Minneapolis may bring in officers from other jurisdictions to help the city’s police department as the city faces a wave of violent crime and an officer shortage, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. If the plan is approved by the mayor and City Council, officers from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Metro Transit Police would temporarily work with the city, primarily helping to respond to 911 calls involving violence. “We’re not gonna be having these people out taking bicycle theft reports. These are going to be people out combating crime issues,” said police spokesman John Elder. The officers would form Joint Enforcement Teams (JETs). The city has relied on such teams in the past, particularly to help in areas where violence was spiking.
The city would reimburse the sheriff’s office and Metro Transit police for the officers they supply. It estimates the cost just shy of $497,000. The initial proposal calls for the teams to form Nov. 15 and run through the end of the year. Council Member Linea Palmisano, who is pushing for the supplementary patrols, hopes they’ll be able to continue in the 2021 budget. “We’re barely able to cover the shifts that we have,” Palmisano said. “We really can’t allocate additional police officers for on-duty shifts.” The proposal comes five months after a majority of council members promised to work toward “ending” the Minneapolis Police Department after George Floyd’s death. The city has struggled to combat a wave of violent crime, recording 74 homicides this year. At the same time, an abnormally large number of officer departures after Floyd’s death and the subsequent unrest has strained police resources. Some officers have filed PTSD claims. Minneapolis is fighting a lawsuit filed by activists, who say the city is operating below the level of officers mandated by the City Charter.