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Minneapolis Mayor announces new community safety commissioner

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has selected Hennepin County Judge Toddrick Barnette to fill the post of the city’s Office of Community Safety Commissioner.

“Over the last three decades, Barnett has established himself as a leading voice in Minnesota’s public safety and criminal justice communities,” Mayor Frey said. “As a former public defender, former prosecutor and former judge, he’s built trust with residents, with safety officials, elected officials, experts, and he’s the kind of rare talent we need to take our Office of Community Safety to the next phase.”

Prior to his time as a judge, Barnette served as a senior attorney in the Hennepin County Attorney's Office from 2004 to 2006. He also worked in the Hennepin County Public Defender's Office from 1993 until 2004.

The Office of Community Safety oversees almost all the city’s emergency services, including the police. The stated goal of the office, which was created in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, is to create a new community-oriented approach to public safety.

The pick comes two months after the former commissioner, Cedric Alexander, announced his retirement. Alexander retired after just a year in the position, foregoing another three years he had left in his term. Near the end of his tenure, Alexander said he did not have the staff to “transform public safety” as he said he would. Alexander’s lack of concrete plans for transforming public safety prompted vocal community criticism.

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