Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey continues to work with the Police Department to change a departmental policy that would limit new officers’ early exposure to those with a history of sustained misconduct complaints.
The mayor and Police Chief Madeira Arradondo have been discussing the move for months, long before the city Charter Commission voted last week to delay putting an amendment on the November ballot to replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.
“We are pursuing new ways to help shape officer conduct in the line of duty,” said Frey. “A new officer’s conduct and overall approach to the job can be profoundly shaped by their partner — for better or worse.”
Several City Council members have also said they want to defund the Police Department. But Frey has remained adamant that the city should not abolish the department.
The mayor and chief have moved ahead with their own changes since the death of George Floyd, including requiring officers to document attempts to de-escalate situations, whether or not force is used. They also have expanded requirements for reporting use-of-force incidents, ordering officers to provide more detail.
Frey said the new initiative stems from two routes involved in any job, which include learning and training. The learning comes from peers and other seniors you work with, he said. He said the department already offers a ton of training in such areas as implicit bias, de-escalation and use of force.
“I think the most important relationship for a new officer is learning from others,” said Frey.
He also cited a study done by Northwestern University that studied misconduct by Chicago police officers from 2007 to 2015. The primary takeaway was that officers who are exposed to excessive force are more likely to have more complaints against them.
“We need smarter guidelines around pairing new officers to help curb this “social transmission” of misconduct,” said Frey. “That’s why we’re proposing a policy to limit new officers’ exposure to those who have a history of sustained misconduct complaints.”