Statement by Chief Medaria Arradondo
Friday, August 18, 2017
“Madam Chair, Council Members, Mayor: I’m humbled and I’m also honored on this day to be before all of you; community; the wonderful, talented, professional men and women—both sworn and civilian—that make the Minneapolis Police Department truly one of the greatest in the country. I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the historical importance of today. And while I went through my twenty-eight years, and quite frankly even last month, never knowing I’d be before all of you today in this position, I meant what I said: in my twenty-eight years, I have never felt for one hour that my community was not supportive of me and the work that I was doing.
I stand on the shoulders of both heroes and “sheroes” that through their trials, tribulations, sacrifices and fights have allowed me—and others—to be at the place and have the opportunities that I have today. I’m so blessed that when I mention “sheroes” to have someone like Dr. Josie Johnson be with us today, and certainly Miss Deb Montgomery, who has been a leader and pioneer in so many aspects, too. But also, just to have had the friendship and relationships with someone like Elder Bellecourt, Mr. Moss, and others in the room today, I’m truly grateful of that.
When I was asked by the Mayor to go ahead and lead this police department there was not a hesitation. And the reason why there wasn’t a hesitation is because I’ve had the ability to see and work with, truly, some of the greatest men and women, both our sworn and we have an absolutely phenomenal civilian partnership that are committed. You may not hear a chief use this four-letter word, but you cannot truly believe in service without love. And I love this city; continue to love this city, and all the communities that we serve. I will continue to treat the men and women of this department with the respect and dignity that I would want to have, and that I expect our community members to be treated with.
And while I know that we have done many tremendous things with this Minneapolis Police Department, I do know that there are pockets in our communities that have felt no trust, where that trust has been shaken. And it’s important, for me, to inspire the men and women that we have to restore that. We will never succeed if we do not have the trust of our community. And so there will be dark days, and there will be difficult days, and I will call upon all of you to help support us in doing the work. But we must—in terms of the Minneapolis Police Department—we’re responsible for doing that work. I do plan to have a shift in our culture. It’s been one hundred fifty years for the Minneapolis Police Department. We have done some tremendous things. But I also know that our history has been marked with times where we have harmed communities, and that takes time to change that pain. But I’m dedicated and obligated to making sure that we do that.
I want to make sure that we are also accountable to ourselves. That’s important. For the communities to have trust in us, they must know that we are holding ourselves accountable.
I also want to focus on outcomes. Not so much just for the police department, but what are the outcomes that our communities feel are important to them.
And I want to wrap all of that under the blanket of procedural justice. That the men and women of this police department know that we must give our community members voice; we must give them respect; we must treat them with the dignity they deserve; and all of this in terms of building a trustworthiness and being neutral and non-judgmental at the same time. It’s going to be a heavy lift, but I’m ready for it.
As someone had said before in a public meeting, I’m short and bald, and I’m ready and up to the task. I’m up to the task. But, I truly want to thank all of you. All of you are part of my four hundred thousand bosses that I’m responsible for. And this is not an easy task, and—for your consideration to have me stand before you to lead the Minneapolis Police Department, was not an easy one. And you have to take into consideration the concerns of all your constituents. I will tell you that there will not be a day that I show up to work and put on this badge that I’m not thinking about all of your constituents. And I’ll continue to try to make them feel safe and be safe in this wonderful city of ours.
So, with that, I just want to thank every one of you. Thank you.”