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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

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


Mona Dohman was appointed commissioner of the Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona DohmanDepartment 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 33 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

Cassandra O’Hern is deputy commissioner for the Department of Public Safety.
Assistant Commissioner Cassandra O'Hern

Prior to her appointment as deputy commissioner, O’Hern served as the department’s assistant commissioner since June of 2015 and the Director of Internal Affairs and Affirmative Action since 2005.  In that capacity she managed the department’s internal investigations and affirmative action and equal employment opportunity programs. 

Prior to joining the Department of Public Safety, O’Hern was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota.  As an Assistant Attorney General she defended the various state agencies in civil litigation, including employment and labor law matters.  She graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1993 and she also holds a Masters of Planning degree from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from the American University in Washington, D.C., double majoring in economics and international relations. 

Assistant Commissioner

Bob Hawkins is assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Photo of Assistant Commissioner Bob HawkinsSafety.

Prior to his appointment as assistant commissioner, Hawkins served as the Licensing and Testing Project Manager for the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).  In that capacity Hawkins coordinated all peace officer license testing functions, assisted with all facets of the licensing requirements and was responsible for coordinating the POST Board’s transition to computer based testing.

Prior to joining the POST Board, Hawkins served as Chief of the Burnsville Police Department.  He joined the department in 1988 and served as a patrol officer, canine handler, sergeant and captain before his promotion to chief in 2004.  Hawkins’s nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience also includes serving as a patrol officer in Eagan. 

Hawkins is a graduate from the University of St. Thomas with a master’s degree in Police Administration and also attained a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University with a focus in Criminal Justice.


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.  


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.