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