5 St. Paul police chief finalists named: 4 from within department’s ranks, 1 from Philadelphia

AndyRathbun/Pioneer Press/TNS

St. Paul’s next police chief will be selected from among four internal candidates and one from outside of Minnesota, a committee decided Monday in making its picks for finalists.

The finalists are:

  • Jacqueline Bailey-Davis of Philadelphia police. She joined the department in 1997 as a uniformed officer and is currently police staff inspector of the unit that audits and inspects all department policies and procedures.

  • Pamela Barragan of St. Paul police. She became a St. Paul officer in 1996 and is commander of the community partnerships unit.

  • Kurtis Hallstrom of St. Paul police police. He joined the University of Minnesota police in 1996 and St. Paul police in 1999. He’s senior commander of the Eastern District.

  • Axel Henry of St. Paul police. He became a Roseville officer in 1995 and then a St. Paul officer in 1998. He’s commander of the narcotics, financial intelligence and human trafficking unit.

  • Stacy Murphy of St. Paul police. She became a St. Paul officer in 2002 and is the assistant chief, overseeing day-to-day operations.

The finalists will take part in public forums on Oct. 11 and 12, and interviews with Mayor Melvin Carter. He expects to make an appointment by early November at the latest, according to his spokesman.

“Selecting a police chief is one of the most critical decisions a community must make,” Carter said in a statement. “While I look forward to learning more about all of the finalists, our city is blessed to be served by a department with such strong internal candidates.”

Todd Axtell retired as St. Paul’s police chief on June 1 and Jeremy Ellison, most recently a St. Paul police deputy chief, has been serving as interim chief since. He didn’t apply for the permanent job.

About 40 people applied to be St. Paul’s police chief, of which 18 met the minimum qualifications. A 38-member police chief examining committee, appointed by the St. Paul City Council and composed of people representing various parts of the community, picked nine people to interview.

Two withdrew from the process before interviews, and the committee met Monday for more than two hours to pick five finalists from the remaining seven.

Committee members, who had selected interview questions, watched the interviews before Monday’s meeting and made their initial selections of five finalists. They took up the discussion in person on Monday and voted again, and not all the candidates who initially had the highest ratings made the final cut.

Sasha Cotton and Kathy Lantry, the committee’s co-chairs, said they regarded the initial ratings as an important starting point, and not the end of the discussion.

Committee members didn’t refer to candidates by names during their discussion, but it became apparent who some were. Some committee members said they thought the viewpoint of an external candidate would be valuable. Bailey-Davis was the remaining candidate who didn’t come from within the ranks of St. Paul police.

St. Paul’s police chiefs have traditionally risen through the department’s ranks. It was 1934 when someone was last named St. Paul chief who hadn’t come from within the police department, according to the St. Paul Police Historical Society.

Three of the finalists are women. Kathy Wuorinen served as interim chief in 2016, but St. Paul hasn’t had a permanent police chief who was female.

Bailey-Davis is among two people of color who are finalists. She is African-American and Barragan is Latina.

The two who didn’t move on to become finalists are both from the St. Paul police department — Senior Cmdr. Joshua Lego and Deputy Chief Julie Maidment.

IF YOU GO

Public forums with St. Paul police chief finalists are scheduled for:

  • Oct 11., 6 p.m. at Washington Technology Magnet School, 1495 Rice St.

  • Oct. 12, 11:30 a.m., St. Paul Event Center, 400 N. Wabasha St., Suite 320.

They’ll also be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.

People who want to provide feedback and submit interview questions can email Mayor@ci.stpaul.mn.us by the start of the first forum.

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