As part of the restructuring of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), Chief Brian O’Hara announced on Tuesday new leadership team appointments tasked with the goals of improving public safety and building community-police relations.
The MPD has been restructured into two distinct divisions, one focusing on operational services and the other on community outreach, as previously announced. To oversee the new structure, two assistant chiefs and five deputy chiefs have been appointed.
“Today is a historic day for the Minneapolis Police Department” stated Chief O’Hara. “With the change in state law, and with the support of our mayor and city council, we are able to bring the MPD in line with best practices among other similarly situated major cities, particularly those facing court-mandated reforms.
“I am confident with appointments I am announcing today that we will have the right people in the right positions to move the MPD out of the darkness and trauma of the last three years, and into a brighter future together.”
With over two decades of experience, Katie Blackwell has been appointed as the assistant chief of operations, overseeing the Patrol Bureau and the Investigations Bureau, both of which will retain their existing operational and structural framework.
Blackwell was raised in Northeast Minneapolis and began her MPD career as a community service officer. Since 2019, she has served as the inspector of the MPD’s 5th Precinct. As the assistant chief of operations, she will have oversight of the day-to-day law enforcement and investigation operations.
Christopher Gaiters is the new assistant chief of the community trust division responsible for overseeing the implementation of reforms derived from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights settlement agreement with the City and the Department of Justice’s upcoming consent decree. In addition, this department will also oversee long-term community engagement, recruitment of new officers and providing assistance to the city’s vulnerable and unhoused citizens, and more.
Gaiters has served in the MPD for 29 years. In 2022, he was promoted to chief of staff of the MPD and assigned to lead the Community Engagement and Outreach Bureau, where he led efforts in recruitment, hiring, CSO programs, internships, and engagement with the people of Minneapolis.
In addition to changes to the executive staff, Chief O’Hara also appointed two new inspectors to fill openings created in part by the restructuring. The new inspectors will be assigned to the 2nd and 5th Precincts.
For more on the new MPD leadership appointments and restructuring, go here.