Minnesota Senate Republicans pitched a 2022 “top priority” $65 million law enforcement recruiting package Wednesday.
The proposals – dubbed the “Creating Opportunities in Public Safety” (C.O.P.S) program – would incentivize law enforcement recruitment statewide to address a police officer shortage, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said in a news conference.
“Across the state, we’ve been hearing from law enforcement agencies that are struggling with staff,” Miller said. “Law Enforcement officers are leaving the force in far higher numbers than they are applying to join the force and it’s hitting a critical stage for their ability to provide for safe communities,” “This isn’t an accident. These losses are a direct result of the ‘Defund the Police’ and anti-police rhetoric, that has demonized police officers and left them personally demoralized and their agencies diminished in size and standing.”
COVID-19 vaccine mandates have sparked nationwide controversy and led to firings and resignations around the country. Police officers have been hit hard by the requirements, and their exodus may leave many cities understaffed even on the heels of a spike in violent crime.
In New York City, officers passed the mayor’s deadline for vaccination Friday. The city announced that there are 26,000 unvaccinated municipal workers, including 17% of police officers. Those who refuse to comply will be placed on unpaid leave beginning Monday.
But New York City is far from the only local government to take that route. Several municipalities have instituted vaccine mandates for police officers only to see a significant drop-off in staffing.
Ramped-up security during the three weeks of Derek Chauvin’s trial cost taxpayers nearly $3 million, the Minneapolis Police Department said Thursday.
Citing unexpected costs, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo asked the Minneapolis City Council for an additional $5 million.
The MPD has 632 sworn officers, down from 845 one year ago — a 25% drop — to protect the 425,000-person city that’s fighting spiking violent crime.
Calls to defund the police have once again been thrust into the national spotlight after a string of high profile police shootings, but data show the rallying cry for police reformers may not hold water.
After the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of police in Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Rashida Talib, D-Mich., made headlines this week for posting on Twitter: “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”
Later in the week, Senate lawmakers blasted President Joe Biden’s Justice Department Civil Rights Division nominee Kristen Clarke after reports that she wrote an op-ed calling for defunding the police. Clarke pushed back, arguing that was not the point of her writing.