MINNEAPOLIS -- Minneapolis has appointed its first commissioner of community safety.
The City Council voted Thursday morning to approve Dr. Cedric Alexander to the position. Eight councilmembers voted yes, three voted no and two abstained.
"I'm here to help, but it's going to take all of us in this great city to make Minneapolis a safer place for everyone," Alexander said. "We can't forget the past, but we truly do have to look toward the future. We need to redesign our approach to public safety so everyone is working together."
The approval comes at a crucial time as the city grapples with the rise in violence while staffing for key departments like police and 911 dispatch is down.
Mayor Jacob Frey nominated Alexander last month for the position. He is a 40-year law enforcement veteran who once served as a police chief and was on a White House task force under President Barack Obama.
"Today marks a seminal moment in our work to reshape and redefine community safety in Minneapolis," Mayor Jacob Frey said. "Our communities have called out for safety, they've called out for change, and Dr. Alexander has answered the call. I am grateful to the Council for confirming his nomination today. Now the real work begins."
Alexander's new Office of Community Safety will include five existing departments: 911, the police and fire departments, the Office of Emergency Management and neighborhood safety.
Earlier this week city residents had the chance to weigh in on the position but there was mixed reaction. Residents voiced concerns about Alexander being the highest paid employee in the city, and about the fact that he's not from Minneapolis.
Alexander says he knows what it takes to be successful in the role.
"This job is not new to me, it's new to your community. I've been a public safety director before," he said. "I know how to do this job, I've had successes and failures. But without the failures I had, I would not have learned how to do it better the next time around."
Alexander will hold the post for a four-year term starting in January.
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