MPR – Minnesota Public Radio:
With nearly 500 people wounded by gunfire so far this year, Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo is trying to secure help from other law enforcement agencies.
“Our resources are hemorrhaging,” Arradondo told members of the Minneapolis City Council during a committee meeting Tuesday. “Our city is bleeding at this moment. I’m trying to do all I can to stop that bleeding and I’m hoping that having the funds to launch a citywide joint enforcement team initiative we can try to stop the bleeding in our city.”
Arradondo asked council members for permission to negotiate a $496,800 contract with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Metro Transit Police Department for reinforcements. It could mean an extra 20 to 40 law enforcement officers to respond to 911 calls.
Mayor Jacob Frey forwarded the proposal to the council for approval. He said the department is facing a significant staffing shortage.
“On an annual basis we see somewhere in the range of 40 to 45 officers retire or resign,” he said. “Now, those numbers are well beyond 100. And it does have an impact.”
City officials say more than 100 officers are on leave. According to the Police Department’s budget director, those officers are still getting paid.
Minneapolis is seeing a significant spike in gun violence. So far this year, 491 people have been wounded by gunfire. That number includes at least 58 people who’ve been shot to death.
The city’s gunshot tally is more than double the amount at this time last year. And is the highest it’s ever been going back to 2008, which is the earliest year available.
Minneapolis is also experiencing a large increase in homicides. So far this year, 75 people have been killed in the city. That’s double the amount of homicides compared to the same time last year.