GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (FOX 9) - With the world's microscope on Minnesota policing and department policies and culture across the state, the city of Golden Valley is taking a new approach in the search for its next police chief.
For $30,000, they've hired America's Best Strategic Security Group out of El Paso, Texas to lead a global search for the next leader of the department after the previous chief retired. Residents had a chance to share their opinions with the consulting firm at an open house Thursday night.
"We believe you get what you pay for. We want to make sure we have the best police chief in Minnesota, whether they are from Minnesota or new to Minnesota," said Golden Valley Mayor Shep Harris.
Leading the consulting firm is Jesus "Eddie" Campa. He's a former police chief and says while he hasn't spent much time in Minnesota, he knows from personal experience the issues of equity and inclusion are not unique to our state.
"I traveled to an east Texas community that was very racially divided...I was brought in to change the culture when I took over that organization," said Campa.
He says his outside, diverse perspective is a good thing in a city where officers have mistreated people of color.
In 2005, Black community leader Al Hixon was chased, assaulted and pepper sprayed by Golden Valley police officer who said they mistook him for a white bank robbery suspect. Hixon later settled with the city for $1.1 million.
Some residents have expressed concern that the city is taking the process outside instead of promoting from within.
Ruth Paradise has lived in the city for 58 years and says she doesn't care where the new chief is from if they make their new home in the city.
"Whoever is hired, I think should live here in Golden Valley," said Paradise.
The hiring process is expected to take about 6 months. Residents can also share their thoughts and opinions with the consulting firm in an online survey starting next week.