Mayor Frey touts new Minneapolis police chief nominee as 'changemaker'

Mayor Jacob Frey is touting his new nominee for Minneapolis police chief as a changemaker, as the mayor announced his pick on Thursday.

Mayor Frey named Brian O'Hara as his nominee to be the next Minneapolis Police chief. The search for the next chief, to replace Chief Medaria Arradondo, was narrowed down to three finalists earlier this month.

Brian O’Hara is currently the deputy mayor of the City of Newark, New Jersey, O'Hara joined the Newark Police Department in 2001 and rose through the ranks to become a captain. Last year, he was appointed as the city’s Public Safety Director, a position in which he oversaw a department with a budget of more than $200 million and a staff of 1,960 employees, including 996 officers and 611 firefighters, according to the press release. The release says during the time he held the position, O’Hara "enhanced the collaborative working relationships among federal, state, and local partners." 

The other finalists were Elvin Barren and Dr. RaShall Brackney.

O'Hara said on Thursday he wants the community and police to work together, adding that he is passionate about policing and police reform.

"Together with community and our law enforcement partners, we will work together collaboratively to heal the heart of this great city," O'Hara said.

The first priority for O’Hara is gun crime. According to his resume, in Newark, he implemented a gun violence reduction initiative that resulted in the lowest number of shooting victims in recent history.

"I will work to ensure that Minneapolis’ finest have state-of-the-art policies and resources that they need to deliver what the community demands," said O'Hara.

Among many roles, O'Hara was the commanding officer of the accountability, engagement and oversight bureau of the city and DOJ consent decree. Under his leadership, O’Hara boasts an 11 percent reduction in citizen complaints.

"The problem with serious street crime is urgent and our communities deserve and demand good police to deal with that urgently at the same time I commit to holding on police officers accountable to the values of the community and I invite the community to hold us accountable as well."

If confirmed, O'Hara will work under the new commissioner of community safety Cedric Alexander. "Looking forward to continuing to move the city forward and I think we have a great candidate here who is going to prove to be of great value to this city."

FOX 9 also reached out to a community group in Newark and spoke with a woman who is part of an anti-violence group The Newark Community Street Team. Sharon Redding gave a glowing review of O'Hara in terms of his community engagement.

"Captain O'Hara was very responsive to us and gave us a lot of support and everything – and spoke highly of the organization, and really backed everything we were doing," explained Redding. "Especially when a lot of the police organizations here in Newark, like state police and different ones, didn't really want a community-based organization out there working."

Redding also said, from what she know,