Amelia Huffman, the deputy chief of professional standards, has been designated the interim chief of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
Huffman, who lives in Uptown and has been with the MPD for 27 years, will take over for Medaria Arradondo on Jan. 15, 2022, Mayor Jacob Frey announced Tuesday.
Chief Arradondo on Monday said he is retiring next month after 32 years with the department.
Deputy Chief Huffman, who will be the second woman to lead the department, said she's "honored" to have the opportunity to step into the role as interim police chief at "such an important time for" Minneapolis.
During a news conference Tuesday, she said she wants this job, in the face of all of the challenges, because she has lived in Minneapolis for 28 years and "I love my city," calling it a "tremendous place."
"With that said, I realize we have significant challenges to address, particularly in the most disenfranchised parts of our city," Huffman said.
Huffman will be taking over the MPD on an interim basis at a time when the city is facing a surge in violent crime, from homicides to carjackings, and officer staffing shortages that coincide with a distrust of law enforcement and calls for substantial police reform.
She said policing is a "noble profession" and she loves the MPD, adding she's committed to doing the work to ensure they're building a department for the future, with all stakeholders, so everyone in the city has the opportunity to thrive.
“The men and women of the Minneapolis police department have been tested over the course of the last several years. As a department, we must collectively recognize that rebuilding trust and enhancing public safety will require excellence in the line of duty as well as a willingness to embrace bold community safety and reform strategies," Huffman said in a statement. "That is what the people of Minneapolis rightly expect and the direction my team and I will continue moving this department.”
Frey said Huffman is the "right leader to carry forward the work toward a more just and equitable system of safety in Minneapolis."
“She has an encyclopedic knowledge of policy, procedure, and training – the building blocks of enacting a culture shift across the department and keeping our city safe. She has earned trust and respect from colleagues and community members throughout her time with police department due to a track record of exceptional leadership, and I’m excited to see that record grow in this new role,” Frey said in a statement.
Chief Arradondo in a statement called her "aptly capable, competent and qualified" for the unique role, and said she is "thoughtful" and has a "real understanding of the complex public safety challenges our city is experiencing. She is a true leader, bridge builder and problem solver.”
Huffman, who has a master's degree in strategic leadership from Stephens University, joined the MPD in 1994, rising through the ranks in the 3rd and 5th Precincts, investigations and administration. As deputy chief of professional standards, she's been tasked with overseeing administrative services, internal affairs, training, and technology and support services.
Frey said she has been a "driving force behind accountability" in the MPD and has led work to reform the officer training program.
According to a database maintained by the advocacy group Citizens United Against Police Brutality, Huffman's disciplinary history includes two complaints from 2013 that were both closed without discipline.
The city is conducting a search for local and national candidates to replace Arradondo permanently. Huffman said she is interested in the permanent job and hopes to have more discussions with Frey about the role.