More than a dozen Minneapolis police officers added extra stripes to their uniforms on Monday, moving up into supervisory roles.
During a short ceremony at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, Chief Medaria Arradondo told the officers being promoted — to the ranks of sergeant, commander, inspector and deputy chief — that their leadership was needed now more than ever, at a challenging time for law enforcement around the nation.
"While there have been a lot of challenges, there certainly have been opportunities," he told the audience of family, friends, fellow officers and council members. "I always say leadership starts long before a promotion."
The church, on the city's south side, hosts most of the department's ceremonies for promotions, awards and graduations of new recruits.
Arradondo closed the event by introducing new deputy chief Kathy Waite, formerly a precinct inspector on the south side. With her move downtown, she became the department's highest-ranking woman. He lauded Waite, a 25-year veteran of the force, for helping launch the department's mental health co-responder program, which pairs officers with counselors on calls involving people in crises, and for promoting officer wellness.
Like the others whose names were called on Monday, Waite has already been promoted, but was only now being recognized.
Her replacement, Amelia Huffman, and Kelvin Pulphus — who were previously introduced as inspectors of the 5th and 4th precincts, respectively — were also recognized, as was Cmdr. Katie Blackwell.
Promoted to sergeant were: KeHeng Anderson, Heather Aschoff, Bevan Blauert, Gretchen Bloss, Aaron Collins, Nicholas Englund, Cory Fitch, John Haugland, Daniel Misgen, Brian Thureson, Kenneth Tidgwell and Christopher Tuma.
John Elder, the longtime department spokesman who was recently named communications director, was out of the state on an unrelated assignment.
Arradondo also thanked the officers' spouses and other family members for their continued sacrifices, given the relationship-straining demands of the job.
"Self care is very important in this line of work, and I know that they could not be with us today, if it weren't for the support you give them," he said.