Sep 29, 2022 - News

Frey nominates Newark official to become next police chief

frey and o'hara

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, left, and his nominee for Minneapolis Police Department police chief Brian O'Hara walk off after a press conference introducing O'Hara. Photo: David Joles/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Mayor Jacob Frey has nominated the deputy mayor of Newark, N.J. to be the next police chief of Minneapolis.

Driving the news: Brian O'Hara, 43, was one of three finalists named for the job earlier this month. The city is replacing Medaria Arradondo, who stepped down earlier this year.

Background: O'Hara joined the Newark Police Department in 2001 as an officer and rose through the ranks to become captain in 2016. He was named public safety director in 2016, overseeing a department with 996 sworn officers, 611 firefighters and a $200 million budget.

Between the lines: The Minneapolis Police Department may be subject to a consent degree following a U.S. DOJ probe. Newark is under its own consent decree and O'Hara told the Star Tribune he has been the liaison between the city and DOJ.

  • Changes in Newark have included updating use-of-force policies and implementing tougher penalties for officers accused of misconduct, the paper reports.

Why it matters: If confirmed by the City Council, O'Hara faces a tall task. In addition to the possible consent decree, the MPD is woefully short staffed and crime remains elevated since spiking in 2020.

  • Calling himself "passionate about policing and police reform," O'Hara pledged to work collaboratively to address crime, rebuild MPD's ranks and "heal the heart of this great city."

What he's saying: O'Hara said he "will build an MPD that is so good that people of all races and backgrounds will want to be part of this positive change.”

  • “It should be clear by now to all that the idea that policing can simply go away or be abolished is just simply unrealistic," O'Hara said at a news conference announcing his nomination. "The problem of serious street crime is urgent and our communities demand and deserve good police to deal with that urgently. At the same time, I commit to hold all police accountable to the values of our community.”

What they're saying: "Minneapolis has been asking for change and Brian O'Hara, the deputy mayor, is answering that call. He has this proven ability to work directly hand-in-hand with community to create systems of accountability and simultaneously drive down crime, and specifically, shootings," Frey said.

What's ahead: The City Council will have to confirm O'Hara's appointment before he becomes chief.

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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