Four finalists for Police Chief

In his Friday Memo for the week of March 17 – 21, City Administrator Al Roder announced the four finalists for Northfield’s Chief of Police position. Here’s Roder’s summary on each:

  • Gerald Mines
    Gerald Mines received his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice/Psychology from John Jay College in New York and his Masters from New England College, New Hampshire in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management. Gerald has 40+ years of extensive and comprehensive law enforcement leadership and management experience in the New York Police Department in all areas of urban, suburban and rural areas, as well as transit facilities, emergency management, youth gangs, narcotics and counter-terrorism issues. Most recently he has two years of experience as a police expert and consultant.
  • Mark Taylor
    Mark Taylor received his undergraduate academic training in Law Enforcement from Mankato State University and is presently enrolling in a Masters program in Public Administration. He has spent the past six months working as Patrol Captain of the Northfield Police Department with leadership responsibilities for twenty-three licensed and civilian personnel. Prior to 2007, Captain Taylor spent twenty years with the McLeod County Sheriff’s department. His progressive responsibilities at McLeod included eight years as Chief Deputy Sheriff. He was responsible for all facets of the department including 70 full-time employees in civil process, patrol, records, jail, investigations, emergency services, communications (dispatch), clerical staff and a budget in excess of $3 million.
  • Andy Bohlen
    Andy Bohlen earned his Law Enforcement associates degree from Rochester Community College, his Bachelor degree from Concordia University in Organizational Communications and his Masters degree from the College of St. Scholastica in Management. His twenty plus years in law enforcement includes military police, patrol, sergeant and detective sergeant. His most recent fifteen years with the Lakeville Police Department includes progressive responsibilities in both patrol and investigations including management of crime scene including supervision of 17 licensed and civilian personnel, budgeting, public relations, and leadership instructor.
  • Lee Edwards
    Lee Edwards earned his undergraduate degree in Organic Chemistry and his Masters degree in Public Administration from Minnesota State University in Mankato as well as the successful completion of the FBI National Academy. His progressive assignment history includes Patrol officer in 1989, Sergeant in 1995, Sergeant Detective in 1998, and Lieutenant/Commander in three different precincts in the Minneapolis Police Department for the last nine years. Experience includes homicide, internal affairs, investigations, administrative functions, command of approximately 150 sworn officers and 10 civilian employees, with an operating budget of 12 million dollars.

Grand Theater Marquee
According to an article in today’s Nfld News:

The finalists will tour the city by bus Thursday from 2 to 4 p.m. and be the guests of honor at a public reception that evening at The Grand from 6 to 9 p.m. Interviews are set for the following day. Each will be interviewed by groups composed of members of the community, law enforcement officials, several city department heads and at least five local youth.

Also see the March 1 Nfld News: 29 apply for police chief position; Four panels will interview up to 8 semi-finalists and our blog discussion on the hiring process.

So what’s known about these four guys? And why didn’t Captain Roger Schroeder and Sergeant Mark Murphy make the cut?

55 Comments

  1. Candidate Lee Edwards stopped in at ArtOnWater Gallery Thursday nite to see the art and chat-up guest guitarist Nate Nelson. I was impressed that Lee had found his way downtown (and to the west side) specifically to visit The Key. We Northfielders, of course, know the history and on-going good work of The Key – great that Lt. Edwards heard about them and sought them out. He was very complimentary about seeing their space and meeting some of the young people.

    March 22, 2008
  2. chris olsen said:

    Sounds like Lt Edwards is putting more effort into the community than the rest of the three canidates.

    March 22, 2008
  3. Scott Oney said:

    Oh, great–bet you didn’t see that coming. Are the city fathers just taunting us, or what? Isn’t Lee Edwards one of the cops that’s suing the Minneapolis Police Department?

    http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/12081986.html

    Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire! Well, if he’s picked, he should fit in just fine here.

    March 22, 2008
  4. David Henson said:

    OMG Scott – How much did we pay the selection consultant ?

    From article “Lee Edwards, former head of the homicide unit and an inspector, was demoted after he was accused of driving a department vehicle while intoxicated and making offensive comments to subordinates, the suit said.”

    What about NF Officer Murphy, I hear good things about him ?

    March 22, 2008
  5. Let the googling begin! Since I lived in New York for almost 30 years, I was curious about Gerald Mines.
    http://www.starbulletin.com/2007/07/15/news/story09.html
    re Kauai, Hawaii, Police Chief Position

    Mines was one of three finalists. The story from July 15, 2007 says, “Mines also served as police commissioner for the Mt. Vernon Police Dept. following his retirement after more than 40 years of service with the NYPD.”
    Also:

    “Sixy-six people have applied for the job despite the fact the last three chiefs selected by the commission have retired or resigned while mired in
    controversy.”

    Hmmm–we are not alone. Trouble even in Hawaii.

    http://www.nypdconfidential.com/print/2006p/060213p.html

    The story reads, “Latest casuality of the Mount Vernon police musical chairs department: retired NYPD captain Gerald Mines, who served as that city’s police commisioner for just 15 days.”

    Politics was involved, I think, but it is hard to understand why that short a service should be played up in a resume. The Hawaii story did not mention the brevity of his service–I wonder if they knew.

    Mines also applied in Corpus Christi, Texas and most recently was a finalist in Davenport, Iowa, according to Jan. 15, 2008 reference:

    http://www.wqad.com/Global/story.asp?S=7624653

    It is good that he has been a finalist for a number of positions but shouldn’t he explain those 15 days in Mt. Vernon? Maybe he has.

    If my www’s do not work, just google his name. OK, now the rest of you can google away.

    March 22, 2008
  6. Two more things on candidate Mines from N.Y.
    From the Quad City Times, Jan. 15, 2008: “One of the areas where Mines thinks he has demonstrated leadership is dealing with gangs.”
    Watch out, recent graffiti spray-painters of Northfield! He handled miscreants in Bed-Stuy in NYC so your days would be numbered, for sure.
    And from the March 22, 2008 High Springs Herald of Florida: He is one of 70 people who have applied to be chief there.

    March 22, 2008
  7. Marie Fischer said:

    I agree with Dean K. Being on the youth board at the Key, we are always SO impressed with adults that want to make a connection with youth outside of school. Lee seems amazing and completely open to whatever the youth had to say.

    March 23, 2008
  8. Lynn McMillen said:

    this is from – http://mplscrimewatch.blogspot.com/2007/01/highlights-from-last-months-4th.html – from 1/9/2007 from the 4th precinct advisory meeting….

    “Welcome to Fourth Precinct’s Inspector Lee Edwards

    Lee has been with the Minneapolis Police Department since 1989 starting out in forensics, working as a beat cop on Broadway, doing undercover work, heading up internal affairs and homicide divisions, and now is very happy to be the Inspector for the 4th Precinct.

    His focus as Inspector for the precinct is very narrow – to become more efficient and effective which starts with officers / employees taking responsibility and accountability for themselves first and foremost so they can better serve others. He started his tenure by “cleaning out the precinct” inside and out and working on the problem child (shopping center) next door.

    He then went on to define crime. Like a triangle, a crime requires three elements: Victim, Place, and Suspect. If you don’t have all three, you do not have a crime. He provided several examples to illustrate this point. His targeted approach is to displace the criminals; hence, no crime.

    However, once a crime has been determined there are four avenues available for conviction: Suspect, Victim, and Witness Statements and Physical Evidence.

    Community members can help abate crime by providing more information to police, both before a crime is committed and after a suspect has been charged. Police Officers can be nicer and friendlier. Working together, officers would be able to work smarter which would free up resources to do more proactive enforcement. Officers responded to 400,000 calls this year alone.

    Inspector Edwards hopes to engage others to step up to the plate as well and has meetings scheduled with the Hmong, Latino, Black Muslim and Ethiopian Muslim communities. “The greatest gain is to get to know people one on one – it opens up people, frees them to talk.” Wants to see officers become more engaged with the community, getting out of their squad cars more often.” –

    THIS is the kind of man needed in an ever changing Northfield. The diverstiy will grow in this town, just like it has in every other. I could say that being that Edwards is black, it would be a good start. How many black leaders are currently employed in Northfield, especially within the police department? But to say he should be hired because he’s black, gives him no respect for his achievements and obvious goals. I dare Northfield to “change course” and move into the 21st century, and consider someone outside of the white bread box it’s created for itself. This city and the police department will have no respect until it lets that happen.

    And regarding any lawsuit he has filed against the city of Minneapolis. Do yourself a favor and read ALL of the information out there, before you reject him on that issue…

    March 23, 2008
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Shandy Taylor and M. McMillen, whenever our discussions here on Locally Grown bring in participants from outside the area that are unknown to us, I generally ask (I’m the main moderator here) for a self-intro if they don’t include it in their first post. Can you provide that?

    March 23, 2008
  10. Re Gerald Mines, from the Quad City Times, Jan. 15, 2008, entitled, “Davenporters chat with police chief candidates.”

    Mines was one of three finalists.

    “…Gerald Mines, who declined to give his age, a 40-plus-year veteran of the New York Police Dept. and former police chief of Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
    Mine’s experience runs the gamut from anti-gang commander in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn to counter-terrorism operations.”

    When he was head of a street gang task force there were 11 street gangs “wreaking havoc.” Under his command, there were 850 arrests and gangs were driven out in one year using what he called “unorthodox methods.”

    Judging by what Griff said about the recent graffiti in our town, I say again—Mines should be up to handle this sort of thing in Northfield. But I do wonder why he declined to give his age. One can guess, if he has had over 40 years in NYC, he is not the youngest candidate. And I wonder about the newspapers in the communities of his past candidacies mentioning his having been police chief in Mt. Vernon, when it appears his tenure was only 15 days.

    Mr. Mines seems very qualified. Overqualified? Interesting.

    March 23, 2008
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    A sharp-eyed reader alerted me that I’d omitted the last sentence from Al Roder’s summary of Lee Edwards. I’ve edited the blog post but the missing sentence was: “Experience includes homicide, internal affairs, investigations, administrative functions, command of approximately 150 sworn officers and 10 civilian employees, with an operating budget of 12 million dollars.”

    March 23, 2008
  12. David Henson said:

    The infiltration of Northfield by wild-eyed gangland graffiti artists who put up what seems like a hurried marketing campaign right at the moment of the Police Chief selection seems uncanny in its timing – very uncanny.

    I still say go with Officer Murphy.

    March 24, 2008
  13. Anne Bretts said:

    I think we need to be careful tossing around the term gang unless there is proof there is a gang or gangs here. There is some graffiti. That’s all we know.

    March 24, 2008
  14. David Henson said:

    Anne – my understanding is the graffiti is gang symbols – but I hope you understand from my post that I discount the gang issue all together – seems too coinky dink ! Like someone thinks Northfielders just fell off the potato cart.

    March 24, 2008
  15. Scott Oney said:

    David H. and Anne: I thought most of what went up a couple of weeks ago was “SK”–gang activity of a sort, perhaps, but nothing worth going nutty over. It looked like a different style on the pedestrian bridge, though. I’ll try to remember to double-check it this afternoon when I go out for coffee.

    and David H.: Do you know if Officer Murphy applied for the job? Would he accept it if he were asked? I’ve talked to him a few times, and he seems like a really decent guy. He’s also a longtime member of the community, which would be a really big plus.

    March 24, 2008
  16. David Henson said:

    Scott – I know the youth think highly of Officer Murphy (no small feat) and that he is active in the community – I do not know him personally. I’ve been told he would be interested in the position but my sources may not be accurate. I personally think promoting from within might make more sense for Northfield than get involved with the politics of career building consultants.

    March 24, 2008
  17. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Thanks to all of you for weighing in on this very important topic. Someone said a couple years ago that there were a thousand or more unsolved crimes in Northfield on the books. If that’s true, we need a very good police chief in charge.

    I hope your input will reach the ears of those who make the decision (City Council). See you at the Grand 6-9 pm Thursday, if possible. Meanwhile, keep googling these applicant names.

    March 24, 2008
  18. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve temporarily removed the comments by Shandy Taylor and M. McMillen until they can verify who they are. This blog post is public linked to by Taylor, however, is public and has an author so I’ll include it here.

    March 24, 2008
  19. I heard that Roger did not make the final four because he does not have the education the city is looking for, but he was good enough when the city was in a pinch and needed someone.

    March 24, 2008
  20. Griff Wigley said:

    I talked to Sergeant Murphy. He did apply for the job. He evidently was eliminated from consideration early in the process.

    March 24, 2008
  21. Griff Wigley said:

    Looks like someone has it in for the Lakeville PD where candidate Andy Bohlen works: http://www.lakevillesucks.bravehost.com/  (The site doesn’t work well with Firefox… use IE instead.)

    The purpose of the Lakeville/DCDTF Reporter is to report to the public details of Police corruption and illegal activities within the Lakeville, Minnesota Police Department and the Dakota County Drug Task Force. (DCDTF)

    The site’s author criticizes Bohlen on page 2-3 of “Joe & Lisa’s story“.

    March 24, 2008
  22. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve heard from Lynn McMillen and so her comment #8 is now back.

    March 25, 2008
  23. David Henson said:

    Does anyone know the name of the search firm mentioned in the News ? : “Roder said the applications have already been forwarded to a Minneapolis firm, which will review them and ask applicants to respond to a questionnaire regarding leadership skills and abilities. The company, used by the city in its 2006 search for a city administrator, will recommend up to eight candidates.”

    March 25, 2008
  24. Will Thomas said:

    My gosh – these are the four “best” candidates? Didn’t we just get rid of a “highly educated” Chief. Why are we considering big city (Minneapolis, New York City) cops for this position? Why not go with someone who has experience in a small town/college community? It seems to me that while education should certainly be a factor, in the end, it’s just a piece of paper. One of the candidates is currently working on his Masters Degree – I would rather have someone who is willing to dedicate his efforts to the job on a full-time basis. I understand the NPD has a morale problem and has had quite a bit of turnover lately. Lots of new young cops. I think it is bad form on the part of the city that SGT. Murphy is not even getting an interview, while an unproven (at least in Northfield) newcomer has been named a finalist. Let’s re-open the search. I fear ths will be yet another example of a botched task by our city administration.

    March 26, 2008
  25. Scott Oney said:

    I called Scott Davis, who represents my ward on the city council, last Monday morning to find out what criteria were used for picking the finalists. He wasn’t sure what the criteria were, or who exactly had dreamed them up, but he promised to find out and let me know. I’ll post the info. here as soon as I hear back from him. Ultimately, though, our elected officials are the ones responsible.

    Will (#26), those are good points. Concerning the criteria, whatever they were, there’s got to be something wrong with them if they can knock Schroeder and Murphy out of the running this early while letting in these guys from Minneapolis and New York. It seems almost as if our dysfunctional city government is afflicted with a repetition compulsion, which is causing them to try to rebuild something they’ve “lost” with the departure of Gary G.

    March 26, 2008
  26. David Henson said:

    Knowing how Personnel Decisions International (PDI) is paid, a fee ?, for placement ?, etc would also be interesting to know. The company may provide a great review service only or it could just be a C-M-A undertaking or a placement fee, seems like citizens should know ?

    March 26, 2008
  27. Britt Ackerman said:

    I’m pretty sure that PDI is just paid a fee for their service, plus costs. Their website has few specifics, but there are some minutes I found on-line from the town of Hassan and the city of Rogers which mentions Harry Brull from PDI sending in a quote for the cost of searching for a city administrator. (The council in that case apparently passed a motion that the cost not exceed $25,000.)

    click here for link to minutes

    March 26, 2008
  28. Scott Oney said:

    I just received an e-mail from Scott Davis regarding the selection process. I had asked him what the criteria were and who came up with them, and also if the four candidates selected could possibly be the best of the bunch. Here is his reply:

    The city had Harry Brull, of Personnel Decisions, Inc (PDI) do the winnowing of candidates down to the top 8; this is what they do for a living. All of the 8 candidates were Googled and two were eliminated based on information found regarding them on the Google search. Of the remaining six, one quit the process because they were not comfortable with the “publicness” of the process, the other one because it would have meant a 20k cut in pay (not sure why they applied in the first place). As to Mr.. Edwards, both Mr.. Brull and Mr.. Roder must have felt that his qualifications to be the Chief of Police in Northfield were strong enough to over-shadow the results of the Google search.

    So, in this case, yes, these are the best of the 29 people the city had to choose from. We are working from the hand we were dealt, so to speak.

    March 26, 2008
  29. kiffi summa said:

    Re: Councilperson Davis’s quote in Oney’s post #31: “We are working from the hand we were dealt, so to speak.”

    Sound’s entirely too passive to me; I hope the councilperson “knows when to hold’em, and knows when to fold ’em”.

    March 26, 2008
  30. Scott Oney said:

    Kiffi (#32): The process does seem rather lame so far. I was expecting something more like a point-based ranking system, but it looks like the criteria weren’t anything beyond what the city listed in the help wanted ads. And pulling out a few applications that looked OK and googling doesn’t really seem adequate. It’s a starting point, but for something as important as picking the next police chief, it would have been good if someone had at least picked up a phone and made a few calls.

    And does anybody know who the “members of the community” are who will be interviewing the candidates tomorrow, or who picked them?

    March 27, 2008
  31. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Lee Edwards and Gerald Mines evidently made a good impression on people attending the event at the Grand last night (I didn’t make it). According to KYMN, 50-75 people attended. Each got a form to fill out and submit to City Hall by noon today. Certain groups will be interviewing them today as well.

    Would like to hear from those of you on this blog who attended. Police Chief is a very important job.

    March 28, 2008
  32. Scott Oney said:

    Stephanie (#35): I was there last night, but only for about a half hour. It was really kind of awkward; I felt sorry for all of the candidates for being put through such an ordeal. There they were, four guys all trying for the same job, crammed together in a confined space, trying not to look at each other. If I were an applicant and walked into something like that, I’d probably turn right around and leave. So good for them, I guess, if they were able to stick it out.

    It didn’t seem like the time or place to ask any meaningful questions, either. Three of the candidates were there with their wives, the bar was open, and there was a pile of food that looked good (I didn’t take any), so it seemed that any serious talk would bring down the mood. I just introduced myself to the candidate I like the best, talked for about a minute and a half, and left.

    I’ve been curious about the community members that will be interviewing the candidates. I did my best to find out who they are, but didn’t come up with much. Al Roder and Elizabeth Wheeler, the city’s human resources director, where at the reception, and I asked them. I think they know, but they’re not talking. They eventually said something about data privacy or something, but it sounded bogus to me. After all, people on the Human Rights and Library Commissions have their names published in newsletters, and the legal notices in the Northfield News list every teacher that’s coming or going at the high school. But the city may be treating the interviewers more like a jury panel. I hope they at least introduce themselves to the candidates; it would be pretty creepy if they try to remain anonymous and show up wearing ski masks or something.

    March 28, 2008
  33. Britt Ackerman said:

    I made an appearance last night as well. I thought the open house was a good idea, and had an opportunity to meet three of the four candidates. Each got to make a short speech to tell us about themselves.

    The candidates and their wives were given yellow corsages so us townfolk could spot them out of the crowd and not waste our time introducing ourselves to other, unimportant townies. Kind of a wierd touch, but functional I guess.

    I’ve got my favorite candidate picked out. It was a good opportunity to hobnob with all the regular locals on the city’s dime, so I had a good time.

    March 28, 2008
  34. Jane Moline said:

    I went last night as well and I was impressed by the open house and the opportunity to meet the candidates.

    I was impressed by all four but thought the top 2 were Andy & Lee (Lakeville and Minneapolis.)

    I ate some of the food and it was good. I thought this was a very nice way to let some of the townies get a look at the candidates but not a conducive atmosphere to interviewing them–since that was not the intention, I thought it went well.

    March 28, 2008
  35. Scott Oney said:

    Britt (#37): I’m guessing that at this point you have a much better idea of how the selection process is going than I do. At least it sounds like you stayed longer at the reception last Thursday than I did. Do you see anyone emerging as a front-runner? Have you been able to pick up on who in town is representing any of the candidates, at least informally?

    The selection process this time around reminds me a lot of the one almost 10 years ago, except that I think the meet-and-greet was held at the Archer House for that one. Does anyone remember? I think a pretty strong contingent emerged in favor of Gary G., but I can’t remember who or why. It was probably covered in the Northfield News at the time.

    March 30, 2008
  36. I had another commitment but was there for a while at the Grand. I did get to ask Mr. Mines about his 15-day stint as police commissioner in Mt. Vernon, New York. He said he resigned because of a health problem of one of his siblings. He seemed somewhat surprised when I mentioned I had heard via the Internet of the over 800 gang arrests in Bed Stuy he was involved in, so perhaps he is not a googler. (He did ask about a “fellow who has a website” that he had heard about, but had to ask another candidate for Griff’s name.) He did agree he thought he could handle Northfield’s graffiti problem.
    I was impressed with Lee Edwards, who really had done his homework, as others have mentioned. He recognized one of the contributors to Locallygrown by name and talked about what had been said in that discussion thread, also recognized a local news person in the room and talked amiably about his years in Northfield in the 1980s.
    Yes, the event was superficial, not designed for long, pointed conversations but it was useful, I think, and I wish I had been able to stay longer. I hope the comment cards are not just “pro forma” and, as has been suggested, the selection has already been made. Let’s hope that view is incorrect.

    March 30, 2008
  37. Griff Wigley said:

    Gerald Mines has been eliminated from consideration, according to this article in today’s Nfld News: Three candidates remain for chief. Next up: testing and more background checks.

    The three men will now be tested on their management and leadership capabilities by Personnel Decisions International, a firm that has previously assisted the city during personnel searches. And, they’ll be backgrounded more intensely. Every aspect of their lives will be scrutinized and they will be given lie detector tests.

    April 2, 2008
  38. Griff Wigley said:

    In a previous Nfld News article, Suzi Rook wrote that the candidates would be given lie-detector tests.  I’ve since been told by a local police officer that this would be illegal.

    Anyone know fer shure?

    April 19, 2008
  39. David Ludescher said:

    My understanding is that they can’t be required to take the test as a condition of employment. But, I am not aware of anything that prevents them from voluntarily agreeing to take the test.

    April 19, 2008
  40. Curt Benson said:

    ….how about waterboarding?

    April 19, 2008
  41. Scott Oney said:

    And yet, according to the Strib, Lee Edwards is still the top candidate for the job as Northfield’s top cop. If a highly paid consultant, city administrator Al Roder, our city fathers, and two panels of distinguished though unnamed citizens were somehow successful in not seeing anything wrong with Edwards, it’s good enough for me! Whatever it is he did, I’m sure he didn’t do it, or if he did, it must have been one hundred percent consensual.

    April 20, 2008
  42. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Is Taylor our interim chief? Has he made a dent in the crime scene here in the past 6 months or so? Vandalism, etc? Can we judge him on that or find out how well staff have been faring under his direction?

    April 20, 2008
  43. Scott Oney said:

    Stephanie: My understanding is that Taylor and Roger Schroeder have the same rank, but Schroeder is the acting chief. They’re not into grandstanding, so unless you pore over every Police Log in the Northfield News and check the Rice County jail list (http://www.co.rice.mn.us/uploadedcontent/jaillist.pdf) obsessively, you probably wouldn’t have noticed, but they are quietly putting the squeeze on local crime.

    April 20, 2008
  44. John S. Thomas said:

    KARE 11 just announced that Captain Taylor has been selected as our new chief of police on the 10 PM newscast.

    April 21, 2008
  45. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks, John. I’ve heard that most officers were hoping Taylor would be selected.

    April 21, 2008
  46. Ross Currier said:

    I met Captain Mark Taylor for the first time at a recent Block Head Gathering http://nddc.org/weblog/post/1095/ and was impressed with what seemed to me to be a balanced approach to issues.

    April 22, 2008