Letter to the Budget Committee: We all want a safe Minneapolis

We all want a safe Minneapolis.  But I’m not certain that more of the same will bring that to us.
I sent the following comments to the Budget Committee:
Attention Mayor Frey and Members of the City Council:
I support the actions of the six brave City Council Members who voted against throwing more money into the bottomless pit of the Minneapolis Police Department.  I agree with Council Member Schroeder, the additional half a million dollars “does not meet the standard for responsible spending and good government.”  Further, I agree with former Chief of Police Tony Bouza that you could cut the police budget by 25% and not adversely affect public safety.
There is unconscionable bureaucratic bloat in the MPD, and almost the first thing Chief Arradondo did when he was promoted to Chief was to promote twenty of his buddies, taking most of them off patrol and putting them behind desks.
Another factor affecting the number of officers available for patrol duties is the Blue Flu–complaints of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from many officers who felt abandoned by their employer in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder.  These claims should be thoroughly examined and repudiated, and the officers should be told to report for duty or resign.
There are some obvious steps the City can take to increase the efficiency of the MPD.  On Saturday, the Star Tribune noted that St. Paul is re-evaluating 911 calls and determining whether all calls need a uniformed officer with a gun to take a report.
The number of officers on patrol could double if the MPD would go back to one officer patrol cars, and greater productivity would result if they returned to five eight-hour shifts rather than the four ten-hours shifts at present.
Finally, the public support for and credibility of the MPD will not be restored until the Department seriously investigates the behavior of Officer Lucas Peterson in the murder of Terrance Franklin.  The City declined to contest the Wrongful Death suit brought by Franklin’s heirs that claimed Peterson executed Franklin while he was surrendering with his arms raised.

The MPD needs to get its house in order, and it won’t help to just keep throwing money at it.

Ed Felien

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