New Minneapolis Mayor, Chief Meet on Police Reform

New Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo shared their vision for healing the profound divsions between law enforcement and communities of color. They lack a plan of action so far.

In a news conference brimming with optimism but short on a plan of action, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo shared their vision Thursday for healing the profound divisions between law enforcement and communities of color, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Making their first public appearance together since Frey was sworn in, the two leaders were eager to present a unified front on issues ranging from the department’s body camera policy to whether the city needs more police officers. Many officers find themselves scrambling from call to call, with little time to get out of their squad cars and mingle with community members, Frey said. He proposed “narrowing their beats” to give them more time to build relationships.

Arradondo, who last summer inherited a police force beset by calls for reform, said it isn’t enough to “put a cop on every corner.” He is working to address critics’ concerns. As an example, he pointed to the department tightening its policy on the use of body cameras after a city audit report released last fall found that officers were rarely turning their devices on. Arradondo’s predecessor, Janeé Harteau, clashed with former Mayor Betsy Hodges over the police department’s direction. Harteau was ousted last summer after the shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond by officer Mohamed Noor, while Hodges lost her re-election bid. Frey would like to see more officers living in the city; fewer than one in 10 are Minneapolis residents. While crime rates continue to fall across most of the city, gun-related violence remains stubbornly persistent in some neighborhoods.