The Minneapolis and St. Paul city councils ended 2021 by increasing spending in their police forces.
Minneapolis City Council largely went along with Mayor Jacob Frey’s $192 million police budget, while St. Paul City Council added a modest amount to Mayor Melvin Carter’s initial proposal. Both reflect increases from the prior year.
The Minneapolis budget reflects a “sustained commitment to public safety,” Frey’s spokeswoman said Friday. Frey said it will fund five police recruit classes, starting a long rebuilding process after the city lost nearly 300 officers over the past two years.
Supporters of the November ballot proposal, which failed 56 percent to 44 percent, did not hide their disappointment. Among them were council members leaving City Council this month without achieving the changes they’ve long sought.
“It seems this budget is intended to send a heartbreaking political message that nothing has changed in Minneapolis since the murder of George Floyd,” said Council President Lisa Bender, who did not seek re-election.
Police spending passed, 9-4, with Bender joining Cam Gordon, Phillipe Cunningham and Jeremiah Ellison in opposition. All are departing the council except for Ellison, who called the budget “a moral failing.”
In St. Paul, City Council members voted unanimously on a $660 million city budget after adding $1 million to Carter’s police spending plan. The additional money will fund a second police academy in 2022 to get the St. Paul Police Department closer to its authorized sworn strength of 619.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: STAR TRIBUNE
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