New Inver Grove Heights Police Chief Plans to Chart a Course for the FutureFollowing a nationwide recruitment effort and comprehensive selection process, Paul Schnell was selected as the Inver Grove Heights Police Department’s new Police Chief. Chief Schnell, who started in his new role on December 11, 2017, has an extensive history in policing and has held executive law enforcement leadership roles in two other cities previously. Some people may also remember Chief Schnell from his regular media appearances during his four years as the spokesman for the St. Paul Police Department.
Chief Schnell said he was drawn to seek the Inver Grove Heights’ Police Chief position because of the considerable growth that is anticipated in the City over the coming years. He regards maintaining uniqueness of the City, its neighborhoods, and community values as an essential part of his community policing perspective. “Communities get the kind of policing they demand, so it’s incumbent upon us to engage with the community to ensure we’re being responsive and meeting community expectations,” he added. Just a week after starting in his new role, the department launched the First Annual Community Safety Survey - an online survey to intended to collect information and allow analysis of community feedback about crime, traffic, and quality-of-life issues. The 39-question survey received over 450 responses.
During the first month, Chief Schnell met with every member of the Police Department, both sworn and non-sworn. He also met with each individual City Council member, city staff, Board of the Directors of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce, School District leadership and the leaders of Inver Grove Heights-based Faith communities. Based on the information gathered from these meetings, Chief Schnell will develop a comprehensive workplan that will guide the department’s work during his first year. “Already, the workplan includes more than 50 strategic priorities that includes identification of specific planned strategies,” Chief Schnell explained.
One focus will be on the Police Department’s webpage, including the addition of a “Transparency Center Tab” and a “Performance Dashboard Tab.” The Transparency Center will include publication of the Department’s policy manual, the City’s Emergency Operations Plan (excluding security sensitive information), a summary of Community Safety Survey Results, and the roster of all police department personnel, including name, badge number, email address and voicemail extension. In addition, the planned “Performance Dashboard” will provide a range of resource allocation and outcome metrics, such as scheduled patrol hours, the number of calls for service, traffic stops, citations, and arrest data.
One of the biggest goals for the Department is deepened levels of community engagement. Regarding community policing efforts, Chief Schnell said, “We know that when communities are more connected they’re safer – connected communities tend to look out for each other more and have stronger partnerships with their police department.” Reporting suspicious activity, communicating concern about a child being left with supervision or an elderly person whose health and welfare appear to be faltering are two ways we strengthen community. The department has already started planning a number of community events with the goal of enhancing the departments’ engagement with the community it serves. Other initiatives planned by the Department during 2018, include:• Creation of a 1 to 3-year Strategic Plan (2018-2020)• Initiation of crime analysis to aid in increased allocation of police resources to identified trends or problems.• Development of a comprehensive report to the City Council entitled, “Inver Grove Heights Police Department 2040: An assessment of the size, specialties, and needs of the city’s police department.”• Increased use of employee performance measurement systems.• Increased involvement in multi-jurisdictional public safety collaborative efforts.• Expansion of training and professional development opportunitiesChief Paul Schnell – Experience ProfileExperienceDecember 2017 – Present – Chief of Police – Inver Grove Heights Police DepartmentJuly 2017 – December 2017 – System investigator – Minnesota State Colleges and UniversitiesJuly 2013 – June 2017 – Chief of Police – Maplewood Police DepartmentJuly 2010 – July 2013 – Chief of Police – Hastings Police DepartmentSeptember 1999 – July 2010 – Police Officer/Sergeant/Department Spokesman – St. Paul Police DepartmentJuly 1992 – September 1999 – Deputy Sheriff/Sergeant – Carver County Sheriff’s Office
EducationSouth Police Institute – University of Louisville, KY – Administrative Officers Course – 2007St. Catherine University. St. Paul, MN – Master of Arts – Organizational LeadershipUniversity of St. Thomas – St. Paul, MN – Bachelor of Social Work
Honors2017 – Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association – Schaller Award2016 – Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women - Inspire Award recipient2012 - Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault – AWARE Award recipient2011 – Dispute Resolution Center – “Kay Pranis” Restorative Justice Award recipient2005 – St. Paul Police Department – Chief’s Award recipient2003 – St. Paul Police Department - St. Paul Police Officer of the Year Awardee
Inver Grove Heights Police Department by the NumbersAuthorized Strength 2018 – 40 sworn officers 5 non-sworn FTE’s2018 Department Budget: $7,738,600Police Patrol Fleet Miles Traveled in 2017: 336,400Calls for Service: 2016: 25,583 2017: 32,319Part 1 Crime (Homicide, Sexual Assault, Robbery, Aggravated Assault. Burglary, Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft, Arson): 2016: 904 reported incidents 2017: 747 reported incidentsNotable Change in Part 1 Crime: Motor Vehicle Theft – 2016: 61 reported incidents 2017: 106 reported incidentsDWI Arrests: 2016: 68 2017: 157