MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Monday that he will not be seeking a third term in office.
During a news conference announcing his retirement, Arradondo said he's been "blessed beyond measure" to serve the people of Minneapolis.
"I believe that now 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," Arradondo said, adding: "This, at the end of the day, is what I feel is best for the department as well as my personal well-being."
Arradondo, 54, plans to retire when his term ends in mid-January. He became the department's first Black chief in 2017 after the resignation of former chief Janeé Harteau in the wake of the Justine Ruszczyk-Damond shooting.
Arradondo says he's not seeking another police chief position at another department, nor other public office positions.
"After 32 years of service, there's some inward inflection that I have to do," Arradondo said.
At the press conference, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he plans to announce an interim chief this week. The interim chief will take over when Arradondo's term ends. The city will be conducting a national search for the next police chief.
"I can assure everyone in this city that there will be continuity of leadership in the weeks and months ahead," Frey said.
When asked if someone within the police department's ranks has been suggested as a candidate, Arradondo didn't give any names but said that he felt there were competent people within the department's upper echelons.
Arradondo says he has no plans to leave Minneapolis and will help Frey in the search for his replacement. When asked about his hobbies, Arradondo described himself as a music aficionado and a "frustrated drummer."
During Arradondo's second term in office, the Minneapolis Police Department became a national focal point following the murder of George Floyd by former officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin has since been convicted and sentenced to over 20 years in prison.
The unrest following Floyd's murder led to calls for significant police reform, including defunding police. A ballot initiative in Minneapolis that would have removed the police department from the city charter and replaced it with a reimagined public safety department failed in the November election.
During the news conference, Arradondo said that the impacts of Floyd's murder will stay with him forever. However, he said that they did not ultimately enter into his decision to retire.
"It's time," Arradondo said, reiterating that he's served the city for more than three decades.
His long career with the department has not always been rosy. In 2007, he was one of four high-ranking Black officers to sue the department for discrimination. They settled for $740,000.
Fourteen years later, polling showed that he was so popular as chief that he became the face of the successful campaign against the recent ballot amendment to replace the Minneapolis Police Department.
Over the last year, several hundred officers have left the police department as the city has experienced a surge in violent crime. Arradondo in October requested an additional $27 million in funding for 2022 in an effort to rebuild core services.
In November, Minneapolis police announced its intentions to hire 40 full-time police recruits and another 50 experienced officers.
Following the mayor's reelection victory, Frey announced a new commission aimed at addressing the city's growing violent crime problem -- Arradondo is among the members.
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