Sources: 6 candidates for St. Paul police chief are top administrators within the department

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As St. Paul narrows its field of candidates to replace retired Police Chief Todd Axtell, the city has a few choices within the department to consider.

Kathy Lantry, co-chair of the St. Paul Chief of Police Examining Committee, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there have been 18 qualified candidates who’ve applied to become chief, and city sources say six of them are currently top administrators within SPPD.

Those six internal candidates are Assistant Chief Stacy Murphy, Deputy Chief Julie Maidment, Senior Cmdrs. Kurt Hallstrom and Joshua Lego and Cmdrs. Axel Henry and Pamela Barragan.

Of those half-dozen top SPPD officers, Barragan is the only one who is a person of color.

Tyrone Terrill, president of the African-American Leadership Council, says his organization and the St. Paul Black Ministerial Alliance asked the St. Paul City Council to broaden its minimum qualifications for the chief’s job to broaden the applicant pool.

“Your qualifications are too rigid, too narrow, that you will narrow it down to only a few internal candidates,” Terrill said. “So the chiefs of police from Eagan and Bloomington — who are both African-American — could not apply even though they have many years of being chiefs and an officer.”

Lantry told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she’s confident there will be more candidates of the current 18 who will be people of color.

“I know one of the reasons why the mayor decided to extend the deadline for a couple of weeks was just to make sure that enough people knew about it so we could get a wide range of applicants because you want to have more choices,” she said.

Lantry said the committee hopes to narrow the list down to five candidates, which will be given to St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter.

Carter will then choose his candidate for the job before a final vote by the St. Paul City Council. Lantry said she hoped the committee could get its list of five to Mayor Carter “within the next 60 days.”