Two internal and four external candidates have applied to become St. Paul's next police chief.
The applications, which were due by 12 a.m. Feb. 18, were provided to the Star Tribune but were redacted in accordance with state law to protect the applicants' names and information that could identify them. Their names become public when they are "certified as eligible for appointment to a vacancy" or are considered finalists.
Two applications match the work history of two St. Paul police officers -- Assistant Chief Todd Axtell and Senior Commander Tina McNamara. Both have said from the start that they want to replace Chief Thomas Smith when he retires in a few months.
A third application matches the work history of Minneapolis police Lt. Eddie Frizell, who has previously said he was considering the job but could not be reached Friday to confirm his application. Frizell ran unsuccessfully for the Hennepin County sheriff post in 2014, and filed suit against Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau alleging that he was demoted for taking time off to campaign.
St. Paul police Cmdr. Colleen Luna did not match the remaining applications. She had considered a bid for the post, and ran for chief in 2010, the year Smith was eventually selected. Luna could not be reached for comment Friday.
It's unclear who the remaining three applicants are, but they're likely from outside Minnesota, which could be a disadvantage given St. Paul's history of hiring from within its ranks since the early 1900s. (The redaction includes geographic indicators.) The job application calls for candidates who work in a department of at least 500 sworn officers, among other criteria. That leaves St. Paul police, Minneapolis police and the State Patrol as the only pools to draw from in Minnesota.
The three unknown candidates are:
- A police chief who manages a department of about 800 sworn and civilian staff in a city of about 300,000. The candidate writes that he/she has "37 years of progressively responsible experience directing and leading law enforcement goals and objectives." The candidate was a deputy chief of police from 2009 to 2011.
- A commander of criminal investigations who previously served twice as a police chief, from August 2011 to September 2015; and from June 2009 to August 2011. It's unclear where those posts were located because of the redaction. The candidate has been an ordained minister since 1985 and has "basic working knowledge" of the Spanish language.
- A chief deputy from a county sheriff's office with "over 25 years experience in local government with over 15 years of that in upper management." The candidate retired from his/her workplace of 19 years in 2009 after being selected as police chief for another agency. The candidate served in the United States Air Force and trained at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Camp Bullis in Texas and at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
The St. Paul police chief job will pay $114,483.20 to $160,600 annually, with a benefits package, depending on experience. It will oversee up to 615 sworn officers, 157 civilian personnel and an annual budget of about $109 million.
A city-council approved selection committee will recommend five finalists to Mayor Chris Coleman, and candidate forums will held on March 29 and 31. Coleman will select a chief that must then be approved by the city council.