Maplewood selects Paul Schnell as new police chief

Paul Schnell

City officials bypass Acting Chief Dave Kvam

At his last city council meeting June 24, retiring city manager Jim Antonen announced the city's new police chief. Current Hastings Police Chief Paul Schnell was chosen to fill the position, which has been temporarily occupied by Deputy Chief Dave Kvam since long-time Chief Dave Thomalla retired in December.

Schnell, 51, has been the Hastings chief of police since 2010, and has worked in the past with Carver County as a sheriff's deputy and St. Paul Police Department as a public information officer and sergeant.

He earned his bachelor's degree in social work from the University of St. Thomas and his master's degree in organizational leadership from St. Catherine University. He is certified in Minnesota as both a peace officer and social worker.

Atonen said that Schnell's philosophies and experiences in a variety of areas stood out in the interviews.

"I believe Chief Schnell will bring some diversity in a sense of philosophy," Antonen explained. "His work with St. Paul (Police Department) and a smaller metropolitan area like Hastings will be good. He's new blood."

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hastings has about 22,000 residents, while Maplewood has approximately 38,000.

Schnell said he is excited to be joining the Maplewood police force.

"I'm very honored to have been selected, especially given the competition," Schnell said. "I look forward to serving Maplewood and wearing their uniform for as long as they'll have me."

While Schnell was ultimately chosen for the position, Antonen stated that the other finalists, Acting Police Chief Dave Kvam and Commander Scott Gerlicher of the Minneapolis police force's Strategic Information and Crime Analysis Division, were excellent candidates as well.

"We had three very qualified finalists," Antonen said. "Any of them could do the job. They all had strengths in different areas, but Chief Schnell had several strengths where other candidates were strong in other areas."

Antonen said assistant city manager Chuck Ahl, who will take over for Antonen July 1, was included in the final interviews to provide "continuum" in the selection process.

Schnell will start late July or early August after passing physical and psychological exams, Antonen added. Schnell said the Hastings Police Department is currently "working out the final details" to choose his replacement.

Johanna Holub can be reached at or 651-748-7814.

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