Minneapolis inspector is named new Metro Transit Chief of Police

Eddie Frizell was one of two finalists for the position.
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A new Chief of Police for the Metro Transit Police Department has been announced.

The Metropolitan Council confirmed on Friday that Eddie Frizell will become the department's eighth police chief, filling the void left by former chief John Harrington, who was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz to run the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Frizell, 56, will start his new role on Aug. 5, leaving his current position as the inspector for the Minneapolis Police Department's busy 1st Precinct, which covers downtown Minneapolis.

He has been the inspector there since 2017, a period which included the planning for Super Bowl LII, and originally joined MPD in 1993 during which time he's also served as a deputy chief, an internal affairs investigator, 5th Precinct inspector and a SWAT negotiator.

Frizell also has a decorated 30-year record in the Minnesota Army National Guard, holding the rank of Colonel. He has been deployed twice, to Bosnia and Kuwait/Iraq.

He'll now be tasked with overseeing what MinnPost reports is one of Minnesota's fastest-growing law enforcement agencies, with 120 full-time and 60 part-time officers.

Taking home a paycheck of between $150,000-$165,000-a-year, Frizell will be responsible for enforcing the law along Metro Transits's 130 bus routes, two light rail lines, and Northstar commuter service.

The system is expanding too, with the Southwest Light Rail extension currently under construction and due to enter service in 2023, and new bus lines being launched including the new C Line rapid transit between Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis.

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"Inspector Frizell is a proven leader who knows how to work with communities to find solutions," said Met Council Regional Administrator Meredith Vadis in a press release sent to BMTN. 

"Our buses and trains don’t just travel through our neighborhoods; they are a part of the community. Ensuring that riders and operators are safe is one of our top priorities."

"I look forward to leading the group of law enforcement professionals at the Metro Transit Police Department as we continue to serve our region with respect, professionalism and a commitment to guardianship for our riders, employees and the communities throughout our transit system," Frizell said.

Frizell was one of two finalists selected for the position, with interim chief A.J. Olson the other. Frizell had last year applied to be the Chief of Police in Seattle, and was one of three finalists for the job.

His time in downtown Minneapolis has been widely praised by the business community, per the Seattle Times, though there was some controversy last year when Mayor Jacob Frey called for a halt to low-level marijuana busts after a series of downtown sting operations netted 47 arrests, 46 of whom were black.

He also sued former Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, claiming he was wrongfully demoted from his position as deputy chief of patrol because of his decision to run for Hennepin County Sheriff, and said he was retaliated against for speaking to the press.

His case was thrown out in 2016, the Star Tribune reported.

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Harrington named new transit police chief

John Harrington, a former St. Paul police chief who retired after just one two-year stint as a DFL state senator, will become the new chief of police that enforces the law on Metro Transit buses, light rail and commuter rail. He'll oversee law enforcement on a rapidly growing network of light rail and bus transit in the Twin Cities.