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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.

Go deeper

Minneapolis' security plan for Derek Chauvin trial sparks fiscal fight

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Security plans for next month's trial of former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin are starting to take shape, as lawmakers bicker over who should foot the bill.

Why it matters: Leaders say a robust law enforcement presence is needed in downtown Minneapolis to protect public safety and private property, but it could also have a big impact on the area's pandemic recovery.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
44 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.