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Year-long study concludes St. Paul PD needs 100 more staff

The study was commissioned by Chief Todd Axtell last January.
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A 12-month study of St. Paul Police Department's staffing levels has concluded it needs more than 100 more workers to cope with demands for its services.

That's the view of Cmdr. Jack Serier, the former Sheriff of Ramsey County who was commissioned by St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell to carry out the study.

The results of his study were released on Monday, and among other recommendations was an increase in staffing levels by 103.5 full-time equivalent positions.

Of those, Serier recommends that 80 percent of them are sworn officers, at a time when Axtell and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter differ on the issue of police officer numbers.

Axtell has long been calling for more officers, but Carter prefers instead to focus resources on achieving crime reduction by investing in neighborhoods and boosting equality.

St. Paul PD last year saw violent crime drop on the whole, albeit with double the amount of homicides, however it did see a significant increase in property crime.

Axtell said this was likely the result of the department's decision to focus on reducing violent crime, meaning fewer resources could be put towards other crimes.

Serier found that investigations undertaken by officers are "becoming increasingly complex due to the proliferation of and advancements in technology," namely the availability of video related to crimes.

What's more, the department doesn't have the "organizational structure" to keep up with increasing caseloads in homicide, sex crimes and family violence, all the while the number of calls have been increasing as the city's population increases.

As well as the 103.5 extra staff, Serier recommends increasing the number of investigative sergeants throughout the department, and hiring civilian employees to fill administrative positions currently filled by sworn officers.

"I want to thank Cmdr. Serier for his comprehensive, thorough and thoughtful study,” said Axtell.

"I look forward to further analyzing the findings and working with Mayor Carter, the City Council and our community to make an already great police department even better, and this study is a great tool.'

You can see the full report here.

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