John Harrington (American politician)

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John Harrington
Member of the Minnesota Senate
from the 67th district
In office
January 4, 2011 – September 3, 2012
Preceded byMee Moua
Succeeded byFoung Hawj
Personal details
Chicago, Illinois
Political partyDemocratic–Farmer–Labor
ResidenceSaint Paul, Minnesota
Alma materDartmouth College
College of St. Thomas
OccupationTeacher, legislator, former police chief

John Mark Harrington (born 1956) is the current Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for the U.S. State of Minnesota, appointed by Governor Tim Walz, he has served since January 2019. Harrington previously served as Chief of the Saint Paul Police Department (2004-2010) and Chief of the Metro Transit Police (2012-2019) in Minneapolis–Saint Paul. Additionally, Harrington is a former member of the Minnesota Senate who represented District 67, which includes portions of the city of Saint Paul in Ramsey County. A Democrat, he is a teacher and manager at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul.


Early life, education and career

John Harrington grew up in Chicago until he finished high school at De La Salle Institute. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he majored in Far East Religion and minored in Chinese. He earned a master's degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He also graduated from the FBI National Academy, the National Executive Institute, and the Harvard Senior Management Institute.[1] John began his police career in 1977 at the Saint Paul Police Department, working his way up the chain of command from patrol officer. He was selected Chief of Police in 2004 and served in that role until 2010. As Chief of Police, he addressed some of Saint Paul’s most difficult problems resulting in numerous successes, including the development of innovative programs that have greatly reduced domestic violence and gang involvement. He also increased the diversity of the police department by 40% and worked with the private sector to increase police resources.[2][3]

State Senate

Harrington was first elected to the Senate in 2010, running after Senator Mee Moua decided not to seek re-election. Prior to winning the November 2010 general election, he won an August 2010 primary election against eight challengers. He was a member of the Education, the Judiciary and Public Safety, and the Local Government and Elections committees. In addition, he was appointed to the Senate Ethics Committee and Redistricting Committee. His special legislative concerns included public safety, education, and employment.[1][4] Harrington vacated his seat weeks before the November 2012 election and was named Chief of the Metro Transit Police.[5]

Metro Transit

In September 2012, Harrington was sworn in as Chief of Metro Transit Police in Minneapolis–Saint Paul.[6][7]

St. Paul Police Department

Harrington was a member of the Saint Paul Police Department from 1977 to 2010, serving as the Department's police chief from 2004 to 2010.[1][8]

Ujamaa Place

After retiring from the Saint Paul Police Department, Harrington became the President and CEO of Ujamaa Place, a nonprofit organization located in Saint Paul that serves African American men who are economically disadvantaged and have experienced repeated cycles of failure.[9] As CEO, his name recognition has helped the fledgling organization reach a major milestone by raising over one million dollars.[10] Harrington stepped down as CEO in 2012 and continues to serve as chair of the organization's board.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Legislator Record - Harrington, John M". Minnesota Legislators Past & Present. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  2. ^ "Legislator Record - Harrington, John M". Minnesota Legislators Past & Present. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  3. ^ Chao Xiong (November 15, 2012). "Ex-St. Paul police chief lauded for diversity work". Star Tribune.
  4. ^ "Legislator Record - Harrington, John M". Minnesota Legislators Past & Present. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  5. ^ "State Sen.-elect Foung Hawj is still waiting to be seated". Pioneer Press. 28 November 2012.
  6. ^ Doyle, Pat (August 27, 2012). "Harrington to lead transit police". Star Tribune.
  7. ^ a b "Meet the Chief: John Harrington". Metro Transit. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  8. ^ "John Harrington". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Chao Xiong (December 6, 2011). "Place for a second chance marks its first anniversary". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on September 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-08.

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