Minneapolis residents are raising funds to hire off-duty officers to patrol their streets, as they continue to face staff shortages and an increase in violent crime.
The Minneapolis Safety Initiative, a non-profit that aims to improve law and order in the city, has started to raise money to fund “buyback officer patrols”. Funds raised by the volunteers will go to the Minneapolis Police Department, which will allow officers to be deployed to work shifts they would not otherwise be assigned to, MSI states.
“Officers working a buyback shift patrol in MPD vehicles, respond to 911 calls, and deter criminals — just as they do in a normal shift,” according to MSI. All people involved in this project are volunteers. There are fees for payment processing but otherwise, all contributions will go directly to paying for MPD buyback officer patrols.”
A $210,000 contract for MSI was approved by the Minneapolis City Council in January, the Minnesota Daily reported. According to the outlet, MSI can crowdfund for additional patrols in areas through this program.
The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in June that Minneapolis has to maintain at least 731 officers in the MPD after residents sued the city council and mayor for not having enough. Since the murder of George Floyd in 2020, over 300 officers have fled the MPD, Fox News reported.
Last year, Minneapolis recorded more homicides than in the last two decades, according to the Associated Press. Minneapolis has grappled with the Defund the Police movement — voting out several council members in 2021 who supported a charter that would have abolished the MPD. (RELATED: ‘Defund Police’ Activist Joins Obama Foundation After Getting Voted Off Minneapolis City Council)
Jeremy Miller, the Minnesota Senate’s majority leader, previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “law enforcement professionals” need “more support.” MSI is suggesting people contribute a minimum of $220 per month for at least six months. One hour of buyback costs add up to roughly $110, the group says.
MSI is not the only grassroots initiative dedicated to seeking to support off-duty officers. The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, another group, is fundraising to be able to pay an off-duty officer to patrol a downtown area for certain times each week, MinnPost reported.
MSI and the MPD did not reply to requests for comment.
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