With a new Minneapolis police chief in the ranks, a University official and a local City Council member highlighted the importance of cooperation and support between the Minneapolis and University police departments.
The City Council approved Bill McManus as police chief Friday.
Greg Hestness, the University assistant vice president for public safety, said collaboration between the departments is necessary because both respond to calls in the areas surrounding the University.
“There has to be a willingness to continue to support one another,” Hestness said.
McManus’ ability to build relationships in the community will determine how well he works with the University, he said.
Marcy-Holmes and the Southeast Como neighborhoods are within Minneapolis police jurisdiction and are home to many University students.
Minneapolis City Council President Paul Ostrow, 1st Ward, said he voted for McManus because of his experience dealing with demonstrations in Washington. Ostrow likened them to the celebratory riots the University experienced in the last two years.
But McManus said he wants to extend his contact with the University beyond crowd control.
“One of my top priorities is working not only with the school but also with the community surrounding it, the restaurants, the bars and the other businesses frequented by college students,” McManus said.
Hestness said he believes McManus will succeed in dealing with the problems a large university brings to a metro area because of his experience in Dayton, Ohio, and Washington. Both cities are home to several colleges and universities.
McManus was the police chief for two years in Dayton and a police officer for 26 years in Washington.
City Council member Paul Zerby, who represents the neighborhoods around the University, called McManus’ appointment an excellent choice.
“I’m very glad we chose him; we have the opportunity to have one of the best police departments we’ve ever had,” the 2nd Ward representative said.
Zerby also said cooperation between the University and Minneapolis police departments is important to raising the quality of life in the city.
“Of course we need to focus on the murders and the muggings, but if this is going to be a good city to live in, we have to maintain a level of decency for all neighborhoods in the city,” he said.
Zerby went on to say McManus will have to develop the trust of the community to combat a lot of the problems the University faces, which he said usually are the “unacceptable fallout of binge drinking.”
Despite a warm reception from most council members, several voted against McManus because they were in favor of promoting one of the internal candidates, Deputy Chiefs Sharon Lubinski or Lucy Gerold.
City Council member Robert Lilligren, 8th Ward, expressed disappointment in McManus’s selection, saying it was a missed opportunity to promote the best person for the job.
“We had a real chance to promote a qualified chief, a minority or a woman who has spent the bulk of their career here in Minneapolis, but we didn’t take it,” he said.
Lilligren said he was dissatisfied with McManus because he failed to present any new ideas, including a plan to reduce crime in low-income neighborhoods.
Ostrow said McManus’ record of leadership and accountability were reasons he voted for him.
“(McManus) showed me a lot, he is very professional, he has shown that he is willing to be held to a high standard and he has an outstanding record working with different communities,” he said.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak selected McManus in December from a pool of several candidates a selection committee presented to him.
“(McManus) has an outstanding record in crime reduction,” Rybak said. “He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again.”