Burnsville (MN) Police: A Great Legacy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Burnsville Police Department has a new chief. Tanya Schwartz is the only woman to ever hold the position.

Schwartz has been working at the Burnsville Police Department her entire policing career, but her historic appointment as the first female chief follows a series of trailblazing accomplishments.

“It’s still sort of sinking in,” Schwartz said.

Her picture will soon hang on the wall at police headquarters next to the six male chiefs who came before her.

“I’m proud of that, but I also worked really hard. It wasn’t just about my gender, it was about putting the hard work in and having people who were also helping me along the way,” Schwartz said.

Right now, 16 of the 75 [21%] sworn officers in Burnsville are women. Chief Schwartz would like to see more.

“We always want to try to be representative of our community and I think we can always get better at that,” Schwartz said.

She started as a cadet at the department 23 years ago but quickly moved up the ranks becoming the first female sergeant and captain in Burnsville history.

While she doesn’t see herself as a trailblazer, this historic appointment speaks for itself.

“If this helps other women and girls feel like, ‘Yeah, I can do that job,’ then I’m all for that,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz was officially be sworn in at the end of May, 2019.

Chief Tanya Schwartz

On the above video, retired Chief Mike Dumoulin talks about the early days of the department and the chief I followed, Ed Farrel. Yes, he was a great leader and model! What he probably forgot was that Minneapolis Police Inspector Ed Farrel was my recruit school training director and embedded in me that cops could be great.

While Mike talked about the public safety concept, City Manager Pat McInnis (I agree, the toughest guy I ever worked for!) and Burnsville’s national leadership in requiring a 4-year college degree for all applicants, non-military “blazer” uniforms, diverse hiring, and a place of great creativity. Foundations were laid there for my future idea for neighborhood (community-oriented) policing that we did in Madison.

Burnsville was where I could try out my ideas about leadership and professional policing that served me well for two decades of leading police in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sadly, I return to Burnsville for the funeral of a former Burnsville Chief, and young officer I hired decades ago, David Farrington..