The Minneapolis Police Federation has started running a radio ad criticizing Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak for agreeing to a budget that cuts police officers. The group has long criticized Rybak for his time as mayor but their efforts to unseat him (most notably in 2005) did not work.
What makes this ad different is that it’s running when Rybak is running for governor. The ad even mentions Rybak’s run for governor:
“Call Rybak today and tell him runnig for governor doesn’t mean you can cut and run in the fight against crime.”
Will it have a bigger impact in the rest of the state?
I contacted the mayor’s office for a comment and will post one if/when they comment.
Here’s a comment from Rybak:
I have focused like a laser on making Minneapolis a safe place to call home, and we’ve had some great success: in the last three years, we’ve cut violent crime by 39%, violent crime by juveniles is down 47% and murders are at the lowest level in decades. The work of Chief Tim Dolan and officers of the Minneapolis Police Department, combined with that of neighbors across our city, have made Minneapolis safer by almost every measure. These facts are indisputable.
Unfortunately, the Federation’s ad is about politics, not policing. I’ve made a practice of focusing on getting results for the people of Minneapolis and not focusing on predictably misleading ads from the Police Federation. That’s not going to change.
Focusing on getting results includes managing our finances responsibly. Governor Pawlenty has made that challenge harder by refusing to solve the State’s chronic budget crisis and handing down $43 million in cuts to Minneapolis in the last 12 months. To address this financial reality, we’ve cut $100 million dollars in spending for next year. In this tough environment, no department is immune — but the Police Department has taken smaller cuts than most other departments.
The good news is that with the help of President Obama’s economic-recovery package, we hope to rehire all six of the laid-off officers and at least seven of the 19 new recruits. In other words, we hope to hire back at least 13 — that is, over half — of the 25 laid-off officers and recruits.
I will keep working with Chief Dolan and the City Council to implement further effective reforms that keep people safe and keep crime — and costs — down.