Mayor Betsy Hodges and Interim Police Chief Medaria Arradondo on Monday sought to reassure the public that they will work to rebuild trust between police and residents, a little over two weeks after a police officer shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond in the alley behind her home in southwest Minneapolis.
"There certainly have been areas of our community where the trust has been shaken," Arradondo said. "I'm committed to making sure that when the history is written, we are on the right side of history. We will not recoil, we will not withdraw from our obligation to protect and serve."
The news conference was held at the Third Precinct headquarters on E. Lake Street a day before the City Council's Executive Committee will consider Hodges' nomination of Arradondo as chief through the end of former chief Janeé Harteau's term, which ends in January 2019.
Harteau resigned, bowing to pressure from the mayor and council members, on July 21.
Arradondo said he will work on culture change, accountability and outcomes.
Asked to explain how the department's culture must change, the interim chief mentioned "giving our communities voice and respect, being trustworthy and neutral."
The department will soon post data online, he said, about police contacts involving suspicious person stops, suspicious vehicle stops, vehicle searches, curfew and truancy.
He said he will look at the department's use of force and body camera policies to see if they should be strengthened.
Arradondo said officers must earn the community's trust in individual moments, whether that's "taking a bended knee and looking at a young child that's going to school and giving them some encouraging advice, or helping a senior cross a busy intersection."
Hodges said Minneapolis police have "delivered more progress toward a 21st century model of policing than any other city in the country," but they need "clear direction and forward-thinking leadership." She said Arradondo is the right person for the job, because he knows the city and is a skilled communicator.
"I expect the Minneapolis Police Department to continue the trend of keeping positive community engagement at the center of its work," Hodges said.
Change in the police department is already underway, Arradondo said, but the work that still needs to be done depends on building trust within and outside the ranks of police officers. He said he is humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead the department.
"Someone could come into this wearing this uniform tomorrow, and they could change our policies, they could change our training, and take a look at our budget, but ultimately it's people," Arradondo said. "I have to lead people. And it's the people who are going to make the changes that are necessary."