Brooklyn Center could soon have a new police chief.
On Monday, the city introduced Kathy Hughes and Kellace McDaniel as the two finalists for the job during a community "Meet and Greet" at City Hall and online.
The goal is to name one of them as the city's top cop by the end of the week, said city spokeswoman Angel Smith.
Hughes is director of security for the Robbinsdale School District and former emergency communications director for the city of Minneapolis and captain with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.
McDaniel has been a lieutenant for the past 13 years with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office. Before that, he worked as a corrections officer for more than seven years with the Scott County Sheriff's Office.
The north metro suburb in January signed a $35,000 contract with Twin Cities-based DRI Consulting to conduct a national search for candidates. Ten people applied for the job. The field was narrowed to four semifinalists and ultimately to Hughes and McDaniel.
Brooklyn Center has been without a police chief since April 2021 when Tim Gannon resigned after Daunte Wright's killing by police sparked protests and calls for reform. Over the past year, a third of Brooklyn Center's officers resigned after the city was rocked by Wright's shooting by police officer Kimberly Potter,who also resigned from the department and was found guilty of manslaughter in December.
Tony Gruenig, who was previously a Brooklyn Center police commander, has filled in as interim police chief.
The search for a new chief comes as the city moves forward in remaking its Police Department. Last year, the City Council passed a series of reforms that include using social workers and other trained professionals to respond to medical, mental health and social needs calls that don't require police.
The Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety and Violence Prevention Act also prohibits police from making arrests for low-level offenses and requires the city to use unarmed civilians to handle minor traffic violations. The reforms also would establish a new city department to oversee public safety.
Monday's event was held to "continue engaging residents in the hiring process," the city said in a news release. The candidates responded to prepared questions.
"As police chief of Brooklyn Center, I will be devoted to building relationships, being visible and known, and stepping up to work together toward healing a safe and healthy community," Hughes said.
McDaniel called himself a "great listener and good healer."
The consultants will fold comments and feedback from Monday's event into a report to be used by the city manager, who will make the hire.