Commissioner Alexander to retire in September

July 20, 2023

Commissioner Cedric Alexander has informed Mayor Jacob Frey that he plans to retire at the beginning of September. One year ago, Commissioner Alexander stepped into the role as the City of Minneapolis’ first Community Safety Commissioner. He has been instrumental in setting up the Office of Community Safety (OCS) in its first year of operation, paving the way for a comprehensive and integrated approach to safety in Minneapolis. He has also been at the helm of safety planning with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners and community organizations to oversee a welcomed drop in violent crime throughout the city this past year. 

“Commissioner Alexander’s career has been defined by a commitment to public safety and public service,” said Mayor Frey. “When Minneapolis needed strong leadership and a clear vision, he answered the call. I am grateful for his dedication to our city and his excellent work to curb violent crime and make a comprehensive safety system a reality. I am honored to have worked alongside Commissioner Alexander and thank him for his disciplined, inclusive approach to community safety. I’m grateful to call him a friend and will be seeking his guidance well into the future.”  

“During the last year, I’ve worked alongside committed and talented leaders and personnel to strive towards excellence under the direction of Mayor Frey, who directed me to stand up the historic Office of Community Safety,” said Commissioner Alexander. “As Minneapolis moves toward its continued vision for a 21st century comprehensive safety strategy, I am proud to note the foundation for success has been established. This is, and continues to be, a beautiful and vibrant city with endless opportunities for all. I am beyond honored to have served this community and have been humbled by the expression of support shown me over the past year.” 

Since beginning his role and setting up OCS, Alexander has managed the City’s five departments – 911, Fire, Emergency Management, Police, and Neighborhood Safety – on a daily basis. This coordinated approach has helped break down silos between departments and has enabled collaborative work through day-to-day programs and large-scale event planning.  

Operation Endeavor, an Alexander-led OCS initiative, was a new coordinated effort between law enforcement, businesses, and community organizations to reduce violent crime. OCS launched Operation Endeavor in September 2022 in partnership with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Minnesota State Patrol, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and community groups, such as those contracted by the Downtown Improvement District. 

The effects of Operation Endeavor can be seen in the data, and Minneapolis saw a significant drop in violent crime compared to the same timeframe in 2021. After 90 days of the operation, gun-related calls for service had dropped 38% over the same 90 days in 2021; gunshot wound victims dropped 29% over the same 90 days in 2021; and carjackings dropped 65% over the same 90 days in 2021.  

In addition to Operation Endeavor, Alexander has chaired the local safety planning efforts for the summer in Minneapolis. Operation Swift Summer, which took place the weekend of Twin Cities Pride Festival and two sold-out Taylor Swift shows, was a success. That weekend welcomed hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors alike and the city had no major incidents in downtown. That success rolled into the following weekend when Taste of Minnesota took over Nicollet Mall – with over 100,000 people in attendance and no major incidents. Similar safety plans remain in place for the remainder of the summer.  

Throughout his career, Alexander has built and led a broad range of departments in cities across the U.S. As Deputy Mayor of Rochester, Alexander oversaw the day-to-day operations and long-term planning of more than a dozen departments, including multiple public safety services. At a national level, 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. Locally, Alexander’s work to strengthen community safety for Minneapolis residents began in 2020 when 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.  

Alexander’s last day of employment with the City will be Sept. 1, 2023. The mayor will outline a transition plan in the weeks ahead.