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Monday, December 5, 2022

Five St. Paul police chief finalists named

Four internal candidates and one outside of Minnesota will compete to become the next police chief in St. Paul, a committee that chose the finalists on Monday determined.

Finalists include:

  • Officer Jacqueline Bailey-Davis from Philadelphia. She became a uniformed officer with the department in 1997, and she is presently a police staff inspector for the division that audits and examines all departmental rules and practices.
  • Policewoman Pamela Barragan from St. Paul. She was commissioned as a St. Paul officer in 1996, and she currently serves as the unit’s commander.
  • Policeman Kurtis Hallstrom from St. Paul. In 1996, he joined the University of Minnesota Police, then in 1999, he joined the St. Paul Police. He oversees the Eastern District as senior commander.
  • Policeman Axel Henry from St. Paul. In 1995, he was hired as a Roseville police officer, and in 1998, he moved to St. Paul. He is in charge of the unit that combats drugs, financial intelligence, and people trafficking.
  • Policewoman Stacy Murphy from St. Paul. She joined the St. Paul Police Department in 2002 and is now the assistant chief, in charge of managing daily operations.

On October 11 and 12, the contenders will participate in open forums and interviews with Mayor Melvin Carter. According to his spokeswoman, he plans to schedule a meeting no later than the beginning of November.

One of the most important choices a city must make, according to Carter, is choosing a police chief. “Our city is privileged to be represented by a department with such great internal candidates,” the candidate said. “While I look forward to learning more about all of the finalists.”

Since Todd Axtell’s resignation as St. Paul’s police chief on June 1, Jeremy Ellison, most recently a deputy chief of the St. Paul police department, has served as acting chief. He didn’t apply for the full-time position.

There were about 40 applicants for the position of police chief in St. Paul, and only 18 were qualified. Nine candidates were chosen for interviews by a 38-member police chief examination committee made up of individuals from many facets of the community and nominated by the St. Paul City Council.

The committee met on Monday for more than two hours to choose five finalists from the remaining seven candidates after two withdrew from the process before to interviews.

Before Monday’s meeting, the committee members viewed the interviews and made their initial choices of five candidates after choosing the interview questions. On Monday, they resumed the conversation in person and cast a second vote, however not all of the applicants with the highest scores originally made the cut.

The committee’s co-chairs, Sasha Cotton and Kathy Lantry, stated that they saw the first evaluations as only the beginning of the conversation and not its conclusion.

During their debate, committee members did not use the applicants’ names, although it was clear who some of them were. Some committee members expressed the opinion that hearing from an outside candidate would be beneficial. The final applicant who did not originate from the St. Paul police department was Bailey-Davis.

Police commanders in St. Paul have often advanced through the ranks of the force. According to the St. Paul Police Historical Society, the last person designated St. Paul chief who wasn’t from the police force was in 1934.

There are three female finalists. St. Paul has not had a female police chief on a regular basis since Kathy Wuorinen’s tenure as interim chief in 2016.

One of the two finalists of color is Bailey-Davis. Barragan is Latina and she is of African-American descent.

Senior Cmdr. Joshua Lego and Deputy Chief Julie Maidment are the two from the St. Paul police department that didn’t advance to the final round.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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