Frey’s Public Safety Commissioner nominee has caused controversy elsewhere

Mayor’s nominee Jacob Frey for the city’s first community safety commissioner has faced scrutiny in past jobs for alleged sexual harassment and financial conflicts of interest, according to media reports in other cities. where he worked.

Frey tapped Cedric Alexander to oversee the mayor’s proposed community safety office, which would incorporate five departments: 911, police and fire, the office of emergency management and neighborhood safety, formerly known as the name of the Office of Violence Prevention. The Minneapolis City Council has approved the hiring of a Public Safety Commissioner, but has yet to approve the creation of the new Community Safety Department.

Alexander is the former Director of Public Safety for Dekalb County, Georgia, overseeing police, fire, and 911. The population there is approximately 750,000.

It was accused of sexual harassment by a female officer who said he invited her on car rides, according to a nonprofit watchdog called Rochester For All. An internal investigation concluded that this was a situation, she said.

He also served as Chief of Police and later Deputy Mayor of the City of Rochester, NY, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations and long-range planning of more than a dozen departments, including several security departments. public.

He became deputy mayor of Rochester in 2017, overseeing eight departments, and his time away from work quickly came under scrutiny.

During his first year of work, Alexander was away one day a week, mainly on non-urban business, according to public records obtained by Rochester for all. In the space of 25 weeks, he was gone for 28 days, seven of which appeared to be on official business.

They also discovered conflicts of interest in his dual role: While serving as deputy mayor of a town that buys Taser/Axon equipment, Alexander spoke at an Axon conference.

His many speaking engagements — including occasional gigs on CNN — have also been scrutinized in Georgia, where an ethics committee ruled he could be paid to speak as director of public safety as long as his topic was unrelated to his work in the county, he did not speak to contractors in the county and the group did not receive any benefit from the county, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Rochester watchdog group also discovered that Alexander’s executive assistant had booked him personal travel, including a trip to South Africa to train police, organized by government defense contractor Engility Holdings, which was involved in the torture scandal in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, considered by some Republicans to be the heir apparent to former President Donald Trump appointed him to the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority in 2019. He was also appointed to former President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Alexander has also done consulting work for the University of Minnesota revision the practices of their police service.

Frey said in a press release that Alexander’s qualifications, experience and vision uniquely align with this opportunity to reshape Minneapolis government and public safety.

“Dr. Alexander has pushed reform to the highest levels and effectively led public safety services in major metropolitan areas. He is the right leader at this time, and I look forward to the hard work ahead.

Alexander told a press conference that he intends to make Minneapolis the safest city in the country and promised to give police the tools they need to do so.

“It’s not a pie in the sky,” he said. “Then let’s get him.”

He also said the city needs to dig deep into the backgrounds of potential cops, including their social media, to make sure they get “the best.”

“We have to look deeper and harder, and that makes it even harder,” he said.