Alex Jackson

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A good man departs public service — Fire Chief Alex Jackson to step down Feb. 29, 2012



When Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD) Chief Alex Jackson announced his retirement two weeks ago, it was not necessarily surprising to us in this corner. We saw it coming as far back as April 2010 in the rush to judgment over the April 28, 2010 fire that was used to unfairly yet purposefully undercut Chief Jackson. As I wrote in my April 10, 2010 column, “All the Star Tribune and City Council Member Gary Schiff (DFL, Ninth Ward) have managed to do as shameless, vocal town criers against the department’s Chief Jackson, Assistant Chief Penn, and Fire Marshall Tyner, all African Americans, is get egg on their faces.”

Despite how he has been treated, the good news is that Chief Jackson is leaving for retirement on his own terms, his head unbowed. Due to my long experience as one of the federal court-appointed overseers of the department, I am extremely familiar with the MFD and its demands. It was not always an easy task to convey to the union and the politicians the importance of adhering to the orders of the federal court. Continue Reading →

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Mpls Fire Chief Alex Jackson to retire


Minneapolis Fire Chief Alex Jackson announced January 4 that he is retiring after more than 30 years of service to the Minneapolis Fire Department. Chief Jackson’s last day as chief will be February 29, 2012. In a letter to Mayor Rybak and city council members, Chief Jackson said, “After 30 years of service to the citizens of Minneapolis, including three as fire chief, I have made the decision to retire. Serving as chief of the MFD, as well as being the first African American fire chief in the history of the department, has been one of my greatest achievements and honors. I would like to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve in this capacity.”

— From a mayor’s office press release


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Some in Mpls City Hall are hostile to Blacks – Chief Alex Jackson is a target again


My Minneapolis beat continually exposes me to the fact that Black folks are really not liked nor appreciated in some circles in Minneapolis. The latest focus of City leadership is on our Minneapolis Fire Department because of its successful leadership by a Black man. Some in city government are determined to portray Fire Chief Alex Jackson as a negative example. Yet in my estimation, he has been one of the finest leaders in the history of the Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD). I should know, as I served a decade as one of six citizens presiding over the fire department for the federal court when the MFD was as discriminatory as the police department. Continue Reading →

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