The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) is short by over 200 officers due in part to the defund the police movement, according to the MPD Union President Sherral Schmidt. She said the police department should have around 888 officers, but its current staffing numbers are under 600 total officers.

Schmidt told local ABC News affiliate WDIO that staffing issues have been getting increasingly worse. Schmidt also said looking at the number of officers actually working on the street, the numbers are even worse.

“It’s getting worse…we’re losing cops daily.” Schmidt said, “You have 297 people to answer 911 calls in the city.”

Population estimates for Minneapolis say over 429,000 people live within the city limits, which means that on average there is one police officer working the streets for every 1,446 residents.

Many are pointing to the defund the police movement as the culprit for the lack of police officers to fill available positions. The movement has had a considerable foothold in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd in May 2020, and a ballot question in front of voters this November will ask if residents want to replace MPD with a department of public safety.

As reported by The Minnesota Sun, hundreds of officers had left the department back in May.

“Over 200 police officers have left, are in the process of leaving, or are on extended leave from the Minneapolis Police Department. Several police officers explained it is due to lack of support and the feeling that they had to defend themselves throughout the course of the riots that plagued the city last summer.”

Along with police staffing shortages, Minneapolis has also been experiencing skyrocketing crime levels. Last week, Minneapolis police investigated the city’s 70th murder for the year, putting the city on track to meet or beat the previous record of 97 murders back in 1995.

Minneapolis is under a court order to fill the vacant positions by the summer of 2022, however, very little progress has been made.

“Those leaders that are leaving and those good cops are the ones that we need training the news guys as they come in and we’re losing that,” Schmidt told WDIO. “It’s not just Minneapolis, it’s everywhere.”

The state is divided about the effectiveness of defunding the police, with a handful of major Democrats opposing the move. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D), Representative Angie Craig (D-MN-02), and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey have all opposed the Minneapolis initiative to replace the MPD.

Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s attorney general, however, supports replacing the police, calling it an “outdated model for law enforcement and safety.”

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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun and The Wisconsin Daily Star | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to hayley@volente.biz.
Photo “Minneapolis Police” by Minneapolis Police Department.