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Photo: Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Image

The Minneapolis Police Department is down to roughly 640 active officers — 200 below 2019 levels.

Why it matters: The shortage, which comes at a time of rising crime, could hurt MPD's ability to respond to incidents, train new officers and pursue "community-oriented initiatives," Chief Medaria Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey say.

Driving the news: More than 150 officers are on medical or other forms of extended leave — a persistent issue since the unrest and public backlash that followed George Floyd's killing — but only a handful of them are expected to ever return to work.

  • Arradondo told a City Council committee Thursday that the department needs to access more cash from a staffing reserve fund to hire and train recruits.

Flashback: Earlier City Council debates about MPD staffing hinged on whether the authorized headcount should remain in the high 800s or drop to 750. Even proponents of cuts acknowledged Thursday that the current levels could be problematic.

  • But council members also urged MPD not to compromise vetting or training standards as it increases recruiting to fill the vacancies.

What's next: Arradondo's funding request cleared the committee and heads to the full council.

Meanwhile ... three council members are pushing forward with a proposed charter amendment that would replace MPD with a new entity.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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