Frey, Arradondo, and MN mayors call on legislators to fix arbitration process for law enforcement

(Charles Hallman/MSR News) Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo joined local leaders today to call on lawmakers to fix the state’s broken arbitration process for law enforcement officers.

Frey and Arradondo have pushed aggressively for the legislature to address the state statute that impedes structural police reforms by giving third-party arbitrators authority to overturn disciplinary and termination decisions in cases of egregious misconduct.

“Without legislation to prevent arbitrators from reinstating officers who engage in the most egregious misconduct, the kind most damaging to public trust, Minnesota local government’s ability to make progress on shifting the culture of policing will remain limited,” said Frey. “If the legislature is serious about deep, structural police reforms, this is the most impactful change they could make.”

Mayors and chiefs highlighted past instances when the process has failed the department and their residents and hamstrung work to shift police culture.

Roughly 50% of police terminations in Minnesota are overturned by arbitrators when appealed.

Participants included Frey, Arradondo, Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris, and Richfield At-Large Council Member Mary Supple.

The League of Minnesota Cities, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Rochester Mayor Kim Norton, who were not able to attend today’s event in-person, also submitted statements of support.

“Rochester is committed to the creation and development of police reform and is supportive of this arbitration reform, as this discussion moves forward,” said Rochester Mayor Kim Norton. “This is a statewide issue.  Rochester’s Mayor Norton and Police Chief Jim Franklin support the LMC/MCPA statement as well.”

“This moment demands decisive action,” said Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “Reforming arbitration is critical to ensuring we can hold officers who betray our trust accountable.”

—Information provided by the City of Minneapolis.