Minneapolis seeks community input for police chief search

At left, Councilmember LaTrisha Vetaw listens as a community member offers input.

The search for a new Minneapolis police chief continues, as members of a search committee held their second community listening session on Thursday, April 21 in Elliot Park’s community building. 

According to the City’s website, “The community feedback, guidance, and perspective received during these sessions will be an integral piece in the creation of the position profile and will inform the entire search process for the new police chief.”

City Councilmember LaTrisha Vetaw, who moderated the session, said the community input will lead to picking a better candidate than if the search committee had selected a candidate on their own. She referenced her time serving as director of health policy and advocacy at NorthPoint Health & Wellness, saying she asked for community input on every decision she made in that role, and that it would have felt wrong not to do the same while working on the police chief search committee.

“What we’re going to be asking you about is what qualifications are most important in selecting the chief, what should be the highest priorities of the next chief of police, and what leadership qualities are most important when selecting the next chief,” Vetaw said.

Liban Hassan, a resident of the Armatage neighborhood, said he believed that community listening meetings are very important for choosing the best police chief to address issues within the department. He referred to racial disparities between Black and White residents in police stops and the criticism against the Minneapolis Police Department after the 2020 killing of George Floyd and the killing of Amir Locke in February of this year.

“[Police] training has to be very specific,” Hassan said. “We need to have police officers that are not only honest and transparent, but ones that actually know how to do their jobs properly, and not hire the ones that have been fired from another department.”

He added, “We need strong background checks, strong racial equity training, because obviously crime is the issue, but racial profiling issues is a big issue itself.” 

Vetaw said the input gathered from these meetings will be used by the search committee in partnership with Public Sector Search & Consulting Inc. (PSSC), the executive search firm hired by the City to create a job description for the role. 

This job description will in turn inform what qualities PSSC will be looking for in a candidate for the Minneapolis police chief. PSSC will then send a list of finalists to Mayor Jacob Frey, who will send his choice to the city council for approval. 

The new chief of police will take over for Amelia Huffman, who was named interim police chief in January after Medaria Arradondo, the city’s first Black chief of police, stepped down.

Three more community sessions will take place:

  • Monday, April 25, 6-7:30 pm at Powderhorn Park building, 3400 15th Ave. S.
  • Wednesday, April 27 from 6-7:30 pm at Logan Park building, 690 13th Ave. N.E.
  • Tuesday, May 3 from 6-7:30 pm at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park building, 4055 Nicollet Ave.

Community comments regarding the selection of a new police chief can also be submitted directly to the police chief search committee by filling out a survey at bit.ly/MPDChiefSessions.