Minneapolis Police Staffing Falls To Lowest Level In Four Decades After George Floyd’s Death

The city has just 585 sworn officers.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 11: Members of the Minneapolis Police Department monitor a protest on June 11, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The MPD has been under scrutiny from residents and local city officials after the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Minneapolis Police Department has been hemorrhaging officers ever since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, and the force’s staffing crisis recently hit a new low.

With just 585 sworn officers, the city’s police force last month dipped to its lowest staffing level in at least four decades, the Star Tribune reported.

The city now has one of the lowest ratios of police officers to city residents out of 22 cities the outlet analyzed, with 1.4 officers for every 1,000 residents.

Only Portland had a lower ratio with 1.3 officers for every 1,000 residents, the Star Tribune reported. The national average is 2.4 officers per 1,000 residents.

The result in Minneapolis has been longer police response times and officers who are stretched thin. Sometimes no one is available to man the desks at police stations, the outlet reported, meaning residents who come to file a police report find a locked door and a handmade sign telling them to dial 911 in an emergency.

“This is absolutely not sustainable,” Police Chief Brian O’Hara said. “Thank God for all these other agencies that are filling this gap.”

The Minneapolis police force was thrown into chaos in 2020 after George Floyd’s police killing when the video of Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck went viral.

Minneapolis along with many other U.S. cities saw months of protests and riots in response to Floyd’s killing, often involving destruction of property and clashes with police.

Chauvin was ultimately convicted on murder charges in 2021 and sentenced to decades in prison.

Since the upheaval of 2020, the Minneapolis police force has lost officers faster than it can hire new ones, but it is not the only city with a police staffing crisis. The U.S. is facing a police officer shortage that spans from large cities to small towns across the country.

Many in law enforcement say departments are suffering from flagging morale thanks to a wave of anti-police sentiment that peaked with Floyd’s police killing. In some cases, city councils slashed police budgets, leaving some police chiefs feeling abandoned as they are stretched thin trying to keep residents safe.

Resignations among cops were up 47% last year over 2019, and retirements were up 19% among 200 police forces surveyed by the Police Executive Research Forum.

In New York City, the NYPD has seen an alarming wave of officers resigning.

In January and February, 239 officers resigned, the biggest exodus since 2007, according to NYPD pension data. Also this year, the NYPD lowered its fitness standards in order to bring more women onto the force, a decision the mayor reportedly had to approve.

“The NYPD staffing emergency is approaching the point of no return,” said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch in March.

In Los Angeles, the LAPD is more than 300 officers short and down to fewer than 9,000 officers, the fewest since the 1990s.

San Francisco is about 600 officers short, but the city has been able to attract more recruits lately.

Austin, which is also battling a crime spike, is more than 500 officers short, resulting in 911 callers being put on hold, according to a union representing the cops.

Nashville’s police department is short 170 officers.

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