Today, Mayor Jacob Frey announced his nomination of Dr. Cedric Alexander as the City of Minneapolis’ first Commissioner of Community Safety. Dr. Alexander brings over 40 years of executive leadership in civil service, law enforcement, and public safety to this new role. He has previously served as the Director of Public Safety for Dekalb County (GA) where he oversaw police, fire, emergency response, and 911. He also served as the Chief of Police and later Deputy Mayor for the City of Rochester (NY), President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and was appointed as a member of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
As the Commissioner of Community Safety, Dr. Alexander would oversee the mayor’s newly proposed Office of Community Safety, which will integrate five departments: 911, Fire, the Office of Emergency Management, Police, and Neighborhood Safety, formerly known as the Office of Violence Prevention.
“This is a seminal moment for the City of Minneapolis,” said Frey. “Since proposing a new, integrated department for our community safety work, I’ve met with candidates locally and nationally. Dr. Cedric Alexander’s qualifications, experience, and vision uniquely aligned with this generational opportunity to reshape our local government and how we achieve safety in Minneapolis. Dr. Alexander has driven reform forward at the highest levels and has effectively led public safety services in major metro areas. He is the right leader for this moment, and I look forward to the hard work ahead.”
“Community safety and law enforcement have been my life’s work, and I am grateful that Mayor Frey asked me to step into this role,” said Dr. Alexander. “I know the path forward will not be easy, but I am committed to making sure Minneapolis residents, businesses, and visitors are safe when they are in this great city. I’m eager to begin building the Office of Community Safety alongside community and Minneapolis first responders to develop a more effective, integrated approach to public safety. I’m ready to support both our community and our emergency responders including our police officers, firefighters, dispatchers, and all of those who support them. I will be honored to serve the City of Minneapolis and am hopeful for what we will accomplish together.”
Throughout his career, Dr. Alexander has built and led a broad range of departments in cities across the U.S. As Deputy Mayor of Rochester, Dr. Alexander oversaw the day-to-day operations and long-term planning of more than a dozen departments, including multiple public safety services. His experience guiding the overarching vision of several interconnected offices, combined with over 25 years of law enforcement service, provides a rare combination well situated for this new role in Minneapolis.
At a national level, Dr. Alexander’s expertise in building both public trust and violence reduction solutions has received the highest recognitions, including an appointment to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project which works to free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone.
Locally, Dr. Alexander’s work to strengthen community safety for Minneapolis residents is already underway. In 2020, he was selected by the University of Minnesota to review their Police Department’s (UMPD) values and practices and to improve student-police relations and communication. His efforts to better the lives of residents locally and across the country, through community led solutions, is just one of the many reasons for his nomination.
As a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Dr. Alexander has worked extensively to guide and administer mental health services and support to emergency first responders – specifically police and fire – including their families and the public at large. This health-focused approach and the great understanding of trauma and healing is seen in all aspects of his work. As Commissioner of Community Safety, Dr. Alexander will use this approach to build a department centered on holistic service.
The mayor’s nomination will be transmitted to the Minneapolis City Council for consideration at its July 21 meeting.