Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced his decision to terminate discussions with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis on Wednesday as part of a police reform initiative just days after the city council announced its plans to defund and deconstruct the police department.
“Race is inextricably part of the American policing system,” he said in a media briefing. “We will never evolve in this profession if we do not address it head on.”
According to Arradondo, the decision was the result of a set of reforms that he intends to use to “[ensure] the public safety of our residents.”
“What our city needs now more than ever is a pathway and a plan that provides hope, reassurance and actual measures of reform,” Arradondo said. “This work must be transformational but I must do it right.”
Arradondo said his hope is that by eliminating relationships with police unions, the Minneapolis Police Department will be able to actively and properly pursue cases of police brutality and misconduct when they arise. According to the chief, “there is nothing more debilitating from an employment matter perspective than when you have grounds to terminate an employee for his conduct,” but can’t because of the defenses set in place through police unions.
Other improvements Arradondo hopes to implement include “new procedures so that department leaders can identify early warning signs of misconduct” and how to address them as well as policies “to include both grievances and arbitration.”
“This is further examining those significant matters that touch on such things as critical-incident protocol, our use of force, the significant role that supervisors play in this department and also the discipline process,” he said.
All of these reforms must be passed through the veto-proof majority member Minneapolis City Council that previously announced its plans to dismantle the department and shift funding towards social programs intended to fix any systematic issues.
Despite that fact, Arradondo claims he will not give up on those “communities of color have paid the heaviest cost, and that is with their lives.”
“History is being written now and I am determined that we are on the right side of history,” he said.