Greg Hestness

Board Chair

Board Position: Board Chair

Career/Position outside of MN CIT:  Retired, 40 years of police work.  28 years Minneapolis Police, last 9 as Deputy Chief, 12 years University of Minnesota Public Safety Assistant Vice President/Chief of Police.

Why you agreed to serve on the Board for MN CIT:  I had involvement with police responding to mental health crises my entire 40 years of policing.  In my patrol officer years I worked primarily in the Whittier and Phillips neighborhoods of south Minneapolis.  They were home to many group homes and programs, so response to mental health crises was frequent.  While Deputy Chief of Services, MPD shot and killed three people in psychotic episodes in 11 months.  I was tasked by Chief Olson with examining our practices and looking for better strategies.  We found CIT in Memphis and I became the sponsor, with a lot of help, in establishing a CIT program in Minneapolis and Minnesota.  While at UMPD our officers frequently responded to students in crisis.  Additionally, the U as a huge public institution is a destination for the homeless who often have MI/CD struggles.  We brought CIT to campus.  Additionally, my wife was a Hennepin County Social Worker with a mental health case load for 34 years.  I have also been on the board of TASKS Unlimited, for ten years, providing services since 1970 to people with chronic and severe mental health illnesses.  My son in law is a psychiatrist at the State Hospital in St. Peter.  As a retiree with this background I wanted to serve both police officers and persons with mental illnesses in a meaningful way.

Your vision for MN CIT: That all Minnesota police officers are as prepared as they can possibly be to respond difficult mental health emergencies.  Police officers are often the last resort to help people in crisis.  I want officers to be prepared to recognize and respond to effectively to people in crisis to the maximum degree possible.  I want these people to get the help they need.  I do not want officers to have to make a life changing deadly force decision that better training or earlier intervention may have avoided.

Law enforcement experience:  28 years MPD:  Patrol officer, Sergeant: Family Violence and Robbery/Homicide Investigations, Patrol Supervisor Street Crimes Division, Supervisor Repeat Offender Program, Executive Officer Patrol Bureau, Lieutenant: Research and Development, 10 years SWAT Team Officer to Commander, Inspector 5th Precinct, Deputy Chief of Patrol 5 years, and Deputy Chief of Services 4 years.

12 years University of Minnesota:  Assistant Vice President for Public Safety/Police Chief.  Police and 911 Operations on the TC Campus.  Emergency Management and Central Security Operations System-wide (including Duluth, Morris, Rochester, Crookston, Research Outreach Stations state wide).

What’s your favorite quote, philosophy, or encouragement?  My sister in law’s grandfather in Crosby had served as an enlisted man in WWI and an officer in WWII.  He went on to be the Superintendent of the Crosby-Ironton School district.  When we visited him at his home on Serpent Lake in Crosby he always said grace before the meal.  He ended grace reminding us to be “grateful for the privilege of service”.   I believe that is the great reward of police work, CIT, and board service.