Bob Kroll has a complicated relationship with the press.
On one hand, the Minneapolis Police Federation president is not hesitant to criticize members of the media he thinks are unfairly biased against cops. And he's a fan of a president whose hatred of journalists knows no bounds.
On the other, Kroll's not shy about being quoted, willing to go on the record about just about anything. Seemingly without a second thought, Kroll's gone on record about police shootings he wasn't present for ("heroic"), Minnesota Lynx ticket sales ("pathetic"), Black Lives Matter (a "terrorist organization"), the city council's responsibility for violent robberies, whether Donald Trump is racist, whether Bob Kroll is racist... hardly anything's off limits.
We may have found the limits of Kroll's candor: His wife.
Kroll is married to WCCO news anchor Liz Collin, as reported in a wide-ranging Star Tribune profile of the cop union leader published over the weekend.
The detail about Kroll's private life comes pretty far down in the story, which, if Kroll keeps his word, will be the last time he's interviewed by the major newspaper in the town whose police force he represents:
He refused to discuss the subject — going as far as saying he’d no longer talk to the Star Tribune if it reported they were married. He said he was concerned it would negatively affect her career.
Kroll's relationship with Collin has been public (or semi-public) knowledge for some time, with some wondering why Collin has continued to cover police and public safety without so much as a disclosure of the marriage. Kroll, meanwhile, is a frequent subject for the TV station, including his recent appearance at Donald Trump's downtown Minneapolis rally.
While we're talking about conflicts of interest. Wouldn't you all want to know if Bob Kroll was married to a local TV reporter? He IS -- and @WCCO still has her covering the Minneapolis police. https://t.co/ajhlv7FqFV— Becky Zosia Dernbach (@bzosiad) January 13, 2018
Then in July she did a story on Janee Harteau's tenure and legacy. Whatever you think of Harteau, it seems reasonable that her legacy shouldn't be in the hands of Bob Kroll's fiancée https://t.co/vkd4Kxvdez— Becky Zosia Dernbach (@bzosiad) January 13, 2018
.@WCCO Here’s a Good Question for you: How is it not a conflict to have Liz Collin reporting on stories that involve her husband Lt. Bob Kroll, head of the Minneapolis Police Union?— Reeeebs (@NotShallow) August 4, 2018
When Collin and Kroll became an item isn't addressed in the Star Tribune story, though she's reported on Minneapolis police matters on numerous occasions in recent years. Collin interviewed Kroll in March 2016 about police use of force.
A previous attempt by City Pages to ask Collin about the relationship and its potential conflict of interest was met with no response.
If indeed Kroll stops talking to the Star Tribune after disclosing his marriage to Collin, that'd be a long silence from a man not known for keeping quiet. Kroll's (unopposed) re-election to lead the cop union earlier this year means he'll hold that job through 2021, at which point he plans to step down and leave the position open for his second-in-command, Sherral Schmidt.