Minneapolis city leaders to launch violence prevention initiative

KSTP
Created: October 13, 2020 06:26 AM

Tuesday, Minneapolis city leaders will officially introduce an initiative with the goal of decreasing crime.

The initiative involves the city partnering with community members who would go into neighborhoods to diffuse possible conflicts before they turn violent.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo says the department is shrinking as more officers continue to leave.

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City council is also considering major budget cuts for next year.

Now, the city is focusing on a new program that would involve more community members instead of police.

It's called the MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative. Teams would not only work to de-escalate situations before they become violent, but also support people at the highest risk for violence and help communities heal.

This program comes as the Minneapolis Police Department is seeing an increase in crime.

According to Chief Arradondo, violent crimes are up more than 20 percent citywide compared with this time last year, and up 40 percent compared with two years ago.

The department is also facing $12 million in proposed cuts.

But despite these obstacles, Arradondo says it's time for the city to move forward and gain the community's trust.

"We have an opportunity like never before," Arradondo said. "If we can hire, bring on new people, we can get them into a culture, one that supports our communities, that values them, that values the vision and direction that we need to go in. We will not go back. We will only move forward." 

"I think there is an opportunity to use resources better and be more efficient with the resources that we have," Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said.

Another challenge for police is that there continues to be a loss of officers to disability claims.

A labor attorney says the number of officers who have filed for disability claims since this spring has now reached 175, with 100 other officers considering similar moves.

The mayor and city council will further explain the new initiative, run by the Office of Violence Prevention, at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

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