Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Sunday launched a national recruitment push to find the next "reform-minded" chief of police, about three months after Medaria Arradondo said he wouldn't be seeking a third term as the city's top cop.
The City of Minneapolis said it has hired the national search firm Public Sector Search & Consulting Inc. to oversee and lead the process to find the city's next chief, with a goal of wrapping up the search process by this summer, a news release says.
“This will be one of the most consequential hires we ever make,” said Frey. “The importance of hiring a reform-minded chief of police to lead a culture shift in our department cannot be overstated. It has never been more crucial or necessary to bring in a leader who can rebuild our department and achieve a renewed reality of public safety in the community. Now is the time. We must get this right.”
Meanwhile, Frey will form a search committee of "diverse community members" to help interview candidates vetted by the search firm and recommend candidates to the mayor for final consideration. The members of this committee will be announced this week, the mayor's office said.
Arradondo announced in December 2021 he would not seek a third term as Minneapolis police chief after having overseen the Minneapolis Police Department since mid-2017. Mayor Frey named Amelia Huffman, the MPD's deputy chief of professional standards, as the interim chief on Dec. 7, 2021.
The search for a new chief of police comes at a tumultuous time for the MPD. The killing of George Floyd in May 2020 set off a period of civil unrest in the city. And the actions of police officers and other law enforcement during this period have come under heavy criticism for their use of force during protests, and allegations of a deliberate pullback by some officers during a time crime in the city surged.
She took over for Arradondo officially on Jan. 15, and a little over two weeks later was the subject of scrutiny and criticism for her handling of the killing of Amir Locke by an MPD SWAT team.
In the 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.
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. Minneapolis voters in November 2021 rejected a plan to replace the MPD with a public safety department though many residents stress change is needed.
“Our team has been at the forefront of bringing new leadership to police departments across the country to instill community-minded values, innovation, and reforms,” Gary Peterson, CEO of Public Sector Search & Consulting Inc., said in a statement. “We are honored to be partnering with Minneapolis at this critical time and will be engaging stakeholders and community to inform the process and guide our search for the right Chief of Police to lead MPD into the future.”
The city says this search process will "involve significant engagement with internal and external stakeholders," noting the search firm has already started meeting with the mayor and City Council members.
Public Sector Search & Consulting Inc. (PSSC), which is an executive search firm that focuses exclusively on police executive searches, plans to host community stakeholder meetings with individuals and groups the city identifies, as well as discussions with MPD command staff and labor representation.
PSSC will use the input it gets from these meetings to create a "position profile" that will inform the selection process. The search firm will then post an official job position and begin recruitment efforts.
It will then review candidate information and pick candidates to interview. The final candidates will then be forwarded to Mayor Frey for additional reviews and consideration before he makes a selection.
Whomever Frey nominates will go through a background process by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension before the nomination and confirmation go to the Minneapolis City Council for approval.