"There's not a lot of fat there to cut," she said of the MPD budget, noting that 80% is earmarked for employee salaries and benefits.
Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, one of the chief proponents of dismantling the police department, questioned whether the city should continue authorizing unprecedented levels of overtime when there's a perception within the community that officers are shirking their duties.
"When you have a surge of a lot of people saying the same thing, that's notable," Ellison said.
MPD officials have balked at allegations of a deliberate work slowdown, countering that patrol cars are stretched and officers are stuck in a constant reactionary mode because of the sheer volume of calls.
"Officers continue to come in and work every single day. You're not seeing the 'Blue Flu,'" Elder said. "We're doing the absolute best we can with the resources we're given."
For others, the situation is further proof that the city must find ways to shift certain responsibilities away from the police.
"We can't keep asking them to do more with less and less and expect to get good results," said Council Member Steve Fletcher. "We have to transfer some of their work."
(Staff writer Liz Navratil contributed to this report.)
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