Department of Justice officials announce new national policing initiative, city of Minneapolis to explore offer

Updated: October 20, 2020 06:09 PM
Created: October 20, 2020 09:57 AM


KSTP's Eric Chaloux reports city of Minneapolis officials are planning to do a deeper dive on a Department of Justice initiative.

The update follows an announcement Tuesday from the Department of Justice about a new national policing initiative in Minneapolis.

Chaloux reports that Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has expressed interest in the various possible reform, policy and training initiatives.

Arradondo said "It's an offering I certainly would hope we could engage and take a part in, to again to provide those additional resources that we so desperately need to really create this new MPD."

City Council member Lisa Bender issued the following statement on the proposed new center:

"I wasn't aware that the [Minneapolis] Mayor or Chief were having these conversations and learned about the Department of Justice announcement in the media. I haven't seen the details of a grant application or Memorandum of Understanding and will review any information that comes to the City Council carefully."

An earlier version of this report appears below.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced a new national policing initiative and agreement with the Minneapolis Police Department at a news conference.

Joining Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo was Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Erc Dreiband, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Katharine Sullivan and United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica MacDonald. Together, they announced a new National Response Center Initiative and offered assistance to the Minneapolis Police Department to support law enforcement, and review, enhance and reform policies and practices to prevent the use of excessive force.

The BJA Law Enforcement Training and Technical Assistance Response Center will be a national resource for all state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, according to a release from the United States Attorney's Office.

"I have heard, loud and clear, from Minneapolis faith, community, and business leaders the call for safety and protection in our community," said MacDonald. "Today, we announce a new initiative between the Department of Justice and the Minneapolis Police Department, offering federal resources to assist MPD in their reform efforts to better serve the city of Minneapolis."

The center will be run by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and be overseen by the Department of Justice. Sullivan said during the news conference Tuesday that it would be paid for by federal grants amounting to $3 million.

"As Chief of Police, I'm grateful for the opportunity to partner with our U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald to launch the DOJ Response Center Program to improve law enforcement and community protection here in Minneapolis," said Arradondo. "In creating a new MPD, I want to utilize all available tools and resources to support the hardworking and professional men and women of the MPD. We have an obligation and duty to be guardians of our communities and enhance our level of service and this program seeks to do just that. I want to thank our U.S. Attorney for her leadership and assistance in this endeavor."

Arradondo noted the department has become one-dimensional as of late, with more than 130 officers leaving the department. Police have been able to only respond to calls and conduct investigations. He added that the number of officers leaving is expected to grow by the end of the year.

"Our goal with this new policing initiative and offer of assistance to the Minneapolis Police Department to keep everyone safe and secure through Constitutional and otherwise lawful police practices," said Dreiband. "We are excited about the opportunity to partner with Chief Medaria Arradondo and the Minneapolis Police Department to protect the people of Minneapolis and support law enforcement.  We seek to ensure public safety and eliminate excessive force by the police. We also seek to enforce the rule of law to protect the people of Minneapolis and because doing so is necessary to all civilized societies."

Following the announcement, various representatives of the Civil Rights Division, Office of Justice Program and U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota will meet with a diverse group of faith, business and community leaders in roundtable events to hear from these stakeholders about important issues related to safe policing and communities.

To see the full news conference, watch the video below.

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