Skip to main content

City Council votes to cut Minneapolis PD's public information officer

The move was not without controversy.

A major change is in store for the way the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) communicates with reporters and the public. 

On Friday morning, the Minneapolis City Council voted to eliminate the position of public information officer (PIO) from the MPD. The vote was 9-3. 

The job of speaking to reporters about local crimes and other developments — a duty which includes issuing press releases and public statements — will fall to the city's communications department on September 30 of this year. 

MPD's public information office has faced criticism over a May 25 press release in which it described the death of George Floyd as a "medical incident."

Floyd died that day after Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly eight minutes, leading to the filing of murder charges against Chauvin as well as the other officers at the scene. 

Two council members mentioned the controversial press release in a recent interview with WCCO, saying it raised “problems with accuracy" as well as issues with perceived "bias of the way information is reported."

The council's decision has generated a backlash of its own, however. 

After it was proposed this week, the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists publicly called on the council to reject the move, saying city communications officials — who will be inheriting the PIO's duties — are "not suited to this role":

An effective PIO must have the trust both of police officers and journalists, and that takes time – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Will a communications liaison be on the scene of late-night shootings? Will he or she give press conferences and return phone calls on weekends and city holidays? 

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo issued a statement defending the PIO position, making it clear he did not agree with the council's decision to eliminate it. 

Arradondo also acknowledged the service of John Elder — MPD's current director of public information — saying the department has been "lucky" to have him "as the face and voice of an organization of 1,000 dedicated public servants."

Elder has served in that role or as PIO since 2017. 

Next Up

hennepin sheriff hutchinson screengrab facebook

Hennepin Co. Sheriff Dave Hutchinson on paid leave for health reasons

The sheriff, who was recently convicted of drunk-driving, is set to stand down later this year.

Crane Lake

Flooding expected to worsen in MN's Arrowhead region

Hundreds of private homes are at-risk in northern St. Louis County.

St. Paul Police crash

St. Paul police: Kids in stolen car rammed squad, hid in porta-potty

The incident sent the Minnesota Capitol into a brief lockdown.

IMG_7030

Watch: Storm updates after heavy hail slams Twin Cities

Sven Sundgaard is providing an update after Thursday's flash hail storm.

kim crockett facebook sos

MN GOP apologizes over antisemitic sequence in candidate's campaign video

Party leader says candidate didn't know the imagery perpetuated an antisemitic trope.

storm, severe

Tornado, severe thunderstorm watches issued in Minnesota

In addition to possible tornadoes, there is a threat for damaging winds and very large hail.

House sale keys door

High prices, stiff competition putting off homebuyers in Twin Cities

Prices continue to rise in the metro, but there are signs of buyer fatigue.

Screen Shot 2022-05-19 at 1.59.51 PM

Series of explosions at manufacturing plant injures 6 in Wisconsin

The blast rocked the Wisconsin town just before 7:45 a.m.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Medford man dies in Le Sueur County crash

The 49-year-old was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Denisovan molar

MN researcher part of team behind 'revolutionary' discovery of ancient tooth in Laos

The molar found in a remote cave is believed to have belonged to a Denisovan girl who lived 164,000-130,000 years ago.

Eagle Ridge Middle School

Charges: Sting catches MN principal trying to hire child prostitute

Authorities alleged Mohamed Selim attempted to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex on Tuesday.

Related

Phillipe Cunningham

Mpls councilor receiving 'death threats' over proposal to replace MPD

Philippe Cunningham is calling for a new public safety department.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.

Anonymous

Minneapolis city and police websites taken down in alleged 'Anonymous' hack

The infamous hacker group also released a video criticizing the MPD.

Screen Shot 2020-11-08 at 2.47.24 PM

Lisa Bender, Minneapolis City Council president, will not seek reelection

She was a major force in the "dismantle the police" movement.

Minneapolis City Hall

Mpls. City Council passes cuts to police budget, maintains officer staffing levels

The City Council voted to keep target staffing levels at 888 after Mayor Jacob Frey threatened to veto the budget.

Chief Roger Pohlman

Red Wing police chief fired in controversial City Council vote

Chief Roger Pohlman served in his role for eight years.

Minneapolis mayor, council agree on plan to hire more cops

Friday's deal ends an impasse over spending on police.

Bob Kroll

Minneapolis City Council committee votes not to provide Bob Kroll defense in lawsuits

On Wednesday, the Policy and Government Oversight Committee voted to deny Kroll indemnification in four lawsuits he is named in.