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Some upscale Minneapolis, Minnesota neighborhoods are drawing criticism over an initiative where residents have pooled money to fund extra police patrols following the city’s pledge to “disband” the police department.
Residents in the Lowry Hill neighborhood, using a nonprofit known as the Minneapolis Safety Initiative, secured a contract with the city for $210,000 in extra police patrols from January 17 through December 31, the Minneapolis Post reported.
The move is a “temporary measure to address the current crime wave while MPD continues to rebuild to full staffing levels,” according to the nonprofit’s website.
The website suggests donations of $220 per month from residents in order for the program to achieve its “desired” impact.
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The relationship between the non-profit and the police department is part of a contractual agreement known as a “buyback” program that allows the nonprofit to secure the extra police presence by purchasing officer overtime hours.
The “buybacks” have also been purchased by sports teams, venues, and various organizations who are looking for additional police presence.
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The Minneapolis Post reported that neighborhoods represent about 22% of the roughly 9,700 buyback hours that Minneapolis police officers worked in 2021.
A similar program has been launched by the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood association to fund additional police patrols in the downtown Mill District. That program does not represent an official agreement with the city.
The program has raised $4,800 of its $30,000 goal, according to Daily Mail.
The additional police patrols, which some have referred to as essentially a crowdfunding mechanism for additional policing, comes two years after the Minneapolis City Council began calling for the disbanding of the police department in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
The city slashed over $1 million from the police budget in 2020 with plans to reallocate the money and voters shot down a 2021 city council plan to replace the police department with a department of public safety.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported this month that the cuts to the police budget have been restored thanks to American Rescue Plan funding and the department now has $3 million more than it did before the death of George Floyd.
Still, a rise in crime that includes burglaries, vehicle thefts, and total crimes so far in 2022 have raised concerns with residents about how that funding is being allocated.
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Some residents have also expressed frustration over the idea that wealthier neighborhoods are able to purchase more police protection.
“I don’t believe safety should be measured or administered based on the economic tax bracket that you’re in,” Awed, executive director of neighborhood group the Cedar Riverside Community Council, said. “When it comes to your safety, I don’t think money should be an object but unfortunately that seems to be the reality of the situation.”
Ward 1 Councilmember Elliott Payne agreed with Awed’s conclusion.
“I’m of the opinion that everyone who’s a taxpayer should get equal service and I’m not comfortable with wealthier neighborhoods pooling resources to get superior service,” Payne said. “I would rather see this be managed more equitably as part of a comprehensive staffing model that is driven by actual needs of neighborhoods, not necessarily just the resources of one neighborhood versus another.”
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The city of Minneapolis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.