Tim Dolan considered a contender for Minneapolis chiefby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
The man Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak wants to name as interim Minneapolis police chief is considered a contender for the permanent job. Assistant Chief Tim Dolan was recommended for the interim job the day after William McManus accepted an offer in San Antonio. Dolan has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for more than 20 years, and has most recently served as McManus' right-hand man.
Minneapolis, Minn. — William McManus promoted then deputy chief Tim Dolan to a new position in the summer of 2005. Dolan was given the title assistant chief, a role much like that of chief operating officer in a corporation.
Dolan's assignment was to handle some of the administrative duties for McManus, to free him up to attend community meetings and events. The job allowed Dolan to play a pivotal role in shaping and implementing some of the department's crime-fighting initiatives, like the Safer Summer program, the Downtown Safe Zone and the STOP program.
"The chief and I were always on the same page as for the priorities of those. And so we're going to push forward on those," Dolan told MPR in an interview.
One of the main crime-fighting issues the department faces is the incidence of serious crime in parts of north Minneapolis. Robberies are up nearly 75 percent compared to this time last year. And eight of the city's 11 homicides have occurred there.
"I'm definitely very sympathetic to whatever happens up there," Dolan said.
Dolan grew up in north Minneapolis, and also led the 4th Precinct -- which covers the entire north side -- for five years. He's since moved from that part of town, but says he still has connections there. Dolan says getting help to the north side is a priority.
"We actually have been talking about trying to get some -- a larger deployment, some extra people up there for a few weeks here. And timewise it's going to happen here quick," he says.
Dolan's appointment to interim chief has been well-received by some residents of the north side.
Councilmember Don Samuels, who represents the 5th Ward, which includes some of the most crime-stricken neighborhoods in the city, spoke about Dolan Thursday afternoon while staging a vigil for a young man who was recently gunned down on a north Minneapolis street.
Samuels says Dolan's background makes him a good choice to continue the work McManus started.
"Between his past, solid past -- cop experience and leadership experience -- and his exposure to the chief and what the chief's values were, I think it's great he's going to step in for the interim," Samuels said.
Samuels, who chairs the City Council's Public Safety and Regulatory Services committee, stopped short of endorsing Dolan for the permanent job. However he says he is beginnning to warm up to the idea of somebody within the department becoming chief.
But not everybody likes the idea of Dolan leading the Police Department, for the short or the long term.
"I have no confidence whatsoever in the leadership of Tim Dolan," says Ron Edwards, a member of the Police Community Relations Council.
The council was formed several years ago to uphold the conditions of a federally mediated agreement between members of the police force and the community. The agreement was reached in 2003 to help improve police-community relations.
Edwards says McManus was making progress in implementing many of the goals of the agreement. However, he says Dolan doesn't share McManus' drive to shake up the status quo.
"What bothers me about Chief Dolan is that he was a part of the old regime, that led us to seven and a half months of intense negotiation, in return for not pressing for this department to be placed in federal receivership," Edwards said.
Dolan -- who was a part of the federal mediation process -- says he does have a desire to continue building strong ties with the community. He says he worked well with community leaders during his time as the commander of the 4th Precinct.
Dolan recalled that when a major riot broke out on a hot August night in 2002, it was the cooperation between him and several black leaders that helped calm the situation.
Dolan will not be the only candidate for the chief position. But he says it's a job he'd like to have.
"Minneapolis has always been my department," Dolan said. "I love the department, I love the people on it. Leading them would be something of an unbelievable opportunity."
Dolan's name will now go before the City Council's executive committee, which is scheduled to meet later this month and approve Dolan as interim chief. He can serve in that capacity for 90 days. But if a permanent chief isn't chosen by then, the council can extend the interim period.
- Morning Edition, 03/17/2006, 7:25 a.m.