Lopez, Stanek offer competing visions for Hennepin Sheriff Department


Last week, anthropologist David Zander, a research analyst with Council Asian Pacific, served as co-moderator. McFarlane and Zander interviewed Juan Lopez and Rich Stanek, candidates for Hennepin County Sheriff. The Conversations with Al McFarlane Public Policy Forum broadcast on Independent Public Radio (IPR) stations KFAI-90.3FM and 106.7FM, and, KMOJ-89.9FM is recorded live 6-8pm Thursdays at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, 1201 West Broadway, Minneapolis.

Last week, anthropologist David Zander, a research analyst with Council Asian Pacific, served as co-moderator. McFarlane and Zander interviewed Juan Lopez and Rich Stanek, candidates for Hennepin County Sheriff.

Forum sponsors include the Coalition of Black Churches and the African American Leadership Summit, Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium, the Confederation of Somali Communities of Minnesota, African Journalists Association, and the Grassroots Public Policy Forum. The Forum is free and open to the public.

The Conversations will Al McFarlane will air exclusively on KFAI Mondays at 11am beginning November. The final KMOJ broadcast of Conversations with Al McFarlane will be 9-12am Saturday, October 28.

Al McFarlane: Why do you want to be Sheriff?

Juan Lopez: Folks in our community should know who their candidates are, especially in such a critical position — the Hennepin County Sheriff position. It’s been a position that over the years, folks haven’t known much about. So part of my campaign is to bring attention to the Sheriff’s Office. It is a $69 million budget office. It’s got 800 employees.

By law, the sheriff is mandated to keep the jail, which is a facility where I worked eight- and-a-half years. And the second priority is to keep the waterways, which is about 60 miles of waterways throughout Hennepin County. So the reason I’m running is, I spent 10 years in that organization; I know the organization. I also worked briefly as a police officer in Bloomington [Minnesota] and I probably spent the last two-plus years working with high-risk juvenile offenders in our community.

But first and foremost, when I was five-years-old, my mom introduced me to our neighborhood beat cop. I grew up in Union City, New Jersey, which is a melting pot right across from New York City. When I met this individual, I knew that I was going to make law enforcement a career. Over the years, I’ve worked various positions. I’ve also owned my own business in Bloomington — Deli Supreme, a successful business. I’ve worked in the private sector — General Motors. I’ve managed an office in New York City — a payment center. I’m deeply committed to our community.

One of the things that I see right now is that there is a disconnection with law enforcement. I feel that my background, my experience working in the communities is going to be a way for us to connect with our communities. So, three of the reasons why I’m running:

1. I want the Sheriff’s office to become more community involved; we need to reach out to our communities, especially our communities that are looking to better themselves.

I feel that the Hennepin County Sheriff, the chief law enforcement officer of this county, should be a high-profile figure, should be out in the community, attending community events and civic events, which I will do.

2. I want to bring more accountability to the Sheriff’s Office. I think the taxpayers of Hennepin County should know where $69 million of their taxes go every year. I want to bring transparency to the Sheriff’s office.

3. I would like to see less politics in that position, because that is not a political position.

Rich Staneck: I’m a Minneapolis Police officer, captain and commander of the criminal investigations division. I’ve been a police officer in Minneapolis for 23 years. And I’ve risen up through the ranks of working patrol of precincts to investigations. As commander of the criminal investigations division, I supervise investigation of the criminal units like homicide and robbery and sexual assault, gangs and n

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