MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is addressing the number of employees who have left since George Floyd died on Memorial Day.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, chaos erupted on the streets of Minneapolis. The killing resulted in looting, riots, fires, and officers gave up the Third Precinct building as people moved in. As the dust settled, Chief Arradondo said seven left the department.

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“These are certainly unprecedented times, and they have created both challenges and stress to a workforce that is certainly accustomed to dealing with a variety of situations,” Arradondo said.

He said he commends officers for showing up under tough conditions, but some say there’s a lack of leadership and low morale. He had a message for the hundreds of remaining officers.

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“That frustration is valid. This will not be the same Minneapolis Police Department that they are accustomed to,” Arradondo said. “We have an opportunity to create a new Minneapolis Police Department, and we must.”

In the days and weeks ahead, he says more will be asked of employees. WCCO asked what it will take to turn things around, to boost morale and prevent more people from leaving.

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“You’re honest. I think that’s what they need. They need honesty, and they need leadership that is going to be clear with them, that’s going to support them,” Arradondo said.

While we wait to see what police reform will look like in Minneapolis, Arradondo said officers are encountering hostile situations, with bottles and rocks thrown at them while trying to perform life-saving measures. He asks others to cooperate.

“It makes it difficult for those in our communities who need our services the most,” Arradondo said.

He said the recent resignations won’t affect public service. The department normally loses about 40 officers per year. Nineteen have left so far this year, including the most recent seven.

Just three weeks ago, Arradondo fired four officers, who are now facing charges in Floyd’s death.

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Jennifer Mayerle