Tom Smith, possible St. Paul Police chief


Tom Smith is a candidate for the next St. Paul Police Chief. The current St. Paul Police Chief, John Harrington, is retiring. St. Paul police have a positive relationship with the St. Paul community because of their community-policing style. Matt Bostrom, a current St. Paul Assistant Chief, now running for Ramsey County Sheriff, taught me about community policing. Indeed the community relationships are so important to the St. Paul Police that they call it the Bank of Trust. As an internal candidate from this same great community-policing culture, Tom Smith also displays these really great values and characteristics.

Tom Smith believes that great police officers come from integrity, moral character and compassion. Tom believes in volunteerism and giving back. I especially liked Tom’s description that the primary role of police was to be peace keepers. What sets Tom Smith apart is his comfort in a public role, for both traveling and speaking. Tom Smith places emphasis on transparency, on keeping the public informed through the media. And indeed, it is obvious that Tom has a gift of story telling.

From a long interview, I have created two videos. The first describes the heroes, the background and the experiences of Tom Smith. The second interview gets into the tougher questions of being police chief such as “How does one balance loyalty and accountability?”

Grace Kelly :: Tom Smith, Possible St Paul Police Chief

Just to note that in the process of editing, many pieces of the interview have to be left out on the cutting room floor. Tom Smith’s heroes include his parents, Colin Powell and Abraham Lincoln, although the video piece covers Abraham Lincoln. Every officer always mentions the death of other officers in the impacts of their careers. So just because something is missing, does not mean it was not said.

All St. Paul internal candidates have great training in multiple assignments to prepare them for leadership. So to avoid long recitations in the video, I am including a list provided by Tom Smith here:

Community Associations & Professional Organizations

  • Member Board of Directors-Neighborhood House Association (2nd Term)
  • Board member Midway Chamber of Commerce since 2005
  • Volunteer, Boy’s & Girl’s Club of America
  • Co-Lead Humboldt High School At-Risk Youth Mentor Program
  • Led effort with District Councils Seven & Eight, Bethel College, and numerous neighborhood volunteers to continue the funding for the Shop With Cop’s program.
  • African American Leadership Council
  • Westside Youth Task Force Member
  • Developed partnership between Neighborhood House & Sibley Plaza for joint police store front for East African families.
  • Organized St. Paul Somali Advisory Council (2004).
  • Partner with 17 District Councils in St. Paul.
  • God Squad Partnership
  • Assisted in developing over 800 block clubs while in Force Unit.
  • Member NAACP St. Paul Chapter.
  • Member FBI National Academy Associates.
  • Member International Association of Chief’s of Police.
  • Member FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association.
  • Personal

  • Master’s Degree in Education & Leadership, University of St. Thomas
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations, Metropolitan State University
  • Graduate of 186th Session of the FBI National Academy (1996)
  • Graduate of FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Academy (2007)
  • Graduate Wilder Foundations James P. Shannon Leadership program (2009)
  • Volunteer Assistant Softball Coach-Westside Boy’s & Girl’s Club
  • Volunteer Neighborhood House Association
  • 2009 Cinco de Mayo Grand Marshall
  • 2005 FBI Associates Midwest National Academy Conference (Host)
  • Mentor At-Risk Youth programming
  • Counter Terrorism Training (Trip to Middle East)
  • Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) participant
  • Medal of Valor Award Recipient
  • Homeland Security Training & Certificates
  • Police History

  • 1989 Police Officer
  • 1990 Selby Beat Officer
  • 1992 First member department Force Unit
  • 1994 Sergeant Force Unit
  • 1996 Sergeant Proactive Juvenile Gang Unit
  • 1997 Lead Inspector, Office of the Chief
  • 1998 Patrol Supervisor and Weed and Seed Coordinator
  • 1999 Lieutenant/Commander Western District
  • 2000 Commander-Central District
  • 2001 Acting Senior Commander, Central District (four months)
  • 2002 Training Unit Commander
  • 2003 SWAT Team and Western District Commander
  • 2004 Senior Commander Western District & SWAT Commander
  • 2006 to present, Assistant Chief of the Operation’s Division