Craig Enevoldsen has taken the helm of a department where he started as a rookie cop in 1991.
He’s a candid, down-to-earth, reliable guy who gets things done, avoids the limelight and cares about those working with him, say those who know Brooklyn Park’s new top cop.
Craig Enevoldsen was 20 years old in 1991, when he started as patrol officer in what has become the state’s sixth-largest city. Nearly 23 years later, the City Council unanimously promoted him to chief after his selection last month in an internal search by City Manager Jamie Verbrugge.
Before seeking applicants, Verbrugge held listening sessions and private conversations with officers and other staffers.
“The message I received was consistent in all those contacts — strong support for Chief Enevoldsen and for the decision to stay internal,” Verbrugge said.
“He is a quiet, unassuming guy,” he added. “A very deliberate thinker, a really good problem solver. He takes his time and thinks about it from all perspectives. His colleagues say fairness is a hallmark of how he has led throughout his career.”
The council appointed Enevoldsen to the $121,409-a-year job. He succeeds Mike Davis, who left in October to become public safety director at Northeastern College in Boston.
Enevoldsen is “a great choice,” said Mayor Jeff Lunde. “He is a known quantity. He knows how we work.”
Enevoldsen, who lives in Buffalo, played high school football in Montevideo and earned a law enforcement degree in 1990 from Alexandria Technical College. He graduated in 2005 from the Police Staff and Command School of Northwestern University, of Evanston, Ill. In Brooklyn Park, he has worked as a crisis negotiator, patrol sergeant, captain and deputy chief of patrol, in which role he helped develop and implement the geographic policing patrol model.
Enevoldsen is a reliable, hard-working guy with concern for and good insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the people he works with, said Champlin Police Chief Dave Kolb. He said he worked — and fished and hunted — with Enevoldsen for about a dozen years in Brooklyn Park a decade ago. Kolb attended the new chief’s swearing-in ceremony last month.
“I give the city a lot of credit. He is a guy who is not real vocal and would be easy to overlook,” Kolb said. “When you are running a police department, there is a lot of public attention and political pressures. He does not seem like the prototypical guy to stroll in and juggle all those things. But he has done that real well. … I think Craig has earned that by digging in and doing the job.”
Although friends call him a “straight shooter,” Enevoldsen said he has never fired a gun on duty. He was injured in a crash in 2005 while driving with lights and siren through a red light. “It was entirely my fault. I didn’t see the car coming,” he said.
He injured his neck and back, which still require occasional chiropractic visits after chores like shoveling snow or raking, he said. He stays in shape and releases stress by running, and returns home relaxed.
His office wall displays three Twin Cities Marathon medals and a fourth from one from Wisconsin. “I’d like to get [his marathon time] under four hours,” he said.
Enevoldsen said he plans to follow the course he helped Davis set, although he will tweak police communications to the large nonwhite community, which makes up nearly half the city population of 67,388.
Serious crime rates are down, except for domestic abuse, which jumped 12 percent in the year ended last June. The city hires Cornerstone to assist police by sending civilians to help domestic assault victims. That support may encourage more reporting of domestic violence, or it may be increasing for some other reason, Enevoldsen said.
Brooklyn Park has “had a dramatic reduction in crime in the past few years, and I think Craig will keep it on track,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “Craig is a well-respected police officer. … I look forward to working with him.”
Jim Adams • 612-673-7658