Minneapolis, St. Paul, cities nationwide encounter challenges in filling police chief roles

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Minneapolis and St. Paul are simultaneously looking for new chiefs of police for the first time in decades.

The Twin Cities’ situation mirrors a nationwide resignation trend: The Major Cities Chiefs Association, of which Minneapolis is a member, has reported over the past two years that 39 of its 79 members are looking for new chiefs of police.

Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Executive Director Jeff Potts told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there is a variety of reasons for this trend, including the political climate surrounding law enforcement and its leaders.

“The community leaders are expecting you to somehow do some things to reduce the increases in violent crime, significantly reduce the number of uses of force incidents, and you’re expected to protect the vulnerable people in your community and those are all, individually, very challenging,” Potts said.

Potts said the high number of chief vacancies across the country could hinder cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul in finding new police chiefs.

“They may see a lower number of candidates than they normally would if there wasn’t all that competition,” Potts said.

Former Minneapolis Deputy Chief and retired University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness, who is a member of the Minneapolis police chief search committee, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it will take some convincing to get someone to come to Minneapolis from out of state.

“I think it’s going to take some person persuasion,” Hestness said. “Once they’ve settled on the right person, they gotta get to know the city, various community members, certainly elected officials, need to make it welcoming for the person.”

Minneapolis has hired a consulting firm to assist in the search for about $95,000.

Both cities hope to have the names of finalists presented to their mayors by the end of summer or early fall.