Judge Jamie L. Anderson last week ruled in favor of a group, Upper Midwest Law Center, that sued the city government after a slashed police budget was inevitably followed by a jump in violent crime, including homicides, in the city of 430,000 that was the scene of George Floyd’s death.
Minneapolis Public Radio reported in a December 2020 story that Mayor Jacob Frey signed a city budget that removed nearly $8 million from the Minneapolis Police Dept. The city, under a national spotlight, allocated those funds for crime prevention such as “mental health crisis teams.”
In a February 2021 story, just two months later, The Star-Tribune newspaper reported about 200 fewer officers were on the city’s payroll.
According to Judge Anderson’s ruling, the City of Minneapolis must have a police force of at least 730 officers by June 2022, which is more than the 669 officers the city plans to hire by that date.
The judge was relying on a city ordinance that requires a specific ratio of police officers to the city population.
Randy Sutton of Law Enforcement News Network tells One News Now he was shocked by the ruling and calls it a “fascinating turn of events” to witness.
“Never before have I ever heard of a court ordering a city to hire cops,” he says.
He predicts, however, that Minneapolis will have a hard time finding that many qualified – and willing – candidates to put on a police uniform.
“How are they going to hire that many cops when they can't even keep the cops that they have?” he asks. “You could double the pay, and I don't know if they're going to be able to draw enough officers to get anywhere near the requirement.”