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New Minneapolis police chief takes over
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William McManus talks with the people who turned out for his swearing in on Tuesday. (MPR Photo/Art Hughes)
William McManus says he is anxious to begin leading the Minneapolis Police Department. During his swearing-in address on Tuesday, McManus delivered a message that officers who perform well will win support. He says those who step out of line, however, will have to answer for their actions.

Minneapolis, Minn. — McManus' first address as chief of police was one of praise for those on his new staff who have chosen law enforcement because they want to serve the public. He says he has no doubt the department he inherited is professional and deserves the public's respect and support.

"I will have zero tolerance for misconduct and promise to walk the talk, to lead by example, and to swiftly and to fairly deal with any member of the department who would tarnish it's reputation under color of their authority," McManus said.

He closed his remarks with a quote from the noted former district judge and Las Vegas title fight referee best known for disqualifying Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield's ear during the 1997 heavyweight championship.

"It's time to stop talking and go to work. And as Mills Lane would say, 'let's get it on,'" McManus said.

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Image St. Paul Police Chief William Finney (left) and McManus.

Meeting reporters after the ceremony, McManus said he will work with his transition team -- made up primarily of existing command staff -- to set priorities as he takes over. He restricted high speed police pursuits in Dayton. He says such policies are possible here.

"We're going to review all the high risk policies and things that we do to make sure they are up to national standards," McManus said. "And once we do that we'll come to some decision on whether they need changing or not. There's not going to be any change without a thorough review."

McManus frequently uses the word 'accountable' when talking about himself and those under his command. When asked about officers who are reinstated after proven misconduct, McManus said he doesn't want those officers who misbehave to taint the trust in good officers.

"Everybody has a due process and you can't really control what the outcome of that will be, what the courts or the arbitrators will say," he said. "But the biggest thing to remember is that everyone on the police department will know my position on it. And they will understand if they do that they will have to fight to get their jobs back."

Eight officials from the Dayton Police Department attended McManus' swearing in. McManus served as chief in Dayton for two years. Carol Johnson, Dayton's public information officer, says McManus lives up to his talk about accountability.

"The biggest thing to remember is that everyone on the police department will know my position on (police misconduct). And they will understand if they do that they will have to fight to get their jobs back."
- Police Chief William McManus

"The one thing that I've learned from him is never let him ask you to do something a second time," Johnson said. "If he needs you to do something he expects it done and he doesn't want to have to ask you again."

Johnson says Dayton's loss is Minneapolis' gain. McManus took office the same day Officer Jeff Jindra returned to work after four months on administrative leave. A suspect during a drug raid accused Jindra and another officer of sexual assault with a toilet plunger handle. The FBI concluded an investigation last week. A U.S. Department of Justice decision is pending. Spike Moss, a community activist who backed accuser Steven Porter, says he has hope McManus will break the pattern of investigations that favor police.

"That's why they waited so long because they wanted to wait for the anger to subside and they can say probable cause like they normally do," Moss said. "There's nothing happening here that didn't happen in the past."

Does Moss expect the officers will be exonerated?

"Sure. They always were. We're a perfect city. Every case they ever had they've been perfect," Moss replied.

Does he think McManus will change that?

"Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah," Moss said.

Police Chief McManus says the agreement signed by police and various community members after nine months of federal mediation is in the center of his desk. He says he intends to make the agreement a significant part of police relations with the public.

McManus' wife and two children plan to join him in Minneapolis soon after the couple's third child is born.

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