New mayor and police chief hope to 'double down' on public safety

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In his first public statements after being sworn in as mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey told reporters that his first order of business would be "unity."

Just two days later Frey began that journey by appearing with first-year Police Chief Medaria Arradondo at a north side grocer, later sitting down for a round table discussion to set an agenda for the young mayor's first year at the helm.

"More than just rhetoric, this is at the end of the day about getting clear results," Frey said. "That's what public service should be about."

Frey laid out his plan to hire more officers, hoping to eventually narrow police beats and the area that officers have to cover, as well as an announcement that MPD officers will begin to carry anti-opioid overdose medication Narcan. Also top of the list for both men was to reform the department's use-of-force policies to include "reasonable alternatives" to deadly force, following several high-profile police shootings over the last few years.

In response to a fatal incident last July that claimed the life of Minneapolis woman Justine Damond, the department instituted new training guidelines meant to accomplish just that--though Frey hopes to "double down" on those guidelines in order to improve public trust in the department.

"We know there have been times that the trust [in us] has been shaken," Arradondo said. "If the right steps are taken, the mayor and the chief believe there can be unity.

Attendees of the round table discussion said the best way to build better police-community relations is simple visibility, starting with the way officers interact with the public in their daily lives. Showing up to events like Thursday's, they said, was a good way to start.

"I think just having them get out of their cars sometimes--just a hello to someone in the community can make just that little bit of difference, get the community involved and build some sort of respect," said Sa'Lesha Beeks, whose mother was killed by a stray bullet fired during a gang shootout in north Minneapolis last May.