MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When President Donald Trump comes to town next week, you won’t see any Minneapolis police officers in uniform alongside him.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced a new policy hours after the president announced he was holding a rally at Target Center.
While Mayor Jacob Frey and city leaders say the decision has been a long time coming, the police union questions the timing.
“It is very important for me as Chief to make sure our policies are in line with our mission and our values, trust is a part of that,” Arradondo said.
New Minneapolis Police Department policy prevents off-duty officers from appearing in uniform during political rallies or while endorsing candidates.
Chief Arradondo says he’s been reviewing the policy for months, following concerns from the last election cycle.
“I want to be sure when the public sees us, they don’t believe we are showing favor to any certain political candidate,” Arradondo said.
Lt. Bob Kroll, Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis president, says he has weighed in during previous policy changes — but not this time. He calls the decision politically motivated.
“It was kept completely secret from us,” Kroll said. “We believe it infringes upon the federation’s rights to have influence in the political process, and let them know where our federation stands and who our federation endorses.”
Major Frey says the decision takes politics out of policing.
“Politics and the work of the Minneapolis Police Department are separate,” Frey said. “They are individuals within our department, certainly have a First Amendment right to support whichever party or whatever individual they choose.”
And that’s what the union plans to do next Thursday at President Trump’s rally.
“We’re going to be there in full force, in T-shirts, letting people know that off-duty officers do have support for our president,” Kroll said.