A group of 39 community members — including representatives from nonprofits, businesses, the NAACP, other public agencies and the police union — will help choose St. Paul's next police chief.
The City Council on Thursday released the names of individuals they selected for St. Paul's Chief of Police Examining Committee, which will interview candidates vying to replace Chief Todd Axtell and recommend five finalists to Mayor Melvin Carter. Carter's pick will require council approval.
Axtell announced last fall that he would not seek a second six-year term at the helm of the department, which is authorized to have up to 619 sworn officers.
The committee will meet weekly starting in late May or early June to start reviewing applications, after the city has posted the job for 30 days, according to a news release.
Kamal Baker, Carter's press secretary, said Friday that the city's human resources department is in the process of contracting with a firm to conduct a national search for candidates. Last month, the council approved a list of minimum qualifications for the position.
Members of the citizen committee, which will be chaired by Sasha Cotton and Kathy Lantry, applied to participate in the selection process. A full roster can be found on the city's website. Members representing Ramsey County District Court and St. Paul's newly launched Office of Neighborhood Safety have yet to be named.
Carter has said he hopes to appoint a new chief by August, a timeline that has drawn criticism from some members of the City Council, who said they would like a direct transition after Axtell steps down in June.
"Few decisions are of greater consequence than selecting a Chief of Police," Carter said in a statement Friday. "We will allow the time necessary to engage our community, to perform our due diligence, and to select the most fitting candidate to lead our department through the next six years."
City officials have said there will be opportunities for public input in the coming months.
Minneapolis is simultaneously looking for a new police chief to replace Medaria Arradondo, who retired earlier this year. The city has selected a California-based search firm to help find a "reform-minded" leader, and officials have held two listening sessions to try to learn more about what qualities residents want in their next chief. Three more meetings are scheduled for the coming weeks.