St. Paul Police Chief asks City Council for funds to hire 65 new officers
Axtell told council members he was allowed to have 620 sworn-in officers, but right now there are only 563 on the city’s payroll. He described his officers as “overworked”, “understaffed” and “mentally exhausted”.
“The men and women who hold this department together are on the brink,” Axtell said. “We are also losing officers at an alarming rate due to medical leave with, already this year, 26 officers leaving the profession due to health problems and historically those numbers have been one or two. [per year]. “
City council member Mitra Jalali disagreed with Axtell’s request for an additional $ 3 million. She told the chief that she was disappointed with her presentation – which she said was not handed over to city council in time for further consideration.
“I feel a little surprised right now and on top of that you are asking for a raise of $ 3 million,” Jalali said. “And this comes after we’ve had historic civil unrest and uprisings against police brutality and it’s part of the same outgrowth of white supremacy, structural racism and there’s just more community instability than ever before.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Melvin Carter told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the mayor’s budget proposal for next year calls for a 4.3% increase in police spending next year, which is an increase of proposed budget higher than any other department in town.
“Our long-term public safety challenges cannot be solved by simply doubling down on traditional strategies,” Carter said in a statement. “Our Community-First framework, built by residents and officers working together, balances investments in policing with interventions in neighborhoods in support of a much more holistic approach to public safety. “