Amid protests, Mayor Jacob Frey announces increase in police officers

The Minneapolis mayor announced his 2020 budget on Thursday.
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Protests filled the chamber ahead of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's budget address on Thursday, amid concerns about a possibly significant increase in police officers.

City police chief Medaria Arradondo has called for an extra 400 sworn police officers be added to the force by 2025 to keep up with rising population, a figure rejected by some members of the city council who argue it would require a major increase in property taxes.

It has also sparked concern among members of the city's black community, who on Thursday made their feelings known by delaying Frey's budget address, chanting "Jamar Clark" and demanding the city "fund our communities, not cops."

In any event, Frey did propose an increase in police officers in the city over the coming year, 14 to be exact, noting that the city's rising population requires a similar rise in cops.

"There is no time to waste on false choices and binary options in addressing the causes of crime and violence in our city," he said. "We need safety beyond policing, but we still need police."

"Our city has grown from 382,000 people in 2010 to about 430,000 today while our number of sworn officers has remained stagnant," he added. "That is not sustainable. We need safety beyond policing, but we still need police."

"That’s why my budget funds 14 additional sworn police officers – 8 neighborhood outreach officers who will walk a beat, 3 investigators to bolster our sexual assault and domestic violence units, & 3 officers to bring back a traffic enforcement unit," he added.

The move is in contrast to the budget proposed by Mayor Melvin Carter in St. Paul, whose budget includes $4 million in spending reductions that includes five fewer sworn St. Paul PD officers.

Frey referred to his proposal as "a start," though it's only a modest increase compared to the 400 requested by Arradondo.

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