Weathering the Storm

MPD chief William McManus on his early tenure

CP: What are your priorities?

McManus: My main priority, again, is to reestablish or establish a working relationship with the minority community, to "unalienate" the minority community. And to set a new direction and set a new tone. You can come in to a new department and be an actor in a script that's already written, and let that dictate what you do. Or you can write a new script, take things in the direction they should go.

CP: Will people follow you?

The outsider: Chief McManus's no-nonsense approach has sparked controversies
Marie Foss
The outsider: Chief McManus's no-nonsense approach has sparked controversies

McManus: I think so. People look for valid direction. One of the things that will become more evident is that I depend on the commanders to really run their shops. They have power to do that. I don't micromanage or second-guess them unless there's something so far out of left field. I'm the same way with the deputy chiefs. I don't make decisions in a vacuum. Give me your recommendations.

CP: You don't have your peace officer's license yet. Though I'm told you're studying for the test to get it right now.

McManus: [picks up a stack of papers] I want you to note the notes and the hundreds of pages, and the highlights that are in this thing. This is just part of it. I have to educate myself on all the various statutes. I'm not taking it lightly; I am studying for it.

CP: But that's a change of heart, this is something you were not going to do?

McManus: No, no, no. I was going to do this all along.

CP: I just think the perception was you weren't going to get your license because you didn't do it in Dayton, right?

McManus: That's something that people don't understand either. [In Dayton] I was required to do 250-some hours of class time. The problem I had with it is, I had to sit with a recruit academy, okay? So I started out doing this, and as I sat in an eight-hour class, and there was about an hour and a half of substance, and the rest of it was war stories from older instructors telling young cops what they could expect on the street, I started getting frustrated.

I was scheduled to take the exam in February, when I came to Minneapolis. I'm planning to take this. Come on. I would take it today, but I don't want this to be another big issue if I flunk it.

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