Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, has picked up a challenger in the race to represent the city’s rank-and-file cops.
Kroll, who is running for a second term, is being challenged by Officer Cory Fitch, a 15-year veteran of the force. Fitch didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment but said in a campaign flier that he intended to “re-establish relationships with the administration, at the Capitol, and in the political arena.”
“I will work tirelessly with the administration, political entities, and as our respectable public face to the community we serve,” the flier said.
Fitch, a Hastings native, currently serves as secretary of the union board. He first joined the department in 2001, bouncing between the First, Second and, most recently, Fourth precincts, according to his online biography. He also heads the Minneapolis Metro Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3.
He earned an associate degree from Inver Hills Community College and later spent about eight years in the U.S. Army National Guard, including a deployment to Bosnia in 2003. He filed his election papers last month.
The controversial Kroll was elected to the job in May 2015, handily defeating longtime president John Delmonico, under whom he’d served as vice president since 2006. He has emerged as a staunch and influential defender of the rank-and-file, sparring regularly with department leadership and City Hall, although his critics see his views on policing as anachronistic.
“I’m running on my record of 21 years serving our membership and what we’ve accomplished from the last two years under my presidency,” Kroll said. “With our profession under scrutiny, it’s no time for inexperienced leadership.”
“The experience Kroll has is disconnected from the challenges facing street cops today,” Fitch said in an e-mailed statement. “He hasn’t been a street cop for over two decades. It’s true law enforcement is under scrutiny. I see it every day as a front line officer working in north Minneapolis..”
The union represents the city’s roughly 860 sworn officers, as well as park police officers. Its president serves a two-year term and collects about $29,000 a year in salary.
Election ballots are expected to be mailed out next Monday and the voting results will be announced at the union’s March 30 meeting.
A spokesman for the department said in an e-mail Wednesday that it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the upcoming election since the union doesn’t represent the department’s command staff.