The City Council has approved Mayor Jacob Frey’s nomination of Brian O’Hara to serve as police chief. O’Hara joins the City after serving as deputy mayor of Newark, New Jersey in charge of overseeing strategic public safety initiatives. He officially starts Monday, Nov. 7.
In 2001, O’Hara joined the Newark Police Department as a police officer, rising through the ranks to become a captain in 2016. In 2021, he was appointed as the public safety director for Newark overseeing more than 1,960 employees comprising 996 sworn police officers, 611 firefighters and 346 civilian employees and a budget that exceeded $200 million. In that role, O’Hara enhanced the collaborative working relationships among federal, state and local partners.
As former captain of the Newark Police Department’s Consent Decree & Planning Division (2017-2020), O’Hara has worked extensively with the Department of Justice on the 2016 consent decree between the U.S. and the City of Newark. The chief of police position is a four-year appointment.
“This moment matters,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “The act of stepping up for this job – at this time – is an act of courage, and Brian O’Hara is exactly the type of person our city, our community, and our police department needs right now. He is an inclusive leader, a forward thinker, and a person of the highest moral integrity. His unrelenting willingness to show up and be present will allow him to succeed in driving police reform, reducing violent crime, and strengthening police-community relations. I look forward to witnessing Chief O’Hara’s legacy in Minneapolis.”
“I believe that things happen for a reason,” O’Hara said. “I believe very deeply that the experiences that I have had in the city of Newark, working with community and working with police officers to bring about some meaningful changes, are experiences that are directly applicable to the current challenges that are facing the residents of this community. I’m incredibly honored and humbled to have the opportunity to be part of the change here in Minneapolis.”
“I’m pleased Mr. O’Hara has stepped up to lead the Minneapolis Police Department during this critical time of rebuilding the department. His experience in Newark made him a standout candidate in leading MPD under our newly structured Office of Community Safety, working in partnership and with the leadership of our Community Safety Commissioner, Dr. Cedric Alexander,” said City Council President Andrea Jenkins. “Building trust with community members and thinking strategically around public safety response and reforms in policy, program and training are an important part of the job of police chief, and I believe Mr. O’Hara will do just that.”