Minnesota’s public safety commissioner is being considered for the U.S. marshal vacancy that has been open since late 2016, according to multiple sources familiar with the nomination process.
Sources say the FBI has completed its background check of Mona Dohman, and that she is the only candidate to have reached this final stage before receiving a formal nomination by the White House.
This week, a White House official said no announcements were planned “at this time” and a U.S. Marshals Service spokeswoman said the agency could not comment until the White House formally made its nomination.
Dohman would be just the second woman to lead the agency’s Minnesota office, which serves as the enforcement arm of the federal courts and the agency in charge of providing security to federal judges. The U.S. Marshals Service is also the main federal agency for tracking down fugitives, and possesses the broadest arrest authority among federal law enforcement agencies.
The office has been led on an acting basis by Dan Elbers, a former chief deputy marshal, since the retirement of Sharon Lubinski in December 2016.
In a statement to the Star Tribune on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Senate Judiciary Committee member, said she believed a final decision on the U.S. marshal was close, citing recent discussions with the Department of Justice.
“I would like to get this position filled with a qualified person as soon as possible, and they know that,” Klobuchar said.
Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Dohman to lead the Department of Public Safety in 2011 — a year after former Gov. Tim Pawlenty selected her to chair the Police Officer Standards and Training board. The Department of Public Safety also declined to comment.
Before becoming public safety commissioner, Dohman spent 10 years as Maple Grove police chief and has also worked as a police officer in Glencoe and Marshall. She became the first female president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association in 2009 and also led the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association.
“There weren’t a lot of women in law enforcement, but I really wanted to be a cop — put bad people in jail, keep the highways safe, help the old lady cross the street,” Dohman told the Star Tribune in 2008.
Dohman also graduated from the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico, Va.
The Star Tribune previously reported that St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson was also a candidate for U.S. marshal last year, but Dohman has since advanced to being President Donald Trump’s likely selection for the job.
The marshal position is one of three federal vacancies in Minnesota requiring U.S. Senate approval that have been open since 2016. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on whether to send two Minnesota federal judge nominations — Hennepin County Judge Nancy Brasel and law professor Eric Tostrud — to the full Senate for approval at a later date.
Earlier this year, Trump also nominated Dakota County Judge Erica MacDonald to become U.S. attorney for Minnesota, an office that was vacated with the forced resignation of Andrew Luger in March 2017.
Klobuchar also said Wednesday that she believed both judges would receive “strong support” from the judiciary committee and that she did not anticipate a problem with their chances in the full Senate. Klobuchar also said she expected “solid support for my colleagues” for MacDonald’s nomination.
“Those nominations move faster than judges and we hope to have it done this summer,” Klobuchar said.
Though more attention has been paid to the judicial and U.S. attorney vacancies, Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim said the marshal opening has been of great interest to the district’s federal judges.
“The Marshals Service plays a very important role in our court overseeing courthouse security, doing security for the judges and prisoner transportation,” said Tunheim, who also pointed to the district’s rate of terrorism prosecutions that have prompted heightened court security in recent years.
“I think everyone feels the situation is on hold when you’re waiting for the U.S. marshal to come from the presidential appointment process,” Tunheim said. “Security can never really be on hold.”