MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Wednesday an overhaul of the police department’s use of force policy.

Part of the policy requires that officers use the lowest level of force to safely engage a subject, and that officers must consider all reasonable alternatives before using deadly force.

“The revisions of this policy bring to more closely mirror the values of the MPD under my leadership. The sanctity of life is paramount in any interaction the community has with our department,” Arradondo said. “This is a policy that strengthens our commitment to de-escalation and reportable force which will help keep our officers and the public safe.”

Additionally, Frey and Arradondo say they are advancing a ban on shooting at moving vehicles and “effecting a fundamental shift in department policy by replacing long-held standards for what is ‘legally allowable’ with overarching principles and best practices to oversee use of force.”

Some of the policy changes were made possible by the Minnesota Police Accountability Act, which was recently passed and included restrictions on deadly force.

“No incidents have been more damaging to police-community relations than the excessive or unnecessary use of force against the people who our officers are sworn to protect. Upholding the sanctity of life is not just a part of this policy — it is the foundation of it. These changes represent a fundamental shift within our department and set clearer standards for community and officers as well,” Frey said. “Our new policy also broadens how the city of Minneapolis defines use of force to include actions, such as unholstering or displaying a weapon.”

Frey also called for police arbitration reform, saying that keeping officers who violate the policy off the force will be an important part of helping the policy “take root” in the police department.

In situations where use of force is necessary, officers are expected to document and justify their actions.

“What I’ve heard from communities over the course of several years is the impact when officers point their weapons at them — even if it doesn’t result in an arrest situation, the trauma that can have,” Arradondo said.

Arradondo believes the revisions will help build trust between the city and his department. Training for the changes will happen both in person and virtually, with policy going into effect Sept. 8.

“They want to do their best. They want to give their best for the communities. So that is inspiring. It’s hopeful. I’m hearing it in more parts of our city where people want to see more of our officers. And they want to be seen. They want to support them,” Arradondo said.

WCCO has reached out to the Minneapolis Police Union about the policy changes, but so far have not heard back.

John Lauritsen