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Who We Are

John Harrington

Chief of Police

Chief Harrington has been a strong proponent of community-oriented policing during his 40-year career in law enforcement and has long advocated for increased diversity in police department staffing.

Under his leadership since 2012, the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) has transformed into one of the most responsive and diverse police agencies in the state, and it has become a leader in addressing issues of homelessness and youth violence in the Twin Cities.

Harrington has been recognized by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and the Minnesota Public Transit Association as its Transit Professional of the Year for his efforts to make the MTPD’s police force reflective of the community it serves.

Harrington began his law enforcement career in 1977 with the St. Paul Police Department (SPPD). In 2004, he became the SPPD's 39th chief of police, a position he held until 2010, when he was elected to the Minnesota State Senate representing District 67 in St. Paul. He resigned from the Senate in 2012 when he became MTPD’s seventh chief of police.

In 2011, Harrington helped launch Ujamaa Place, a nonprofit agency that works with African-American men in St. Paul to help them transition out of prison or gangs and become productive community members. Harrington was the agency's CEO until 2012, and he continues to serve as the organization’s board chair.

Harrington received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from Dartmouth College with a minor in Chinese language and earned a Master's degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the National Executive Institute and the Police Executive Research Forum. He is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in Leadership at St. Mary's University of Minnesota.

Photo of Chief Harrington


Photo of Deputy Chief A.J. Olson

A.J. Olson

Deputy Chief of Police

With more than 36 years in law enforcement, Deputy Chief Olson oversees the department's administration, which includes investigations, budget management and office support, professional standards, business technology and asset protection. During his tenure at MTPD, Olson has supervised many high-profile incidents, including the MTPD's role in Metro Transit's response to the tragedy of the I-35W bridge collapse in 2007, the agency's support of the Republican National Convention in 2008, the MTPD's support of the 2014 Major League All Star Game and the MTPD's security planning for Super Bowl LII in 2018.

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Captain Jim Franklin

West Command

Cpt. Franklin leads MTPD's West Command and is responsible for overseeing more than half of the department's officers. West Command's patrol area includes the transit system west of the Mississippi River and encompasses major venues like Mall of America, Target Field, U.S. Bank Stadium and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Franklin also serves as a designated emergency manager for Metro Transit.


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Lieutenant Troy Schmitz

Investigations

Lt. Schmitz supervises the Investigations Unit, Juvenile Investigations Unit, Juvenile Outreach, and the Transit Crimes Unit (TCU). The Investigations Unit is responsible for investigating any criminal matters occurring on Metro Transit property. The Juvenile Investigations Unit and Juvenile Outreach team work together to investigate juvenile crimes with an emphasis on diversion and intervention. TCU is a plain-clothes unit responsible for addressing quality-of-life crimes and responding to emerging crime trends with pro-active patrolling.

Photo of Sergeant Joe Dotseth

Sergeant Joe Dotseth

Internal Affairs and Inspections Unit

Sgt. Dotseth runs the MTPD's Internal Affairs and Inspections Unit (IAU), which is dedicated to ensuring that the relationship between the department and the community is built upon trust and transparency. The IAU investigates complaints of misconduct and violations of department policy and conducts routine inspections of department functions. These inspections ensure that standard operational functions are being performed at acceptable levels.


Photo of Segeant Joanne Sellner

Sergeant Joanne Sellner

Police Information Coordinator

Sgt. Sellner facilitates the department's internal communications efforts and outreach to the community through newsletters, surveys, the annual report and community meetings. Sellner also monitors key performance indicators and goals for the department and is responsible for recruiting and awards.

Photo of Gwen Degroff-Gunter

Gwen DeGroff-Gunter

Juvenile Outreach Coordinator

DeGroff-Gunter is a 20-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, who retired as a lieutenant in 2012. As MTPD’s juvenile outreach coordinator, DeGroff-Gunter collaborates with metro area schools, other police departments and community partners to coordinate and plan special events where youth and police can connect in a non-enforcement environment. She is also the coordinator for the department’s Juvenile Diversion Program which serves as an alternative to the criminal justice system for lower level offenders. MTPD’s juvenile outreach program also provides mentorship to youth who are interested in becoming police officers by hosting forums where youth and officers can have candid conversations about community policing.

 


Staff Highlights

Transit Police make arrests in recent wave of cell phone thefts

Wednesday, November 29, 2017. Metro Transit police officers have arrested 11 suspects for committing a bold crime of stealing cell phones from riders’ hands. Four of the suspects have been charged with felony theft and are facing thousands of dollars in fines and up to five years in prison. More arrests are expected as the investigation continues.

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New class of MTPD officers reflects diversity of transit community

Friday, October 27, 2017. The Metro Transit Police Department welcomed 13 new full-time officers during a swearing-in ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 26. The event included remarks from Chief John Harrington, General Manager Brian Lamb and Metropolitan Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. More than half of the new officers are women and people of color and half speak more than one language, including Hmong, Laotian, Spanish, Somali, Arabic and Turkish.

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Metro Transit Police use teamwork and video surveillance to arrest vandalism suspect

Monday, August 28, 2017. Thanks to video surveillance footage and two alert Metro Transit Police officers, a 52-year-old man has been charged with breaking glass panels and stealing the heating element from the Blue Line’s Franklin Avenue Station. Metro Transit Police officers Emmanuel Martinez-Cruz and Samuel Scheeler made the arrest on Wednesday, Aug. 23, after recognizing the suspect while patrolling in downtown Minneapolis. The officers had been shown images of the suspect from surveillance video earlier that morning.

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Harrington recognized by chiefs association

Friday, April 28, 2017. Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington was celebrated as one of the state’s top law enforcement leaders by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association this week. Harrington received the association’s Richard W. Schaller Award, which recognizes service to the community and the profession. Harrington accepted the award at the association’s Executive Training Institute in St. Cloud.

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Officer of the Year

2016 Officer of the Year recognized for 'servant leadership'

Friday, March 24, 2017. After a decade working in financial aid, Katherine Spear started getting restless. Looking for new opportunities, she ran a quick internet search and clicked on the first thing that came up – a chance to volunteer with the St. Paul Police Reserve Unit, which supplements the police force. “I sat in that Crown Victoria, started patrolling and I was hooked,” Spear said.

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Meet MTPD's Northside community policing team

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