Minneapolis City Council committee supports Judge Barnette as next Community Safety Commissioner

The Minneapolis City Council during a Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday voted to forward the nomination of Judge Toddrick Barnette as the city's next Community Safety Commissioner to the full City Council.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey nominated Barnette after Cedric Alexander — the city's first Community Safety Commissioner — retired. If confirmed, Barnette will assume the role of coordinating the city's police, fire and emergency response departments for a four-year term that ends in January 2026. 

The Minneapolis City Council committee at Tuesday's meeting voted to forward Barnette's nomination to the full council by an 11-1 vote. This followed a public hearing in which eight people spoke, all in support of Barnette. 

The Committee of the Whole is made up of the entire Minneapolis City Council, so Tuesday's vote will likely indicate what the final vote will be during Thursday's full Minneapolis City Council meeting.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Barnette was first appointed a Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial District in Hennepin County on Feb. 6, 2006. He was elected in 2008, 2014, and 2020, and has a current term that expires in January 2027.

Barnette told FOX 9’s Paul Blume during a one-on-one interview at Minneapolis City Hall last week that he is excited about the challenge, acknowledging there will be a lot of politics and plenty of scrutiny as the highest-paid public employee in Minneapolis. Barnette, who has no experience either as a police or fire chief, or running an emergency management office, has spent the last few weeks familiarizing himself with the five agencies he will oversee – Police, Fire, Emergency Management, 911 and Neighborhood Safety – in advance of his confirmation hearing.

Barnette, 57, shared some early visions for a reimagined public safety model, one, where if at all possible, the last contact for a community member in distress is an officer wearing the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) badge. Watch his interview with FOX 9 in the player below.

Alexander retired Sept. 1, 2023, after being hired in August 2022, and became the city’s highest-paid employee, with a salary reportedly between $292,000 and $350,000.