Instead of hiring 14 new police officers, the Minneapolis City Council would seek to train and hire a full recruitment class of cadets to bring the force closer to its approved size.
The change to next year’s budget was proposed by Mayor Jacob Frey on Friday morning before the council introduced its own amendments to the budget.
The council approved the change unanimously, and Frey said it was “among his proudest days as mayor.”
The move would keep the cap of sworn officers in the city at 888, instead of raising it to 902 as Frey’s initial proposal would have done.
It reduces the overall police budget increase proposed for next year by $163,000 and does not raise the property tax levy beyond what was already proposed.
The police force is consistently below 888 sworn officers, said Council President Lisa Bender.
Investing in a recruitment class, she said, “is a more clear and transparent way of investing in our Police Department where the need lies.”
Under the new proposal, the city would focus on training recruits.
The class would include 38 cadets, Bender said, though it is unclear how many would graduate and join the city’s Police Department, according to the mayor’s office.
Frey said he would direct Police Chief Medaria Arradondo to deploy 14 of those recruits as was initially proposed earlier this year: eight neighborhood officers, three traffic officers and three investigators.
The council is also shifting hundreds of thousands of dollars originally earmarked for the Police Department to violence prevention programs, including the city’s new Office of Violence Prevention and an initiative to reduce intimate partner violence.
Council members saw the focus on violence prevention and police recruitment as a compromise in the way the city should fund public safety in the coming year.
Bender said the increase in violence prevention funding was important in her support of Frey’s amendment, and that in the future she would like prevention measures more fully funded and not be seen as an afterthought in the budget.
She and two other council members on Friday sought to shrink the cadet class and allocate more money to violence prevention and to fight the opioid epidemic, but the measure failed.
The council is expected to adopt the final budget Wednesday.