By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The interim chief of the Minneapolis Police Department on Thursday laid out new priorities for the department going into the new year.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey joined Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman Thursday morning. It represented her first time taking questions since she stepped into the rule officially on Jan. 16.

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Huffman discussed the priorities for the police department, which has struggled with community relations and staffing, identifying five key areas of commitment for the department: care, connection, communication, courage, and character.

“The last few years have been heartbreaking for our city, our community members, and certainly our department,” she said. Huffman is tasked with helping rebuild a police force that has lost hundreds of officers since the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020.

Huffman said she wants to address resident concerns on carjackings and shootings by prioritizing those cases, investing in more resources for them, and hiring more officers.

“Hire new officers from the community who want to serve and who meet our high standards,” she said. “We’ll have four classes in 2022 and continuous lateral hiring for those who have experience and want to come to the City of Minneapolis.”

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MPD has also partnered with a community mediation team, she said.

“We’ll be looking for new avenues to connect young people with the police. I’m particularly interested in looking for ways to connect those young people who are interested in future service,” Huffman added.

In the months ahead, she says she plans to make changes to officer training, wellness, supervision, and discipline oversight.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said “she’s already shown herself to be a really tremendous partner.”

Frey says a nationwide search is already underway for the chief role, though Huffman has said she wants the job permanently.

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Former Police Chief Medaria Arradondo retired earlier this month after being in that role since 2017.

Kate Raddatz