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Top five finalists for St. Paul police chief announced

An interim chief has been in place since Todd Axtell retired over the summer. Here's who the candidates are and how the process moves forward.
Credit: KARE 11

ST PAUL, Minn. — The Saint Paul Chief of Police Examining Committee met for what would be its final time Monday night.

The committee is made up of 38 citizens from the area, who have met six times since July, and is responsible for reviewing all of the department's police chief applications.

Mayor Melvin Carter's Office said there were 30 applicants at the beginning of the search. In August, the mayor’s office told KARE 11 that of those applicants, it was determined that 16 were qualified to fill the shoes of former Police Chief Todd Axtell.

During Monday's meeting, the examining committee advanced five candidates, who they are now recommending to Mayor Carter: Dr. Jacqueline Bailey-Davis, Pamela Barragan, Kurtis Hallstrom, Axel Henry and Stacy Murphy.

The mayor will be responsible for appointing the next chief to a six-year term.

"Selecting a police chief is one of the most critical decisions a community must make,” said Mayor Carter. “While I look forward to learning more about all of the finalists, our City is blessed to be served by a department with such strong internal candidates.”

The committee said they were looking for an ethical, strong chief who can maintain relationships with the diverse City of St. Paul. 

"I think it was a really excellent process and it took longer than people wanted it to, and yet, in the end, we had a great result," said Kathy Lantry, co-chair of the St. Paul Chief of Police Examining Committee.

Sasha Cotton, the committee's other co-chair, said, "We know these are hotly contested seats and we want to make sure that St. Paul gets some of the best of the best."

Dr. Jacqueline Bailey-Davis 

Bailey-Davis entered the police force in 1997 as a uniformed officer. She currently serves as Police Staff Inspector in the Standards and Accountability Division/Audits and Inspections Unit. 

In her current role, Bailey-Davis conducts inspections of all departmental policies while serving "in an advisory capacity to line and investigative operations," the City of St. Paul said in a news release Monday.

Pamela Barragan

Barragan has been a part of the St. Paul Police Department since the '90s. She became a uniformed officer in 1996 and currently serves as the Unit Commander for Community Partnerships.

Barragan's responsible for managing sworn and civilian staff, and "establishing and maintaining new and existing partnerships with governmental and private organizations."

Kurtis Hallstrom 

Hallstrom, another officer who's served in Minnesota for many decades, began his career as a uniformed officer for the University of Minnesota Police Department in 1996. He then joined the St. Paul Police Department three years later.

The press release says Hallstrom now serves as a Senior Commander responsible for leadership and management of the Eastern District.

Axel Henry

Henry joined the St. Paul Police Department in 1998 after serving three years as a uniformed officer in the Roseville Police Department.

Now, Henry serves as commander for the Narcotics, Financial Intelligence and Human Trafficking Division.

Stacy Murphy

Murphy currently serves as the assistant chief of police for the St. Paul Police Department.

She oversees the daily operations of "563 sworn employees, 159 civilian staff and 92 volunteers," according to the city's press release.

There are two public forums scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday, where you can meet and greet the finalists.

Tuesday's forum will begin at 6 p.m. at Washington Technology Magnet School, and Wednesday's begins at 11:30 a.m., at the Saint Paul Event Center. Both are free to attend in person and will be livestreamed on the city's Facebook page.

The Mayor also invited community members to provide feedback and submit interview questions by email at Mayor@ci.stpaul.mn.us by the start of the first public forum.

RELATED: Axtell officially off the job; St. Paul ups search for new permanent police chief

RELATED: Department veteran Jeremy Ellison named St. Paul interim police chief

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