Dolan approved as Minneapolis police chiefby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
Tim Dolan is the new police chief of Minneapolis. This City Council overwhelmingly approved his appointment to lead the department for the next three years on Friday. The Council also approved an additional resolution that attempts to make sure the chief and the police department fully participate in police accountability efforts, including the Civilian Review Authority.
Minneapolis — The normally stoic Tim Dolan donned a smile outside Council chambers following the vote. The approval process has been full of meetings with councilmembers in chambers and behind closed doors; it has involved public hearings and some intense discussions.
"I'm looking forward to getting to work, but I'm going to take the rest of the day off," he said. "I've a lunch date with a special person and then we'll start digging in tomorrow."
Dolan's appointment was approved by a 12-to-1 vote. However, had the vote been taken two weeks ago, Dolan still would have won approval, but it wouldn't have been as lopsided. Throughout the approval process, several councilmembers had expressed reservations about Dolan's appointment. They were concerned that as a 23-year veteran of the force, Dolan's "insider" status might make it hard for him to bring about changes in the department.
Cam Gordon, one of the councilmembers who continually expressed reluctance to vote for Dolan's appointment, changed his mind. Gordon says he was swayed by talking directly to Dolan about his concerns. But he says he also got some insight from a sergeant with 30 years on the force, who had served under 14 different police chiefs.
"He also talked about out of those 14, the different chiefs that had come in from the outside and come in from the inside. And I got the sense from this sergeant that there was a certain level of trust of Chief Dolan. And also a clear indication that this is somebody that the force will take leadership from," Gordon said.
Gordon and the other councilmembers were also swayed by Dolan's willingness to accept an additional set of performance standards. Gordon was one of the co-authors of the resolution that outlines the guidelines that will also be used in the future to judge Dolan's performance.
They include committing to ending racial profiling, implementing community policing plans, diversifying the police force and commiting to disciplining every officer who has a sustained complaint with the Civilian Review Authority.
Dolan says he agrees with the guidelines.
"Actually everything that's in that -- and I helped work on that yesterday -- everything that's in that is already in my five-year plan," according to Dolan. "It's on the mediation agreement, which I've signed, and or what I've publicly stated in these hearings."
However one councilmember was not swayed. Ralph Remington, who represents the 10th Ward -- which includes the Uptown area -- is one of two African American men on the Council. He says he still has too many unanswered questions -- some of which include concerns about racial profiling -- to log a "yes" vote.
Remington says his vote is not a vote against Dolan as a person, but he says he'll wait and see if Dolan can earn his approval later.
"What I want to say to you chief is 'show me' over the next three years what kind of chief you will be. I'm open to supporting you in the future. I can't support you today," he said.
Dolan also faces opposition from some members of the Police Community Relations Council, the group formed several years ago to foster positive police community relations. A few weeks ago, the group offered a "no confidence" vote in Dolan. And some have voiced concerns over his handling of a recent police shooting in which an unarmed mentally disturbed man was shot seven times by two police officers.
Dolan brought the officers back to duty before the investigation was complete.
- All Things Considered, 10/20/2006, 4:35 p.m.