Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo expressed outrage at a controversial proposal to be voted on by residents in November that would eliminate the city’s police department.
Arradondo called the proposal “wholly unbearable.” The charter amendment seeks to replace the police department with a new “Department of Public Safety,” which could include licensed peace officers “if necessary,” the bill states.
The proposal, written by a political organization called Yes 4 Minneapolis was pushed by liberal Democrats after the death of George Floyd, amidst other calls by activists to defund and “reimagine” policing in the city.
Under the proposal, the MPD would be replaced with the new department that aims to address “the root cause of crime” and maintain a “public health centered approach.”
Arradondo was particularly unhappy with the part of the amendment that would put the new department solely under the control of the mayor and city council.
“It would not just be confusing — it would be a wholly unbearable position for any law enforcement leader or police chief,” Arradondo said at a news conference.
Arradondo, who is in his second three-year term as police chief, emphasized that such a transition would be inefficient and complicated, saying that “operational efficiency is essential to both building trust and public safety.”
“The leadership reporting structure for a major city chief is critically important. The department’s operational readiness, effectiveness along with decisionmaking ability and approval process requires clarity and timeliness,” he continued.
Democrats are split on the issue.
Rep. Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison have supported the proposal while Gov. Tim Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar have opposed it.
Minneapolis has already made big changes to their police department such as redirecting $8 million of funds to mental health and drug addiction social programs in 2020.
According to the Star Tribune, the department is also short hundreds of officers due to resignations and retirements.