Minneapolis Police chief search: 3 final candidates under consideration

The search for the next chief of the Minneapolis Police Department has been narrowed down to three finalists, all law enforcement veterans from outside the city and its police department, the city announced in a press release Wednesday. 

Mayor Jacob Frey will nominate one of the three candidates in the coming weeks, the release said, and the Minneapolis City Council will then hold a vote on whether to ratify the appointment.

The candidates   

Elvin Barren: a 21-year law enforcement veteran who is currently the Chief of Police for the City of Southfield, Michigan. The city notes as Chief of Southfield PD, Barren instituted several reforms, including updating the department’s use of force policy to make it compliant with national best practices. Before being a police officer, he served for eight years in the United States Navy as an operations specialist. 

Dr. RaShall Brackney: A 30-year law enforcement veteran, she is currently a visiting professor at George Mason University and was previously the Chief of Police for Charlottesville, Virginia, and George Washington University. The city notes in the release that Brackney is a "recognized expert in restorative and procedural justice practices in policing, community violence exposure, and reducing community trauma through relational policing."

Brian O’Hara: 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 mayor's response 

Frey released a statement on the candidates. It reads: 

"We are thrilled to have recruited three national caliber candidates, and I look forward to meeting with each one to ultimately choose our next Police Chief. This is among the most consequential hires I will make as mayor. Our residents deserve a candidate who will both lead MPD with the courage of their convictions and build trust in our city. 

He also thanked Interim Chief Amelia Huffman, who was considered for the permanent position but did not make the final cut. 

"She has enacted impactful policy reforms, collaborated effectively with department heads across City Hall, and accelerated the pace of change during this critical time," he said. 

The process 

In March, Frey announced the city was hiring a consulting company, Public Sector Search & Consulting Inc. (PSSC), to lead the city’s national search for a police chief. He also appointed community members to a search committee. That committee interviewed the candidates selected by PSCC and narrowed the list down to the last three candidates.

Frey said he will interview them together with the city’s new Commissioner for Public Safety Cedric Alexander.