Possible chief draws critiques

Mayor R.T. Rybak nominated Tim Dolan for the permanent police chief post.

by Charley Bruce

Deciding on a new police chief won’t be easy for Minneapolis City Council members.

Mayor R.T. Rybak’s nomination of interim Police Chief Tim Dolan to be the permanent Minneapolis Police chief has University-area support but has caused a split among members of the council.

Diane Hofstede, Ward 3 council member, said she talked to Dolan specifically about her ward, including Dinkytown, and that he would do well as chief.

“He has demonstrated he has the capacity to learn about new challenges and ideas,” she said.

Dolan resuscitated the juvenile and gang units and made other units stronger while interim chief, Hofstede said.

One of his big strengths, Hofstede said, is that “he understands community policing.”

She said he sends a message to younger officers that they, too, could become chief.

Dolan said he is developing a plan to work as a team with University police in conjunction with University Police Chief Greg Hestness.

Ward 10 Council member Ralph Remington said his problem with Dolan’s nomination was the process.

“There wasn’t one,” he said.

Remington said a one-person council committee reviewed the candidates in a closed meeting.

When the three finalists were selected from 17 semifinalists, committee members went to the final interview without knowing who the finalists were, he said.

“There was already a sense of pre-selection in the air,” Remington said.

He said he had also spoken to black and female officers opposed to Dolan and the department’s “good old boys” mentality.

Many Civilian Review

Authority cases, which deal with allegations of police brutality have been sitting on the chief’s desk awaiting action for two years, Remington said. Neither former Chief William McManus nor interim Chief Dolan acted on them, Remington said.

The other concern Remington said he has is increasing crime since Dolan has taken over: murder is up 28 percent, rape 15 percent, robbery 25 percent and aggravated assault is up 21 percent, he said.

Based on compiled numbers from the Minneapolis Police Department from April to August (the period Dolan has been interim police chief), there have 25 murders, 169 rapes, 1,213 robberies and 1,152 aggravated assaults reported.

“So, just on what criteria are we judging this new chief?” he said.

Hestness said Dolan is exactly the right person for the job to address these issues.

Hestness himself was a nominee for the top spot, but said he is happy to stay and work with the student community.

“(Dolan) has a lot of innovative things under way and has been through periods of high-crime spikes,” Hestness said.

Hestness called Dolan a smart officer, experienced with a variety of police work and neighborhoods.

One of the biggest challenges to face Dolan, should the council accept him, will be the growing number of officers, Hestness said.

“He’s got the mayor’s support to add 71 new officers over the next year,” Hestness said.

Dolan has promised many of those officers will help deal with increasing crime rates in the University area, Hestness said.

“As he increases (officer numbers), some of the first increases will be coming to the 2nd Precinct,” Hestness said.

Dolan and Rybak are well aware of the increasing crime, said Jeremy Hanson, Rybak’s communications director.

Hanson said choosing a police chief is one of the most important decisions a mayor has to make, and a vigorous debate contributes tremendously.

He said Rybak thinks Dolan’s greatest strength is that he is well-known and trusted within the community.

“It’s an incredible strength that people know him, trust him and have worked with him,” Hanson said.

Dolan has also worked as a policeman at every level of the force, he said.

“Chief Dolan has tremendous respect from the police department,” Hanson said

The public can contact the mayor or his council representatives to voice opinions about Dolan’s nomination.