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Minneapolis City Council approves police staffing proposal

A man in a police uniform speaks at a microphone.
Minneapolis Chief of Police Medaria Arrodondo speaks during a press conference inside the Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis on Oct. 20. The City Council is expected to vote Friday on a proposal to add emergency staffing to the Police Department.
Evan Frost | MPR News file

Updated: 3:48 p.m.

The Minneapolis City Council narrowly approved a $500,000 measure Friday that will add emergency staffing to the city’s Police Department.

Under the plan proposed by Mayor Jacob Frey, the city will get help from Hennepin County sheriff's deputies and Metro Transit police officers. The city would reimburse those agencies for their officers’ salaries and benefits. The plan now goes to the mayor for his approval.

“Today we sent a clear signal that we will support Chief Arradondo and that we are ready to work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners and neighboring jurisdictions while continuing to implement concrete, transformative public safety measures,” Frey said in a statement following the city council’s approval of the proposal.

Some of the council members who voted to approve the extra spending for police had signaled their support for defunding the police. A few of those council members say their constituents have become increasingly afraid of rising crime in their neighborhoods.

The 7-to-6 vote Friday followed a contentious council meeting earlier in the week. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he needs 20 to 40 more officers from outside law enforcement agencies to deal with rising violence.

But many City Council members have been pushing for aggressive police reform since the death of George Floyd in May, and they said the chief isn’t working with them. The council members who voted against the measure have pushed for shrinking the police budget.

Sheila Nezhad of community group Reclaim the Block said the council’s vote Friday shows the need for them to “remind City Council that they are accountable to the community, not the cops.” Zola Richardson with the group said the city and the council should focus on other issues, such as securing housing for community members and providing economic relief as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

Reporter Brandt Williams has been following this, and joined Cathy Wurzer earlier Friday morning. Use the audio player above to hear their conversation.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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