Committee selecting St. Paul police chief candidates named

On Thursday, the St. Paul City Council released its appointments for the 39-member committee who will select the top five candidates for the city's next police chief.

The committee will be finalized when the city council votes to adopt the ordinance, no earlier than May 11. Members come from a mix of backgrounds in community, education, police, business, government, and more. Some appointments are still pending and are expected to be named soon, the city council's website states

After the chief of police position has been posted for 30 days, the examining committee will review all applications, conduct interviews, and engage the community in the process. Ultimately, the committee will recommend five candidates to the mayor.

Mayor Melvin Carter will then use the committee's recommendations to appoint a chief for a six-year term, starting in June 2022.

The new chief will replace Todd Axtell, who has been chief since 2016 and has served as a police officer for 33 years. Axtell announced last October he wouldn't seek a second six-year term.

In March, the city council determined the minimum qualifications for the police chief role as such:

  • Must have a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, police science, public administration, management or a related discipline. A master's degree and advanced police training are preferred.
  • Required to have at least four years of administrative level experience as chief, assistant chief, deputy chief, or the equivalent rank of a St. Paul police commander. This must include supervision and leadership of law enforcement personnel in a metro area with at least 200,000 residents.
  • Needs a "proven record of success working in a racially diverse community" and be committed to increasing diversity in the department.
  • Should have strong administrative, financial, operational, and organizational development skills along with demonstrated skills in leadership, communication, innovation, community relations and cultural competency.
  • Must have a valid driver's license.
  • Must be licensed or become licensed (and stay licensed) as a peace officer in Minnesota within six months of employment.

The committee will be led by two co-chairs from St. Paul. Sasha Cotton, a lifelong resident with deep ties to the Rondo/Summit-University neighborhood, is currently the director of the Minneapolis Office of Violence Prevention and vice president of the African American Leadership Council. Kathy Lantry is a retired Eastsider, who served on the city council for almost 18 years and served as public works director for five years.

The committee is slated to meet weekly, and members will receive a $50 stipend per meeting, according to the application form.

The first reading of the ordinance at a city council meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, April 27, and a public hearing will be held on May 4. 

Appointments for the 2022 Police Chief Examining Committee, as of April 22:

  • Sasha Cotton, Co-Chair
  • Kathy Lantry, Co-Chair
  • Manny Munson-Regala, Community
  • Cheniqua Johnson, Community
  • Nick Kellum, Community
  • Robert McClain, Community
  • Charles Gill, Community
  • Samuel Clark, Community
  • Rosa Tock, Community
  • Jonathan Ortiz, Community
  • Erin Delany, Community
  • Lucy Gerold, Community
  • Kaarin Long, Community
  • George Twoo, Community
  • Karen Larson, Community
  • Ahmed Anshur, Community/ISAIAH
  • John Bandemer, Downtown Business
  • Ryan Vue, Youth
  • Chikamso Chijioke, Youth
  • Abshir Ali, Youth
  • Chauntyll Allen Board Member, Saint Paul Public Schools
  • Laurie Olson Director of Security and Emergency Management, Saint Paul Public Schools
  • Kim Gans, Public Housing Authority
  • Deborah Montgomery, Representing the Latino, Black, Asian, and Somali-American Police Officers Associations
  • Juan Lozoya, Representing the Latino, Black, Asian, and Somali-American Police Officers Associations
  • Shelley Cline, Executive Director, Saint Paul Intervention Project
  • B Kyle, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Lyndsey Olson, Saint Paul City Attorney
  • Christine Michels, Director of Housing Stability and Opportunity, Catholic Charities
  • Mike Martin, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mark Ross, Saint Paul Police Federation
  • Erin Hayes, Human Rights Commission/PCIARC
  • Reverend Richard Pittman, Saint Paul NAACP
  • Mike Hang, Hmong 18 Council
  • Hao Nguyen Ramsey County Attorney’s Office
  • Laurie Marsh, Human Resources Director, EcoLab
  • Alyssa Schlander, Senior Director, Public Affairs and Assistant General Counsel, Securian Financial
  • TBA, Ramsey County District Court
  • TBA, Office of Neighborhood Safety