Committee picks Harrington to be St. Paul police chief

Pending approval by Mayor Randy Kelly, police officer John Harrington is set to become the next St. Paul police chief.

by Koran Addo

A St. Paul selection committee named St. Paul police officer John Harrington as the top choice to be the city’s next police chief.

A 16-year veteran of the St. Paul police force, Harrington oversees all officers working in the city’s western district as its commander.

Harrington was picked from five finalists whom the committee recommended to the mayor. All five finalists were internal candidates.

St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly will make the final selection to replace current Police Chief William Finney, who retires in July.

Kelly is expected to make his decision later this month.

St. Paul police officer Paul Schnell said the committee has been hard at work for several months trying to find a community-oriented candidate who will continue to nurture the solid relationship between the department and the community.

“(The committee) is looking for someone who can build upon the success the department had under Chief Finney,” he said.

University Police Chief Greg Hestness said he will be looking forward to meeting St. Paul’s new chief in order to maintain the good working relationship University police share with the St. Paul department.

University police work in conjunction with St. Paul police to monitor the University’s St. Paul campus and the surrounding areas.

During big University events such as homecoming and Spring Jam, the two departments work together in what police call saturation patrols.

The saturation patrols are designed to flood campus and the surrounding areas with a strong and visible police presence to curtail illegal activities that usually go on during those weekends.

University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson said it is paramount to good policing for different departments to communicate with one another, which makes the job easier for everyone involved.

If approved, Harrington will be the third new police chief in the Twin Cities this year.

Earlier in the year, William McManus took over as chief for the Minneapolis Police Department and Hestness, who is also assistant vice president for the Department of Public Safety, took on the added responsibilities of University police chief earlier this year.