Some days, the Minneapolis Police Department's ranks are so thin that just four officers in a given precinct are expected to patrol wide swaths of the city during their shift.
There's often no one available to work the front desk at police stations, so residents seeking assistance with a report are greeted by a locked door. Handmade signs instruct them to dial 911 in an emergency.
Over the past three years, MPD experienced the most significant exodus of uniformed personnel in its history and, last month, dipped to the lowest level in at least four decades.
With 585 sworn officers, the department hovers just above that of the St. Paul police department, an agency that serves roughly 120,000 fewer residents. That decline means Minneapolis holds among the lowest ratio of police officers to population served out of 22 sampled American cities, according to a Star Tribune analysis. Only Portland had a lower officer-to-resident ratio by the end of 2022 with 1.3 officers per 1,000 residents, compared to 1.4 in Minneapolis. That's significantly lower than the national average of 2.4.