The City Council has approved the nomination of Brian O’Hara to serve as police chief. O’Hara joined the City after serving as deputy mayor of Newark, New Jersey, in charge of overseeing strategic public safety initiatives. He officially starts Monday, November 7, 2022. As former captain of the Newark Police Department’s Consent Decree &Planning Division (2017-2020), O’Hara worked extensively with the Department of Justice on the 2016 consent decree between the U.S. and the City of Newark.
During the public hearing process, Council Member Robin Wonsley (Ward 2) had the opportunity to ask Chief O’Hara multiple questions and made additional comments.
How would you have approached the Civil Unrest that occurred after the murder of George Floyd and how will you rebuild trust with our community? He said that in the future he hopes to put processes to identify bad police officers to remove before terrible things occur. He also asked for accountability.
Would you be supportive of an alternative response to the police in order to reduce call wait times? He said that in his former police department it was helpful to have social workers embedded in the department to address work that officers are not equipped to do. I let him know that this is work the City will be doing and that I hope he will advocate having more than one social worker per precinct.
What do you plan to implement in the first 100-days to reduce gun violence in Minneapolis? He talked about the intentional work he did in Newark, the need for an across government collaboration, working with people who used to be in street life, and supporting community based intervention work