McManus, New Minneapolis Chief, Promoted Diversity


Many black residents of Dayton, an old manufacturing town of 166,000, saw William McManus as a police chief who promoted diversity, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. McManus has been chosen by Mayor R.T. Rybak as Minneapolis’s new police chief.

“He came to [Dayton], which was racially challenged, and because of his diversity, he was able to promote positive change,” said Abdur Rashid, who sits on a citizens advisory board resurrected by McManus. “I’ve never seen a police chief who has been so accessible in my life. We saw more diversity come into play with him.”

The Star Tribune says McManus’s aggressive policies on making the department more diverse grated on a fair number of whites, including his own officers. Among his bold moves: prohibiting racial profiling, restricting high-speed police chases, and outlawing shooting at or from moving vehicles. His restructuring of department top brass was equally dramatic. By the end of his first year as Dayton’s chief, McManus had filled three of his six top command positions with blacks. One was promoted from within; the other two were hired from outside.

The changes impressed the six-member City Commission, the majority of whose members are black, as well as the mayor, who is black. But they created a chasm between McManus and the police union. In August, the Dayton Fraternal Order of Police gave the chief a unanimous vote of no confidence. News of his selection in Minneapolis did little to lift the chill. “We wish him well on his new endeavor, and hopefully things will go better for him there,” said Randy Beane, incoming union president.

“When he came in here he sort of bowed down to some of the community groups, but he did it at the expense of officer safety,” said Detective Mark Stapleton. “He came in here and told the council what it wanted to hear: ‘I’ll hire more minorities, get out into the black community,’ and he did that. But the majority of officers are not happy with him whatsoever. Once he leaves, we’ll have to dig back out of where he put us.”


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