Oct 11, 2022 - News

St. Paul police chief finalists to face public in two forums

Illustration of a "hello my name is..." sticker shaped like a police badge.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The five finalists for St. Paul police chief face the public this week.

What's happening: The city will host on Tuesday the first of two public forums with the top contenders to succeed former chief Todd Axtell, who retired in June after five years in the role.

Why it matters: The new chief will lead the state's second-largest police department at a time when law enforcement agencies are grappling with concerns about crime and officer shortages.

  • St. Paul received just 52 applicants for an upcoming police academy cohort. Back in 2014, the department would field hundreds of resumes a year.

Zoom in: The list of finalists forwarded to Mayor Melvin Carter by a citizen selection committee includes four department veterans and one external candidate:

  • Jacqueline Bailey-Davis, a police staff inspector in the Philadelphia Police Department's Standards and Accountability Division/Audits and Inspections Unit.
  • Pamela Barragan, unit commander for community partnerships at the St. Paul Police Department.
  • Kurtis Hallstrom, SPPD senior commander overseeing the Eastern District.
  • Axel Henry, SPPD commander in the narcotics, financial intelligence, and human trafficking division.
  • Stacy Murphy, SPPD assistant chief of police.

The intrigue: The last time someone from outside the department was named chief was in 1934, per The Pioneer Press.

Of note: SPPD deputy chief Jeremy Ellison has been serving as interim chief since Axtell retired in June. He said from the start that he did not plan to seek the role permanently.

Details: Tuesday's forum is at 6pm at Washington Technology Magnet School. A second meeting is scheduled for 11:30am Wednesday at the St. Paul Event Center (Suite 320).

  • Carter will moderate the panel-style discussions featuring all five candidates. Questions for the candidates can be sent in advance to [email protected] or submitted in real time at the forums.
  • Both meetings will be livestreamed on the city's Facebook page.

What's next: Carter is expected to name his pick for the six-year term in the coming weeks.


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