On Tuesday, members of the community heard for the first time from the five finalists for the position of chief of police of St. Paul.
Mayor Melvin Carter invited the public to two forums: one at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Washington Technology Magnet School and another at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the St. Paul Event Center.
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As previously reported, four of the five nominees — Commander Pamela Barragan, Senior Commander Kurtis Hallstrom, Commander Axel Henry and Deputy Police Chief Stacy Murphy — already work for the city’s police department. Meanwhile, Dr. Jacqueline Bailey-Davis, the fifth nominee, is currently working in Philadelphia as an inspector of police personnel.
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The co-chair of the committee tasked with narrowing the search for the next leader says diversity is important when looking for the next best cop.
“St. Paul is such a neighborhood-based place, and so the people of St. Paul really wanted us to make sure that the diversity of our city was going to be reflected in the leadership of this leader,” said Sasha Cotton, Co-Chair. of the research committee.
Deputy Chief Jeremy Ellison has led the department since former Chief Todd Axtell retired on June 1. Ellison did not pursue the permanent job.
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“I’m the only one sitting here who wears a uniform every day,” Hallstrom said, as he introduced himself to the audience at Tuesday’s forum. He joined the SPPD in 1999 and serves as the senior commander responsible for the leadership and management of the Eastern District.
“We need to build relationships with our community,” said Hallstrom, who stressed that partnership is important for gaining information that can help investigations, as well as building trust between the SPPD and those they serve.
At the Washington Technology Magnet School, each of the finalists shared their vision for the future of the Saint Paul Police Department.
“We can come together as a community and start to bring healing and be a role model,” said Henry, who joined the SPPD in 1998. He is currently commander of the Narcotics, Financial Intelligence and trafficking in human beings.
He described the department’s future style as collaborative, “the community is the police and the police are the community”.
The finalists also shared their leadership style with the audience.
“We’re not a department in my opinion that needs a drastic change,” Murphy said. “I want to keep coming in as the next leader setting the bar high.”
Murphy became a uniformed officer for SPPD in 2002 and in her current role oversees the day-to-day operations of 563 sworn employees.
Dr Bailey-Davis thinks the SPPD would benefit from a fresh perspective.
“I am this change ladies and gentlemen for Saint Paul,” said Dr. Bailey-Davis, who explained that she would be a results-driven leader. “I am here to serve and transform lives.”
Within the Standards and Accountability Division/Audits and Inspections Unit, for the Philadelphia Police Department, she currently performs audits and inspections of all departmental policies and procedures, develops operational procedures and acts in an advisory capacity for line and survey operations.
Commander Barragan joined the Saint Paul Police Department in 1996 and serves as the Unit Commander for Community Partnerships.
“As leader, I will represent my officers with integrity and compassion,” she said, while pledging accountability. “When we make a mistake, we will own it.”
Over the course of an hour and a half, Mayor Carter asked the candidates a series of questions, including their approach to recruiting candidates and how they would balance increasing crime with the need for accountability and accountability. police reform.
The candidates shared similar but different views on the most serious public safety challenge facing the city.
Barrangan thinks the most pressing problem is juvenile delinquency. She said: “We have to make sure that we give miners hope, we have to make sure that we teach them to be responsible for their choices.
Hallstrom, however, responded, “I believe the biggest problem we face in Saint Paul is our drug problem, particularly with opiate addiction.”
Bailey-Davis and Henry agreed that violence involving guns was the main problem.
“I believe the greatest approach to gun violence is to take a proactive approach,” Bailey-Davis said.
Deputy Police Chief Murphy told the crowd, “Violent crime is our most pressing issue that we want to tackle.
The candidates were aligned in their vision of the collaboration in the years to come.
“It’s the responsibility of all of us to work together,” Murphy said.
Following the public forums, Mayor Carter will conduct final interviews with each of the candidates. His office told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it plans to select a final nominee to present to city council for approval by early November.