The Minneapolis Police Department recently announced a new policy that prohibits off-duty officers from wearing their uniforms at political events or for the purpose of a political endorsement. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced the policy change just a day after President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign revealed plans for an October 10 rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Arradondo, however, claimed that the policy has been under review for a year and rejected the notion that it’s connected to Trump’s visit to the city.
“Certainly the timing of it, it looks as though there’s a connection to that. I can assure you this has been reviewed, I’ve been reviewing this policy since last election year. It just so happens the change came about with the recent upcoming visit of our president,” he said during a Tuesday press conference, according to Fox 9.
“It’s very important for me as chief to ensure our policies are in line with our mission and our values,” he added. “Trust is a part of that. After receiving lots of concerns after last year’s election, regarding some of our employees wearing the MPD uniform, I did not want those in our community to feel that MPD was showing favor or bias to a particular political party or candidate.”
Arradondo was likely referring to a 2018 campaign mailer for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty, who appeared alongside Minneapolis police officers and Minneapolis Police Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll in the advertisement.
Kroll appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the policy change and said members of the police union “are outraged” by the decision.
“Minneapolis has been a Democrat city for decades. It’s never been a problem but because they’ve kind of turned their backs on the police and many other working people, we’ve shifted gears and we’ve been endorsing Republicans for the last several years, so now they’ve said no longer can you wear your uniform to support your political candidates,” Kroll said.
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To bypass the new policy, Kroll said union members will be at the Trump rally “in full force, in t-shirts, letting people know that off-duty officers do have support for our president.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey defended the policy change during a press conference this week.
“Our Minneapolis Police Department is neither an ideological or political entity. It’s not Democrat, it’s not Republican, and we want people to understand that this is a neutral department and we want the perception to be right in line with that vision,” he said.
Frey made it very clear where he stands on the president after the Minneapolis rally was announced.
“Under ordinary circumstances, it would be an honor to welcome a sitting President of the United States to Minneapolis and to showcase all our city has to offer on the national stage. But these aren’t ordinary circumstances,” he said in a press release. “Since taking office President Trump’s actions have been reprehensible and his rhetoric has made it clear that he does not value the perspectives or rights of Minneapolis’ diverse communities.”
On October 10, our entire city will stand not behind the President, but behind the communities and people who continue to make our city – and this country – great. pic.twitter.com/IGw2qis3h5
— Jacob Frey (@Jacob_Frey) September 26, 2019
“On October 10, our entire city will stand not behind the President, but behind the communities and people who continue to make our city—and this country—great,” he concluded. “While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Minneapolis Police Officer” by Minneapolis Police Department.