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About

What We Do

The Office of the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) oversees department staff, programming and initiatives. DPS is an enforcement, licensing and services agency that develops and operates programs in the areas of law enforcement, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, fire safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration, emergency management and public safety information. The department coordinates the functions and services of the state relating to the safety and convenience of its citizens (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 299A). 

The Office of Commissioner works in partnership with:

  • Local, state and federal elected officials and legislators
  • Local state and federal law enforcement and emergency response agencies
  • Public, private and non-profit associations representing public safety, law enforcement, emergency response, crime victims, etc.

Commissioner Dohman serves as chair for the following: 

  • Statewide Radio Board
  • Homeland Security Senior Advisory Committee
  • Criminal and Juvenile Justice Information Policy Group

Commissioner Dohman is affiliated with the following organizations:

  • Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers (AMEM)
  • FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA)
  • FBI National Academy Association (FBINAA)
  • Hennepin County Chief's of Police Association (HCCPA)
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA)
  • Metropolitan Emergency Managers Association (MEMA)
  • Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association (MCPA)
  • Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
  • Suburban Law Enforcement Association (SLEA)
  • Twin Cities Securities Partnership

Related Minnesota Statutes 

Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 299A

Commissioner

Mona Dohman was appointed commissioner of the Minnesota DepartmPublic Safety Commissioner Mona Dohmanent of Public Safety by Governor Dayton in January 2011.
 
Prior to her appointment, Dohman served 10 years as chief of the Maple Grove Police Department. She joined the department in 1984 and served as an investigator, patrol officer, sergeant and captain before her promotion to chief in 2001. Dohman’s nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience also includes serving as a patrol officer in Glencoe and Marshall.
 
Appointed chair of the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board by Governor Pawlenty in 2010, Dohman has worked with the legislative and executive branches to implement policies designed to improve and expand the role of law enforcement across a spectrum of issues.
 
Dohman is a past president of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association and the Hennepin County Chiefs of Police Association. She is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); Suburban Law Enforcement Association; Law Enforcement Memorial Association; and Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers.
 
Commissioner Dohman is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas with a master’s degree in Educational Administration with a focus in Police Leadership. Her other degrees include a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Metro State University, and an associate’s degree in Law Enforcement from Alexandria Technical College. Dohman also is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. 
 

Deputy Commissioner

Mary Ellison is deputy commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. In that capacity she has oversight responsibility for the departments’ 14 divisions, 1,900 employees and budget of $460 million per year. Deputy Commissioner Mary Ellison

Prior to her appointment as deputy commissioner, Ellison served as director of the Office of Justice Programs in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. In that capacity she was responsible for proposing policy for addressing the needs of victims of crime, reducing drug abuse, crime and violence in Minnesota and administering $55,000,000 in state and federal grants. 
 
Ellison's previous positions include assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, executive director of the Minnesota Crime Victims Reparations Board, executive director of a Child Sexual Abuse Evaluation Center and manager of prevention programs for the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning. She has served as a consultant for domestic abuse and sexual assault programs in Minnesota and has served on various boards and committees at the state and national levels. Her educational background includes a B.A. degree in psychology and a M.S. degree in rehabilitation counseling.
 

Assistant Commissioner

Mark Dunaski is assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department Assistant Commissioner Mark Dunaskiof Public Safety.

Prior to his appointment as assistant commissioner, Dunaski served as chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. In that capacity, he was responsible for leadership and management of the state’s 850-member law enforcement organization.

Dunaski joined the State Patrol in 1982 and served in a variety of positions prior to his appointment as chief in 2005. He has also served as the general chair of the State and Provincial Division of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) where he represented the interests of United States’ state police agencies, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Provincial Police of Canada.

Dunaski holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Administration and Master of Arts Degree in Leadership Studies. He currently is in the dissertation phase of his Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership. Dunaski is a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute. Prior to joining the Minnesota State Patrol, he served in the United States Air Force.

Staff 

The Office of the Commissioner currently has seven full-time staff working at the 445 Minnesota Street location. Those positions include the commissioner, deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner, legal counsel, legislative/government affairs director, executive aide and office support staff position. There are also 14 full-time division directors reporting to the commissioners of public safety.  

History 

DPS was created in 1969, per Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 299A.  The first commissioner was Wallace Hoglund in 1970.  For more information on the history of DPS, see the Commissioner's Office History Page. You will also find a chronological list of all present and past DPS commissioners on the History Page.