's the right move to address public calls for changes to policing following the death of George Floyd.

"I think the people who were calling for transformation in the summer have a right to feel we're not moving fast enough compared to what they thought would happen," Ward 3 City Council member Steve Fletcher said. "What I think what we did was responsible and probable … and, more importantly, provides public safety outcomes we can actually roll out this year."

Constituents still have time to let their council members know how they feel, either by writing in a comment or joining the public comment period that starts at 4 p.m.

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