Minneapolis police chief: Further cuts to department ‘absolutely ridiculous’

"Any talk today about decreasing the personnel that we have is absolutely ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous," the police chief said.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo talks with protesters at the scene of George Floyd's death in South Minneapolis. (Chad Davis/Flickr)

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo delivered a stern message to those who support further defunding of his department.

Arradondo spoke to Minneapolis residents at Shiloh Temple, a centerpiece of the black community, on Saturday. During his remarks he acknowledged that Minneapolis police “have become this one dimensional police department” that only responds to crime rather than taking a proactive role in preventing it.

He then said this is because the department has been gutted: “We are a third of a department less today than we were last year. So we are that one dimensional report and respond … which I don’t want us to be.”

The emasculation of the department began years ago, Arradondo said, when he noticed that his department was “hemorrhaging” officers and resources. However, he recalled to the audience that when he asked the City Council for 400 more officers, he was “laughed at.” Now, he thinks the city would be making the same mistake they made in the past if they were to allow MPD to shrink even further.

“Any talk today about decreasing the personnel that we have is absolutely ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Arradondo told the audience. “I want us to get back to being able to have officers that have time to sit and talk, to talk to our young people … This notion that we can do this with less right now, that is not reality.”

Meanwhile, Minneapolis residents will vote in November on whether or not the city will replace the police department with a new department of public safety. This new department of public safety “could include” police officers “if necessary.”

The City Council has already lopped off $8 million from the police budget as hundreds of cops leave the force, feeling unsupported in an increasingly violent environment.