University police hope to have new deputy by first week of August

The University Police Department has narrowed its deputy chief search to three candidates

Since the retirement of force veteran Steve Johnson nearly three months ago, University police have operated without a deputy chief. Now, as the Republican National Convention and fall semester approach, administrators are hopeful to soon fill the position.

The search has been narrowed to three finalists: University police Lt. Chuck Miner, Minneapolis Police Lt. Medaria Arradondo and Owatonna Police Chief Shaun Ladue .

University Police Chief Greg Hestness said the absence of a deputy has made for a hectic summer at the department.

Between being on six stadium committees, facing a public safety work plan due date and preparing for the RNC, Hestness and the department’s two lieutenants have kept busy. Some duties, such as dealing with vendors and taking non-media information requests, have been rejected or postponed.

“It’s the critical and not the important that gets done,” Hestness said. “We were light on management to begin with, now it’s not sustainable forever. That’s why we’re trying to proceed with deliberate speed.”

Miner said the department had originally hoped to have a replacement for Johnson before he retired.

Hestness said the search process has taken longer than anticipated.

All nine original candidates were first interviewed by a University search committee led by Vice Provost of Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart , which narrowed the list to three recommendations.

One candidate, Arradondo, is one of five Minneapolis police officers who filed a lawsuit against the Minneapolis police department and Chief Tim Dolan for racial discrimination last December.

All three finalists for deputy chief were sent to the MDA Leadership Consulting center to be assessed for a variety of leadership and problem solving skills.

After the assessment, Hestness interviewed each candidate. When MDA turns in its assessment to Hestness – which he expects to be done Wednesday – he will decide on which candidate to recommend to Vice President for University Services Kathleen O’Brien , though Hestness makes the ultimate decision of who will take the position.

Hestness is optimistic that the position will be filled by the first week of August.

University Police Lt. Troy Buhta said although he has had to pick up some additional duties with the absence of a deputy, it hasn’t been overly strenuous.

“It’s been summer, so we’ve been able to kind of pick up the slack as far as deputy chief responsibilities,” Buhta said. “Right now we’re surviving, but it will be nice to have a deputy chief when we get one.”