In 2021 the nation struggled to come to terms with the complexities of policing. The prior year had been held hostage by sloganeering, as though you could create safe and inclusive communities simply by “defunding” or by “defending” police. The result of this retreat into oppositional camps was catastrophic.
Minneapolis was ground zero, where the tragedy of George Floyd’s murder enabled divisive figures to seize the microphone and declare policing fundamentally racist and deadly to people of color. Within two months, more officers left the police force in Minneapolis than in the entire prior year, and as of today, the police force has dropped to 588 from 900. The result has been triage, significantly reduced interaction between officers and residents, and a murder rate that jumped 71 percent in 2020 and then increased to new heights in 2021. While that was happening, the city council ignored reality and pushed forward a resolution to get rid of the police department and facilitate reduced staffing. Much of what happened in Minneapolis was mirrored across the country as police presence in communities declined and America experienced the largest increase in homicides since the FBI began collecting such data in 1960.