Rybak searches for new police chief, considers city values

Rybak selected a 21-person committee to help identify candidates.

Britt Johnsen

The safety of the University and the city of Minneapolis will soon be in new hands.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is selecting candidates for a new police chief.

To be sure the candidate pool is balanced, Rybak selected a committee of 21 people with different areas of expertise in Minneapolis to help identify candidates.

Running the gamut of ages and profession, Rybak said, the committee will ensure diversity in the selection process.

“I am honored to have so much collective wisdom,” Rybak said.

Minneapolis also has a contract with the Oldani Group – a national executive search firm that recruits women and diverse races – to help manage the search.

Rybak will present a candidate to the city’s Executive Committee in November, which will then go to the Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee. After that, the nomination will go to the City Council.

If Ryback’s nominee is approved, the new police chief will start Jan. 1.

Rybak said the figure will have to measure up to criteria set by Rybak and Minneapolis citizens.

“This is our chance to strengthen (Minneapolis),” Rybak said. “It’s going to be an exciting challenge.”

Rybak said that through his experience as a mayoral candidate, and then as mayor, he was able to determine what the public wants in a police chief. He said he will use this information, as well as what he thinks is important.

Though Rybak will ultimately select the candidates for police chief, he said public opinion matters as well.

Rybak held a forum Sept. 9 for community members to voice opinions about which criteria they think are important.

Some of the qualities Rybak will look for include: strong leadership, a devotion to respect, community service and maintaining public safety.

Some students agree that safety is important and said they would like to see the campus safety improve through a new police chief.

“Safety should be number one,” sophomore Melissa Lenz said. “Knowing that (police) are around makes me feel safer.”

University police Capt. Steve Johnson said he is confident Rybak will make the best choice, and he wants to continue working with Minneapolis police.

“Our jurisdictions are constantly crossing paths,” Johnson said. “(We would like to continue) accomplishing shared goals,” Johnson said.