The Minneapolis Police Department has lost nearly 300 officers since last year as violent crime surges in the city, depleting resources to respond adequately, Chief Medaria Arradondo told the city council Monday.

In a budget presentation seeking $27 million more in funding for the department in 2022, Arradondo said there are 598 active sworn officers this year compared to 853 in 2019. The budget proposal calls for increased funding to rebuild core services.

The patrol bureau, tasked with responding to 911 calls, has lost 131 officers — which Arradondo says is the staffing equivalent of an entire precinct, WCCO reports.

Overtime hours due to staffing shortages has doubled since last year, finance director Robin McPherson told the council. The department also eliminated several units, like some community response teams and those focused on gangs and weapons.

“We are right now operating very much one dimensionally, ensuring that we have enough officers to respond to violent crimes as well as property crimes that may be in progress,” Arradondo said.

The budget discussion is almost exactly two weeks from the city’s election that will decide the fate of the police department as it is known today. There is a ballot proposal that, if approved by voters, would remove the police department from the city charter replace it with a department of public safety. It’s a move that proponents say is a comprehensive public health approach to public safety.

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