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Ex-Minneapolis Chief Arradondo Says Police Chief Role 'Politicized'

"The landscape of being a police chief has changed in this country — some of it for the good," departed Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "There is a lot more transparency measures put in place. There is a lot more balance put on the leadership of the police chief. And I think there is also a lot more accountability than there has ever been for police chiefs" Arradondo says the tenure for most big-city chiefs is about 3½ years "and that’s if everything goes right … you cannot perform the duties of a police chief in the middle of the road. You have to be all in. And that’s been for the better. Unfortunately, to some degree, the role of the police chief has been politicized." In Arradondo's view police critics "tend to hunker down in absolutes, and certainly the world ... of public safety, is not absolute." He adds, "If we are to have substantive, real change, you cannot operate in the confines of absolutes. You just cannot."

Asked about criticism that former officer Derek Chauvin, who killed George Floyd, had had 18 complaints filed against him with no major disciplinary action, Arradondo said, "Complaints can vary in degree from something minor to something egregious. I know the [police department] takes those matters seriously regardless of the degree. When those matters are brought to our attention we have an obligation to those we serve to review and investigate those complaints professionally and thoroughly." The relationship between police and the public "is fragile. Very fragile," Arradondo says. "We are all interconnected with each other. Every single day." The former chief, who is Black, says that "Sadly and tragically, the numbers [of minorities involved in crime] haven’t changed over the years: Eight out of 10 of the victims of violent crimes in Minneapolis look like me. Eight out of the 10 persons who pull the trigger look like me .. I also know in talking to those communities, they weren’t telling me we need less police, or we don’t need any police. They were saying we need more."


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