Mendota Heights police chief tapped to serve on state board

Kelly McCarthy

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced June 30 their appointments to the Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training, and there was a familiar name on the list. 

Mendota Heights Police Chief Kelly McCarthy was selected to not only serve on the POST board but also as its chair, with her term expiring in January 2023.

McCarthy said she has applied to different boards in the past but never to the POST board. She saw the position was open and after thinking it over and talking with some of her mentors, she applied.

The purpose of the Peace Officer Standards and Training board is to ensure quality education on the front end of police service. The board licenses officers and sets the standards for their continued education and training, McCarthy said.

She said she was excited to find out she’d been selected as chair, a direct appointment.

“I love police work and I think it’s the greatest job in the world,” McCarthy said.

Serving as chair is a little daunting, she said, as she has no experience with the board, but there are a lot of passionate people involved with it who she said will help her learn a lot.

McCarthy said she’s waiting to settle into the position before making goals about what she hopes to accomplish as board chair, which is an unpaid position. She added she wants to hear from all stakeholders, especially the public, to make sure the board is being responsive.

She added it’s a fine line to walk.

“You have to have policies and regulations in place that ensure some of the fundamental necessities, so you need to be able to ensure police officers are just and ethical,” McCarthy said. “That foundation has to be there. But then you also have to respect the autonomy of different communities.”

She pointed out the priorities of policing in Mendota Heights are going to be different than those in other cities, like Duluth. No matter the city’s priorities though, there has to be an underlying foundation, McCarthy said, which creates a narrow walkway when it’s done correctly.

The POST board meets four times a year. McCarthy said she wants citizens to know this board is theirs.

“It belongs to the community,” she said. “If they have ideas or questions or concerns, go ahead and contact me, because we’ll listen.”


—Hannah Burlingame

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