EXCLUSIVE: Largest police association in Minnesota backs political newcomer in AG race

Jim Schultz, 36, is a father of three girls who lives in the west metro.

MPPOA executive director Brian Peters and Jim Schultz sit down for an interview with Liz Collin. (Alpha News)

In what’s considered an early endorsement in the race for attorney general, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association will back Jim Schultz. They made the endorsement official during a sit-down interview with Liz Collin.

Jim Schultz, 36, is a father of three girls who lives in the west metro. He grew up in the tiny town of South Haven, Minnesota in Wright County. Schultz attended the University of St. Thomas for seminary school before moving on and graduating from Harvard Law School.

We asked him about the significance of this endorsement.

“It’s a massive endorsement. The MPPOA is the largest and the oldest police organization in the state, to have their endorsement is incredibly valuable to the campaign. Also, on a personal level it is one of the great honors of my life. I grew up in a family where police officers were held in very high esteem,” Schultz said.

The executive director of MPPOA explained how four of the five candidates vying for the Republican nomination looked to the association for their endorsement. Brian Peters said Lynne Torgerson did not reach out to meet with the organization.

In 2018, MPPOA endorsed Debra Hilstrom, a Democrat, in the race. Political insiders had predicted the endorsement would go to Doug Wardlow, another Republican in the race, due to name recognition from his run in 2018. Wardlow came within four percentage points of Keith Ellison, who won the election.

Asked why MPPOA decided to endorse so early, Peters said this is an important race for law enforcement. He explained how the rush to judgment is taking a toll on Minnesota’s police.

“There are a lot of law enforcement officers in the state right now that are afraid to do their job — afraid of making a mistake then facing the potential of losing your job, being charged, usually you’re found guilty within 48 hours of an incident and that’s tough,” Peters said.

In his campaign video, Schultz called the push to defund and dismantle the police dangerous and stupid.

“I would have said we need responsible public safety policies,” he said looking back at that time.

“Tim Walz, Mayor Frey, they all sat on their hands while Minneapolis burned. What they should have done is calmed tension, not enflamed them as they often did. We can see the straight line from that period to the 100 murders in Minneapolis last year and the incredible crime we’ve seen throughout the metro. What we need is support for law enforcement, not the revolving door that we’ve seen,” Schultz said.

He went on to say that he did not believe justice was served in Kim Potter’s trial. Schultz believes Attorney General Ellison inflated the charges to fit a political agenda.

Peters said he understands there could come a day when Schultz would have to charge a police officer with a crime.

“What I told Jim is, ‘Jim, what I would want from your office is a fair, truthful process and officers don’t feel like they’re getting that right now,'” Peters said.

“People around the state are fed up. People are saying enough is enough of the recklessness in that office,” Schultz said.

MPPOA also hinted it’s possible an endorsement in the governor’s race could come before the convention in May.