If Bill McManus wins approval Friday to become Minneapolis police chief, his first year will be ripe with expectation and potential potholes, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The paper says McManus He may face battles with the city’s police union over policy changes or personnel decisions. Top officers could leave if they don’t want to work under him or feel their opportunity for moving up is limited. Serious-crime reports, which have been down the last five years, could turn the other way.
McManus, chief in Dayton, Ohio, has been directed by Mayor R.T. Rybak to diversify the department, but he has few options. He might have to juggle a budget cut deeper than the $7 million Chief Robert Olson had to make last year. There is also a major sexual abuse case. Stephen Porter alleges that he was sexually assaulted with a toilet plunger handle by an officer during a drug raid in October. Although many community leaders quickly backed McManus’ nomination, they have made it known the honeymoon will be short.
“I firmly believe that coming in, your main objective is to listen to as many people as possible,” McManus said. “You simply don’t do things without having all the facts.”
McManus wouldn’t face the crises that met Olson in 1995, including a $1 million settlement in a brutality lawsuit and a city on the verge of a record homicide total. McManus will be able to spend time building relationships with the community and meeting with officers, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, D.C., and a longtime friend of Olson. “Olson made significant progress in the department over the years,” Wexler said. “The challenge will be to bring it to the next level.”
Serious-crime reports have fallen since 1997. After a record 97 homicides in 1995, the city has averaged 54 a year. In Dayton, McManus, 51, implemented a geographically targeted community policing model similar to what’s being done in Minneapolis.