Residents Hear from Brooklyn Center Police Chief Finalists
Community members in Brooklyn Center got a chance to meet the two candidates for police chief on Monday night. Some members, including the mother of Daunte Wright, were invited to ask questions. Others could join online. The two finalists are Kathy Hughes and Kellace McDaniel.
Hughes is a former longtime captain with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and current director of security with the Robbinsdale School District. McDaniel is a lieutenant with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.
Below are some of the questions and answers from Monday evening’s meeting:
Question: “What does accountability look like within the police department? How as the leader are you going to call out officers and hold them accountable for their actions?”
Hughes: “I want to hear from those who have been victims of crime I want to know what their needs are and I want to be held accountable as police chief. I also take policy and accountability very seriously with my officers and I want to make sure we are all doing the right thing.”
McDaniel: “You can’t have a corrupt police department it’s just not going to work, the communities can see that and the minute you let some things like that go, you’ve lost your community.”
Question: “What are your thoughts on why the Black Lives Matter movement began? Do you support the reasons behind the Black Lives Matter movement? And what do you think about the Blue Lives Matter push as a response to Black Lives Matter? Do Black Lives Matter to you? Will Black Lives Matter to the department under your leadership?”
Hughes: “I think with any movement, unless you are educated on the movement it’s tough to speak as an expert, I believe Black Lives Matter has a voice, I think they have a strong voice that wants to be heard and I want to listen.”
McDaniel: “My take on Black Lives Matter, I’m an advocate for it. I live in a neighborhood that believes in it, that has signs that do say Black Lives Matter. As far as the creation of Black Lives Matter, we all know that when you’re in the situation where a certain group is oppressed, we need to have some of sort of group to support that.”
Question: “As police chief, how would you feel if the recent surge in crime and violence in the city, given the current staffing inefficiencies in the Brooklyn Center Police Department?”
Hughes: “I feel law enforcement we’re all trying to do the same thing, we’re all trying to staff, we’re all trying to do policies well, we’re trying to do operations well with less resources.
McDaniel: “I think it starts with community centers, I think it starts with communication. I also believe in community groups, what I mean by that is getting to the table, getting the right people to the table to start talking about what’s going on in our community.”
Question: “Do you believe that racism and prejudice is present in the police profession. If so, how do you fix it?”
Hughes: “When you have a good police chief and a good leader in law enforcement, they follow you. I am a very sound, ethical, person. I believe racism occurs everywhere, not just law enforcement, but it’s how it’s dealt with.”
McDaniel: “I’ve experienced it in my own sector, I won’t go into too many details on it, but obviously yes it does exist in the police force. And the tough thing about it is there’s not enough of us to support that. Something I would love to bring to Brooklyn Center is we do need people on the force that looks like me and like a lot of the people in this room. Diversity is key, it’s one of the reasons why I moved to Brooklyn Center.”
As to what happens next, a consulting firm is providing a report to City Manager Reggie Edwards so he can make the final decision. That decision could come by the end of the week.