Mayor Jacob Frey has nominated Newark Deputy Mayor Brian O’Hara to serve as the next Minneapolis Chief of Police.
Throughout his decades of service with the Newark Police Department (NPD), O’Hara has earned a reputation for excellence in his work while drawing the respect of community members, colleagues, and community safety experts. His time in Newark has been defined by a commitment to forging change, embracing new ideas, and building a culture of accountability and trust.
“Minneapolis has been asking for change, and Brian O’Hara is ready to deliver longstanding solutions,” said Mayor Frey. “I’ve said all along that this is among the most consequential hires I will make as mayor, and I know that Brian is the right choice. He has proven his ability to lead a department that is both accountable to the community and that can reduce crime – seeing the city to nearly the lowest number of shootings in history. I am appreciative to Brian for his already deep commitment to the job, our officers, and our residents and for his willingness to be the change agent we need.”
“I am grateful and honored at the prospect of serving the people of Minneapolis, under the leadership of Mayor Frey, with Commissioner Alexander and the support of the City Council,” said Brian O’Hara. “The foundation of policing is trust, and as the Minneapolis Chief of Police, I will work day and night to ensure that the residents of Minneapolis can feel safe, and that all people can trust the MPD to have their backs. Law enforcement is a collaborative effort, and we will engage not just with other law enforcement partners, but with as many community partners who are willing to have their voice heard – because you can’t have public safety without the public.”
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 NPD’s Consent Decree & Planning Division (2017-2020), O’Hara has worked directly and extensively with the Department of Justice on the 2016 Consent Decree between the U.S. and the City of Newark. O’Hara facilitated the implementation, monitoring, and compliance of all consent decree requirements which included the development of all policies and procedures on police reform, promotion of constitutional policing, transparency, and accountability throughout the department, and overseeing the development of all public reports, surveys, and assessments regarding the effectiveness of the department’s reforms. All of these efforts were designed to shift the NPD culture.
O’Hara took that work further when he was promoted to Deputy Chief of the Accountability, Engagement, & Oversight Bureau. From this leadership post, he continued to promote accountability within the department, measuring the effectiveness of the department’s reform work and overseeing the Internal Affairs unit.
O’Hara currently serves as the Deputy Mayor of the City of Newark.
In total, O’Hara’s experience has equipped him with the holistic perspective required to redefine policing in Minneapolis. Throughout his career, he has worked collaboratively with communities and other public safety divisions, including alternatives to policing strategies, to enact enduring change.
The mayor’s nomination will be submitted to the full City Council at its meeting on Thursday, October 6 for consideration and referral to the relevant committee.
The Chief of Police position is a four-year appointment.