Minneapolis selects O’Hara as police chief in hopes to reduce crime

NEW CHIEF. OHara transferred from his previous station in Newark, New Jersey, after the Minneapolis Chief of Police departed.

Department of Newark Public Safety

NEW CHIEF. O’Hara transferred from his previous station in Newark, New Jersey, after the Minneapolis Chief of Police departed.

Andrew Lipinsky, Staff Writer

Two years after the events of George Floyd and the unrest of 2020, Minneapolis has selected a new police chief, Brian O’Hara, to fix problems of policing and stop the rise of crime in Minneapolis.
O’Hara was selected out of three finalists by a search committee in early September. He is still a finalist; the city council will hold a vote on whether or not to approve him in late October or early November.

Brian O’Hara is currently serving as deputy mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

O’Hara, in the new role as police chief in Minneapolis, will try to rebuild the police force and make Minneapolis residents feel safer.

“We will take the MPD from the darkness and trauma that has been experienced in this city and create a beacon of light for policing across the country,” O’Hara said in a recent press conference.
The current mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, has expressed his support in voting for Brian O’Hara as the new police chief. Frey has pointed to O’Hara’s decades of experience in law enforcement in Newark, New Jersey as his main reason for support.

In Dec. 2021, then chief of Minneapolis police, Medaria Arradondo, announced his departure from the Minneapolis Police Department following the unrest and protest caused by the death of George Floyd. While Arradondo was a trusted and beloved chief, he said, in a press conference that, it was time to retire after 30 years with the force. He served as police chief from 2017-2020 and was the first black police chief in the city.

The police need to be able to instate some new actions to reduce the amount of violence that has been happening in our communities.

— Josh Melchert

Now, O’Hara hopes to take the lead.

Freshman Josh Melchert supports the idea of a force empowered to address crime: “The police need to be able to instate some new actions to reduce the amount of violence that has been happening in our communities.”

Melchert lives on the border of Minneapolis and St. Paul near Lake Street.
In 2021, violent crime in the Twin Cities has risen by 21% since 2020. Forms of violent crime like homicide and robbery have seen a dramatic increase.

Minneapolis has one of the largest increased numbers of homicides in the nation.

“It is very important that the police provide a better and safe community for all of us,” Melchert said.

The police force has said that they have lost a third of their officers due to the unrest following George Floyd in 2020. Burnout on the force has been cited as the main reason officers are seeking a change.

Minneapolis is trying to recruit more officers to fill the empty roles in the police force.
There have been very mixed emotions towards the police in Minneapolis, with the murder of George Floyd causing public outcry and a general disdain for the police.

Now, violence has increased dramatically and people are having second thoughts on the necessity of police in Minneapolis.

“I think there is a huge divide between many different people,” Carlie Erdahl said, a resident of Southwest Minneapolis. “I think there is a lot of stigma behind police officers. Some of it is warranted in my opinion, some of it is not,” she said.

Minneapolis is a relatively diverse city, with 37 percent of the city being part of the BIPOC community.

“As a person of color, as a woman, I really feel like I have to watch my back all the time,” Erdahl said.

Erdahl is an Asian American woman who has lived in Minneapolis for over 20 years. She believes that there are certain areas of Minneapolis she chooses to avoid.

“I feel like for me, specifically, I have not been able to take advantage of all Minneapolis has to offer,” she said.

“I think it is important to get the input of citizens and the residents who live here, because there are a lot of people who have strong opinions. If you only listen to one side of the argument, or one group of people, you are not getting the full picture,” Erdahl added.

Brian O’Hara hopes to reunite the people of Minneapolis and stop the rapid increase in crime. Many citizens are hoping that O’Hara will take all of the people’s feedback and advice instead of just asking one group of citizens and only getting one opinion.

The people of Minneapolis are hoping for a new police chief who will unite the people together, stop the rise in crime, and take all citizens into consideration.

Many are wondering if Brian O’Hara will be the one to do it.