Biard officially assumes role as new Fourth Precinct Inspector
By Kenzie O'Keefe | Editor
Aaron Biard's connection to the Northside is personal and professional. For the past year, the new Fourth Precinct Inspector has been the precinct’s daywatch lieutenant. He has lived on the Northside and has family members who still live here.
He says his time in the Fourth Precinct so far has been, “one of the most enjoyable assignments that I have had in 23 years in law enforcement.” Though the amount of people he supervises has now doubled, and he’ll have round the clock obligations, Biard says he won’t be reinventing the wheel now that he is the inspector. “We have seen the results over the last year that we’ve liked for the citizens. Violent crime is down. The morale of the officers is up. The goals we have set are working. I really wanted that continuity keep moving forward for the precinct,” he said.
He recognizes that he has big shoes to fill: “I follow in the footsteps of several well-respected inspectors. I am in agreement with their philosophies, and I will continue to attempt to carry that forward to the community as I know it was very popular – the community policing approach, being open and receptive. I basically want to keep that going is the intent here.”
He has particular admiration for his predecessor and current boss Mike Kjos. “He’s a genuine, caring human being, and that’s what I want to emulate. ...Frankly that’s why I’m comfortable taking this position because of the mentorship and the relationship and seeing how he conducts himself and [did] the job over the last year."
He says his priorities for the precinct are aligned with those of the department and city officials: to achieve public safety. He says this means providing police services to the citizens of North Minneapolis while building community trust: "We want to be seen as legitimate partners in the community. That leads to better strategies for fighting crime and partnering with the citizens to help keep their neighborhoods safe." It also means keeping morale up amongst the officers on his team. “With good morale comes better service I believe to the citizens,” he said.
He says tension between police and citizens is less fraught in the Fourth Precinct than the media might make you believe. “That’s the beautiful thing about working here and that’s why I love this precinct and I love the Northside. I have so many great relationships with people and community members and citizens. It’s rarely adversarial,” he said, stressing that hard work building bridges with community while supporting and supervising his officers makes this possible.
When he’s not serving the Northside in uniform, Biard lives outside the city with his family and is a devoted sports coach for his four kids. “I’ve found that when I was in the city, I was a police officer 24 hours a day. You become irritable, and I don’t think you provide as good customer service if you’re constantly feeling like you’re at work. So I do have some separation by design.”