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Medaria Arradondo will not seek a third term as the Minneapolis police chief. 

"After much personal reflection, and thoughtful discussion with my family and Mayor Frey, I have made the decision that I will not be accepting a new term as chief of the Minneapolis Police Department," he said announced during a morning news conference Monday, thanking his MPD colleagues for their dedicated service over the past few years.

"They have served under the most challenging times in our recent history, and i am forever grateful for their service," he said.

Arradondo will retire next month, he said, in order to allow for a smooth transition as Mayor Jacob Frey considers new candidates for the role. 

Frey, speaking Monday, thanks Arradondo for his service, saying the police chief has done work "through some of the most difficult moments our city has ever experienced."

The mayor promised "continuity of safety and service" during the transition to a new police chief.

Frey, who reappointed Arradondo to his current three-year term that began in January of 2019, said he expects to announce an interim chief in the days ahead. That will include a national search for a potential successor, the mayor added.

Arradondo started with the Minneapolis Police Department as a patrol officer in 1989. He has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for 32 years, having previously served in various leadership positions, including 1st Precinct inspector, deputy chief and chief of staff. 

"As a hometown kid growing up in Minneapolis, attending public schools here, playing sports at our local parks and helping my neighbors along the way, I've been blessed beyond measure to serve the people of this truly wonderful city," Arradondo said Monday.

Former Mayor Betsy Hodges appointed Arradondo to the role in 2017. He replaced embattled then-Police Chief Janee Harteau, who was asked to resign in the wake of the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond

Arradondo, the first Black police chief in Minneapolis history, promised a "shift in our culture" upon being confirmed in August of 2017, acknowledging the department's history is "marked with times where we have harmed communities."

"We will never succeed if we do not have the trust of our community," he said. "And so there will be dark days and there will be difficult days, and I will call upon all of you to help support us in doing the work, but ... in terms of the Minneapolis Police Department, we are responsible for doing that work."

The years that followed proved to be among the most tumultuous in the department's history.

The killing of George Floyd, which Arradondo described as "murder" a few weeks after the deadly encounter, set off a period of civil unrest in the city, resulting in the destruction of the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct and burning of numerous buildings. The actions of police officers and other law enforcement (including State Patrol and National Guard) during this period has come under heavy criticism, including allegations of a deliberate pull back by some officers, during a time crime in the city surged.

All of this led to larger conversations about accountability for MPD officers — and whether the future of public safety in the city should include the police department, which is currently the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.

Arradondo on Monday said the killing of Floyd and aftermath "did not render into [his] decision" at this point, instead pointing to his family while reiterating, "It's time."

Arradondo came out against the failed Ballot Question 2 to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety. (A press conference shortly before the election brought an ethics complaint from outgoing council president Lisa Bender.) 

Arradondo repeatedly refused to comment on his future in the lead-up to the vote on the ballot question, with the possibility of his departure in the event resident voted "Yes" used as a key argument against it by opponents to the measure.

He and Frey have promised to effect change from within, with a reform, rather than replace, strategy. They have have taken steps, such as reducing enforcement of some low-level traffic violations, and last week Frey named Arradondo to the 35-member community safety working group, though critics maintain that the level of change within MPD is nowhere near fast or substantial enough.

In fall of 2020, Chief Arradondo asked for more funding to hire outside officers to help respond to the spike in crime in the city after losing a record number of officers to attrition. The City Council approved the joint enforcement aid money, but the MPD and other agencies never finalized the contracts so it didn't use the money

Arradondo's term will end in mid-January. He said he has no interest in running for other elected positions such as governor at this point, nor is he considering police chief positions outside of Minnesota.

He said he believes it is the right time "to allow for new leadership, new perspective, new focus and new hope to lead the department forward in collaboration with our communities, and I am confident MPD has the leadership in place to advance this cirtically important work that lies ahead of us."

He concluded his statement by saying: "The light of our city spirit will shine brighter in the days to come."

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