St Paul Police Chief Candidate Colleen Luna

By Grace Kelly


Now an interview cannot review the quality of internal police management, however it does display one of the skills that the step up to chief does require – speaking to the public. I feel that in this interview, the speaking of Colleen Luna sparkles! The proof is in the videos later on in this article. So my question immediately had to be, “Why had she not come out more publicly before?” Colleen said that likes her privacy, especially with family, which I totally understand. She also likes not being in the “mudslinging” of politics. However, I did push on the questioning of this, for I think people like Sheriff Fletcher have made mudslinging an art, and his target is frequently the St Paul police department. So Colleen’s answer to a long question summarized as “Can you play that public role?” was


“Yes, I will be public in the sense that I would be the leader of this great department. I believe that as Chief you are the face of the department. You need to lead in good and bad times. I need to be public in what I believe and stand for. I must be clear in my messages and those messages must be open for all to hear. I do remain private in my personal life. I believe that my family life should remain private unless they choose to be public. I also recharge during quiet family moments. “

So with strong similar backgrounds, the choices between St Paul candidates may come to choices of management style. Colleen describes her management style this way:


“A little about me… I bring a strong participative leadership style with an orientation toward: recognition and positive exploitation of the strengths and abilities of this police department’s personnel, proactive problem solving through partnerships, and an appropriate trust-forging transparency in decision-making and community involvement.”

Now, while we are all pretending that women and men have the same access to economic opportunities and social fairness, one quick test of a woman and man saying the same “colorful” words would demonstrate that is not the case. Colleen Luna is definitely a leader in the police area, renowned for the macho ethic. So one of the ways that she describes herself is “stubborn”, which by her description could also fit the word “strong”:


“I define stubborn to be determined, resolved, perseverant, persistent, and firm. I have a very strong set of values and standards which I hold myself to. I am persistent in finding the truth and seeking answers. I will persevere to find better ways to improve what we do and seek answers to why we do it. I am committed to making a difference and leaving things better than I found them.” (all quotes are from email from Colleen Luna)

In comparing the answers of various assistant chiefs and commanders, others describe a style more consistent with listening and collaboration. So there may be choices here in management style. The videos only represents a sampling of the great answers that I received: Since Colleen has not yet embraced the opportunities of a public internet presence, I asked her to fill in some of background. She graciously provided this information:


Community Organizations/Community Partnerships

  • Dispute Resolution Center – past board and chair – will be rejoining board at next election
  • YWCA – Jr. Police Academy and Impact programs
  • District 7 & 8 – Shop with Cops
  • Midway Chamber of Commerce
  • Southern Police Institute – graduate, board member and past chair, current member
  • MAWP – Minnesota Association of Women Police – Officer of the Year
  • International Association for Identification – crime lab related
  • VIPI – Victim services – past board member
  • Neighborhood House – Partner with new storefront in district – shared space and services
  • GABA – Grand Ave Business Association
  • Summit U Planning Council
  • GOD Squad
  • YIT – Youth in Transition
  • St Paul Youth Services – Ambassador for Youth Academy – Damon Drake
  • Rondo Library
  • Somali council- west district
  • Numerous west district block clubs including Marshall/ Milton, Como, Lakeview, grid 48, Marydale apartments, Merriam park, Thomas/Dale, Lex Hamline
  • District Councils: District 6, District 7, Summit U, District 10 Como Community, Hamline Midway Coalition, St Anthony Park Community, Union Park, Mac Groveland, Highland, and Summit Hill Assn.
  • Personal

  • Cerenity Nursing Home
  • Breast Cancer Walk (3day)
  • PTA past board chair
  • Coach
  • St Paul Police History Book Chair
  • SPI International Convention Host

  • Currently, St Paul is in the process of choosing a new police chief. The St Paul police force develops great candidates from within the force, so promotion to police chief from within the force has been the standard. This policy is strongly supported by the community. This is a series of continuing articles interviewing those candidates. Like previous candidates, Colleen Luna is an outstanding candidate in the St Paul Police style. Like the other members of the St Paul police force, Colleen Luna endorses community-partnered policing. Colleen says “Community is not just a place; it is a feeling, a connection, a relationship.” In the same tradition of involvement with youth, Colleen Luna was active in “Shop with cops“, that helps children participate in the holiday tradition of giving. Colleen also had a broad range of assignments and a long list of community involvement projects, described more in detail later.

    Police History

  • 1984 – Police officer, Narcotic officer
  • 1989 – Crime lab
  • 1994 – Sergeant – Crime lab
  • 1998 – Lieutenant/Commander – Records and Evidence Section (Records,Property room, Systems and Crime lab)
  • 2001 – Senior Commander – Central District
  • 2002 – Senior Commander– Internal Integrity Assurance Unit (Internal Affairs, Inspection, and Backgrounds,)
  • 2003 — Acting Assistant Chief (6 months) then return to above
  • 2004 — Senior Commander – Homicide, Property Room and Crime Lab
  • 2005 – Watch Commander 2007 – to current — West District
  • Special note: The St Paul police cars do carry shotguns, as described in the interview. If that worries you about the breadth of the impact, then you should know the shotguns are loaded with slugs not scattershot.

    Comments are closed.