New Minneapolis Community Safety Commissioner nominated

Following the departure of Cedric Alexander, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has named his pick for the next Minneapolis Community Safety Commissioner.

Frey announced his nomination of Chief Judge Toddrick Barnette to assume the role of coordinating the city’s police, fire, and emergency response departments. The mayor’s nomination will be transmitted to the full City Council for consideration at its Sept. 21 meeting. The Community Safety Commissioner is a four-year appointed term.

A graduate from 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.

"I'm dedicated to implementing effective strategies that address crime prevention, community policing and the overall safety and well-being of Minneapolis residents and visitors," Barnette said on Monday. "I'm grateful for the opportunity and eager to work collaboratively with local, county and state leaders to develop innovative solutions that promote safety and foster positive relationships with law enforcement, the city, and the community."

Following the departure of Cedric Alexander, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced his nomination, Chief Judge Toddrick Barnette, as Minneapolis' next Community Safety Commissioner.

He was previously a senior attorney with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office from March 2004 to February 2006. Before that, he was a public defender from July 2001 to February 2004.

In 2020, Barnette was the first person of color to be elected chief judge of Hennepin County District Court. Throughout his career, Barnette has worked as a judge, prosecutor, and public defender, presiding over thousands of cases, including several high-profile cases and numerous trials, according to the announcement. 

"I think it would be comfortable to continue as a judge in Hennepin County. Something that I know, something that I've been doing for the last 17 years," Barnette said. "But here, I see this as an opportunity that has a commitment behind it. It’s just not taught anymore in Minneapolis. It’s about action and moving things forward – this reform, and reimagining public safety, that’s what's got me excited, and that’s why I want this job."

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

"It is no small endeavor to step up into a role like this at this particular time. The eyes of the world continue to be on Minneapolis for a number of different reasons," Frey said following the appointment. "In other areas where you can make a mistake and correct, in Minneapolis, you all do your job, and you cover it probably the next day if not the next hour."

At the time of his retirement announcement, Frey told FOX 9 his successor would be in the same salary range, around $300,000, because he feels it matches the amount of responsibility.

Although Alexander is now retired, he said he's ready to offer guidance when Frey asks for it.