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Public safety a large focus in Minneapolis $1.8B 2024 budget

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December 11, 2023


Public safety was large focus of the newly adopted Minneapolis city budget resulting in millions of dollars for the Minneapolis Police Department to bolster its ranks while also funding community-based public safety alternatives.

The Minneapolis City Council last week adopted Mayor Jacob Frey’s $1.8 billion 2024 budget after nearly 50 amendments shifting around almost $30 million. The mayor’s main priorities included large investments in affordable housing, climate action and economic inclusion efforts.

“Our residents want a safe community, thriving small and local businesses, actionable progress on the climate crisis, and an affordable place to call home,” Frey said following its adoption. “These are things we can and will deliver on.”

Police budget

The new budget fully funds the charter-mandated amount of 731 sworn officers, though that doesn’t guarantee the department will reach that figure due to trouble in recruitment and retention. The department has been hovering under that number in recent years due to a wave of resignations, retirements and leaves following George Floyd’s murder at the hands of then-MPD officer Derek Chauvin.

The budget includes funding for eight classes of new recruits in an effort to boost police ranks. It also allocates $2 million for 15 new civilian positions within the department to help with administrative and investigative efforts, as well as more than $7 million for overtime hours and contracts with other law enforcement agencies.

An additional $16 million is reserved for the consent decree and state settlement agreements with the federal and state governments, respectively. Both the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice, in separate investigations, found that the department had engaged in years of racially discriminatory policing.

The budget will fund 34 positions within MPD, and the city’s civil rights and information technology departments to help implement the measures within the agreements.

Public safety alternatives

In addition to police, public safety alternatives also received boosts in funding.

The city’s Behavioral Crisis Response unit, which has been touted as a success towards a future beyond policing, gets an expansion with $2.9 million in ongoing funding. The increase for the unarmed unit – which responds to calls involving individuals experiencing mental health crises – is a win for advocates of public safety alternatives following struggles by the city to adequately fund the program.

The Department of Neighborhood Safety, which now houses the city’s violence prevention programs, receives $3.3 million to further fund those efforts. That includes a pilot program with unarmed “safety ambassadors” in various neighborhoods, as well as existing violence interrupters, who go into high-crime areas around the city in an effort to de-escalate and prevent incidents from happening.

The new budget also funds an interim safety center for Third Precinct residents to file reports and get information, a temporary solution as officers move into the location for the new building chosen and approved last month. The original building burned down amid the unrest after Floyd’s murder.

Lastly, the Office of Community Safety will get funds to fill three new positions to help implement pieces of the Safe and Thriving Communities plan, the new years-long public safety roadmap meant to help the city establish a system that goes beyond policing.

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