Mass exodus: Nearly 200 of the 850 officers on the Minneapolis Police Department have filed paperwork to leave.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Almost 200 out of the approximately 850 officers on the Minneapolis Police Department have filed paperwork to leave the department. 

The mass exodus has occurred after several “protests” after the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day have created destruction so intense, it has been compared to a war zone. 

Officer Rich Walker, Sr, a 16-year MPD veteran, said:

“It’s almost like a nuclear bomb hit the city, and the people who didn’t perish are standing around. I’m surprised that we’ve got cops showing up to work, to be honest.”

The Times reported that to date, 65 officers have already left the Minneapolis Police Force, an uptick from the usual 45 officers who leave each year.

Retired Minneapolis police officer and use of force expert, Mylan Masson told a USA Today reporter in an article dated June 14, that officers “don’t feel appreciated.”

He said:

“Everybody hates the police right now.  I mean everybody.”

Ronald F. Meuser, Jr, a lawyer representing the officers, reported that if the officers officially leave the force, the manpower would be down by 20%.  Many of the officers who are filing paperwork to leave are citing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as reasoning behind the large influx of officer’s wanting to leave.

However, back in June, Minneapolis spokesperson, John Elder downplayed the departures, telling USA Today:

“There is nothing that leads us to believe that at this point the numbers are so great that it’s going to be problematic.

“People leave employment for a myriad of reasons – the MPD is no exception.”

Minneapolis police officers tell a different story.

It has been reported the morale among the officers have sunk to a new low in the last several weeks since the protests began.  According to department insiders, officers are reporting feeling misunderstood and feeling “squeezed” by the on-going state probe, by protesters who launch bricks and slurs their way, by city leaders who abandoned a local precinct and allowed it to be burned on national television by these so-called “protesters.” 

Minneapolis City Council member, Jeremiah Ellison, who is publicly known to support Antifa as well as efforts to defund the police, stated:

“Policing as an institution has largely been untouchable, despite the many, many, many failings that are cultural.  Here we are in a moment where people all over the country are saying, ‘no, no, no, no, no, we are interested in real accountability.”

Ellison also mocked officers, saying that any who leave the force are largely saying “You’re picking on us; you don’t know how hard our job is and we’re going home.”

However, many MPD officers have been seriously injured in the protests over the last couple of months. 

An anonymous source told reporters that many of the officers who have already left the department stated in their exit interviews that the lack of support from MPD supervisors and leaders at City Hall as the protests escalated was their biggest reason for leaving. 

In an email to supervisors back in June, a senior MPD official commented that other officers who had left the job simply walked off the job in protest to the ongoing atmosphere in the department.

The email informed officers:

“During this busy and trying time I have heard secondhand information that there have been employees that have advised their supervisors that they separated with the city (or quit) without completing paperwork.” 

In the same email, he directed officers who still had the desire to quit to contact the human resources department so that the exit process could be “completed to ensure that we know who is continuing to work.” 

Executive director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association says the ongoing “ripple effect” from George Floyd’s death is causing a rising issue to recruit and retain officers nationwide. 

A changing tide in the public’s attitude and perception towards police, mixed with low pay and a high turnover, has driven the applicant pool to a record 25-year low and leaves many wondering if there will be enough qualified applicants  available to replace the officers that have left.

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Meanwhile, in what may be termed as a shocking development, the amount of proactive work of the police officers in Minneapolis Minnesota Police Department has significantly declined.

Official data released by MPD shows that, since the protests started, MPD officers have stopped 77% less people, in comparison from the same week in 2019.  Any other stops, to include vehicles with searches, have also declined at minimum of 87%.

Traffic stops and citizen contacts are the primary source of stopping and preventing crime from a patrol officers’ perspective.  Generally, officers will look for traffic violations or watch known criminal offenders for traffic enforcement with the thought of identifying and preventing crime. 

Overall, officers dispatched to these areas or specific persons achieve the desired results, but, since the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, officers, especially in this city, are “gun shy.”

The significant decrease of proactive activity is relative to the surge in crime in large cities, such as New York and Chicago, both of which have seen a significant uptick in violent crimes. 

One idea as to the decline is the amount of officers who are forced to deal with the unrest in the area stemming from the protests and riots after Floyd’s death.  However, the more likely culprit is the villainization of police officers throughout the nation. 

Officers are afraid of interacting with the public because they know that their agencies will not “have their backs.”  They also know that, regardless of how righteous they are in regards to criminal and case law, those no longer apply if the agenda of the day prohibits them from doing their job. 

Few police administrators or Police Chiefs stand up for their officers anymore, even if they do things exactly “by the book.” 

And those that do, like Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione, get fired. 

Those that are against common police methods of enforcement and crime prevention believe that it unfairly targets those of color.  Officers target vehicle infractions, broken taillights, brake lights not working, etc in order to make contact with those that may be or about to be committing crime. 

Officers also make contact with those that are suspicious in nature, people who appear to have committed or are possibly about to commit a crime.  This could be someone that is behind a store or a person who they saw just do what they believe to be a drug transaction. 

What is never considered is what a common person would believe would be a crime or suspicious versus what a trained and experienced officer sees.

Prior to the death of Floyd, officers in MPD conducted stops and searches of numerous people in the area in order to deter crime.  For instance, in the two weeks prior to the in-custody death, there were 263 stops which involved searches, up from 196 the year prior. 

After Floyd’s death, the stops and searches significantly declined.  MPD conducted roughly three searches per day, in an agency which has approximately 800 officers. 

MPD Public Information Director John Elder states, according to the Free Beacon:

“Officers are busy responding to an increase in violence and 911 calls.  Self-Initiated Field Activities are always going to be down when you have the spike and surge of incoming priority one calls.  Should be evident that if we are running call to call, we don’t have the time or ability to engage in traffic and other stops.” 

Whereas a busy police agency may refrain from proactive police work at times, an agency the size of the MPD has plenty of resources to absorb that issue and still remain effective.  The problem seems to be more likely the lack backing from the agency and those that control it. 

The City Council of Minneapolis has decided that their officers are wrong in doing their job based on the actions of three officers.  Regardless of how the criminal cases play out in the Floyd death, all of the city leaders there have decided that the entire department, event those members who are minorities, are racist, and therefore, cannot be police officers any longer. 

As such, their council has decided and voiced that they are abolishing the police department.  It is a miracle that there are any officers there that are still working.

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While proactivity has dropped in Minneapolis, mental health claims have risen just as dramatically.

 In the aftermath of the George Floyd riots that decimated Minneapolis, reports are coming in that close to one-fifth of the entire MPD are attempting to qualify for disability due to post traumatic stress disorder linked directly to working the riots.

While some might think these officers are pulling something akin to a retaliatory move in response to the declining support of police by officials in Minneapolis, an individual tasked with handling disability claims for the police department says these cases seem to be genuine.

Approximately 150 police officers have filed claims of PTSD and are actively seeking duty-disability from the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association. Reportedly, roughly half of those applying for disability have already been ordered not to return to duty by doctors while they’re actively treating their PTSD.

Ron Meuser is the person tasked with handling a majority of disability claims that stem from the Minneapolis Police Federation.

In his dealings with these cases thus far, he noted that officers who were working the riots “did not feel they were going to come home,” while the riots were at their most dangerous.

Some officers were said to have texted their families final goodbyes, just in case they never returned from their shift. Other officers admitted to “saving a bullet” in case they were left with the choice of taking their own life or getting beaten to death by the crowds.

According to Meuser, many of the officers who were active during the riots and protests had worked 17 days in a row, with many of those very officers having to work 12-hour shifts during the calamity. Based upon those elements, Meuser said that the burden began to become too much for many officers:

“It became almost too much to handle.”

When the 3rd Precinct was set ablaze during the riots, Meuser said that was the tipping point for many of the officers’ mental well-being. However, Meuser also acknowledged that contributing factors to PTSD with these officers didn’t merely just start after the riots tore through the city:

“The symptoms didn’t just start six weeks ago. They’ve been dealing with symptoms for decades.”

The citing of decades by Meuser is in reference to the fact that a majority of the officers seeking disability for PTSD have served on the force between 16 and 23 years.

When posed with the question as to whether these claims of PTSD were some kind of exaggerated display or retaliatory move against a perceived lack of support toward police officers, Meuser asserted that this was not some sort of stunt or charade:

“I’ve looked them in the eyes, not one of them is attempting to get out of working. Every one of them, to a man and woman, said, ‘I never thought I would be leaving this way.’”

If any of the officers are afforded positive outcomes in their disability claims, then said officers would be able to claim 60% of their average annual salary for a period of 20 years.

Minneapolis City Councilwoman Linea Palmisano has some worries associated with the immense number of claims filed, noting concerns about the financial impacts this could have on the city:

“This keeps someone who is no longer working, at a significant expense to our city, and I fear with appropriate treatment could have recovered and been a meaningful contributor to our city.”

While Palmisano expressed said worries about the sheer number of claims, she also doesn’t believe these filings to be disingenuous either:

“This is too often a hidden ailment. And we sure don’t want that because it comes out in people’s lives and their work lives in a bad way.”

Well, since certain individuals in Minneapolis championed the idea of a reduced or abolished police force, they may certainly be getting that very soon – just not in the manner that they likely envisioned.

 

 

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