The appointment of William McManus as Minneapolis Police Chief marked the culmination of three weeks of healthy discussion regarding the qualities desired in a new police chief and who was most qualified. Since most of the conversation occurred outside the public eye, I wanted to share some thoughts; in particular, my support for the internal candidates and my commitment to work with Chief McManus.
I believe all the candidates (internal and external) presented exemplary experience on reducing crime, community policing, officer accountability, promotion of policing excellence and the respect of the community they served. However, I felt only the internal candidates demonstrated experience in changing a police department's culture. This, and not affirmative action, is why I supported the internal candidates.
Deputy Chief Lucy Gerold developed and implemented a community policing initiative (CCP/SAFE Unit) before community policing was a common practice. She met major resistance from officers and police leadership, who viewed community policing as social work and not real police work. Through Gerold's leadership, officers changed and now community policing is a valued part of the MPD.
Deputy Chief Sharon Lubinski led the awareness and acceptance of GLBT community members and issues. She was the first GLBT officer to come out and was instrumental in moving a department that once faced significant allegations of discrimination against openly gay and lesbian citizens. Today, the rank and file supports the promotion of a lesbian female to the chief's position. How many other police departments are in a similar place? Of the 40 largest cities, only one has a female chief; none is a lesbian.
Chief McManus has a strong record, but I did not see demonstrated experience in changing a department's culture. However, his experience shows strong potential. McManus' work in Dayton is changing officers' practices; however, a vote of no confidence by the union shows that there is work to be done in changing its culture.
All this said, the City Council has voted and the city has an excellent new chief in Chief McManus.
My no vote will in no way impact my commitment to working with Chief McManus. I have spoken with him since his appointment, and we are already discussing how we will work together to ensure the highest level of policing to all communities in our city.
Healthy debate creates a stronger city.
Dan Niziolek represents the Wedge, CARAG, East Calhoun, Lyndale and parts of East Harriet and Kingfield on the Minneapolis City Council.