Hodges will reappoint Harteau as police chief

Police Chief Janeé Harteau. File photo

Mayor Betsy Hodges said she plans to renominate Police Chief Janeé Harteau to lead the Minneapolis Police Department for a second term in a statement released Wednesday.

“I had planned to announce my nominations of department heads later this fall, but due to speculation regarding Police Chief Janeé Harteau, I am announcing today that I will forward her name to the Executive Committee for renomination, and that Chief Harteau has accepted,” Hodges said. “The Chief’s vision for the department and the community is strong, and we share the goal of transforming public safety for the 21st century for the benefit of our City. I thank the Chief for her willingness to continue serving; her leadership is important in moving this work forward. I am grateful that she has accepted.”

There had been chatter within City Hall that Hodges was considering not reappointing the chief.

Harteau also released a statement following the mayor’s announcement: “I am pleased and honored by Mayor Hodges’ decision in allowing me to continue our partnership and hope to have my appointment confirmed by the Council. Together we have made tremendous progress in improving public safety, public trust and transparency.  I am proud to have the opportunity to continue to lead such a professional and committed department and I am excited to see how we will build upon our recent successes.” 

The full Council will vote on the chief’s reappoinment later this fall. 

Former Mayor R.T. Rybak first nominated Harteau for a three-year term in 2012 after Tim Dolan announced retirement plans.

Harteau broke a lot of ground when she was sworn in as police chief in December 2012. She’s the city’s first female police chief and also the first openly gay and Native American person to lead the MPD.

As chief she’s focused on a plan called MPD 2.0, which is designed to make the department more transparent and encourage officers to get out of their squad cars more often to engage with residents face-to-face. 

The police department has also unveiled a new website —  www.insidempd.com. It includes links to crime stats, crime prevention tips and information about the deparment’s new Cold Case Unit’s files. 

The MPD is also working on recommendations from the Office of Justice Program’s Diagnostic Center — a division within the Department of Justice. The office recommended the department establish a new early intervention system to identify problematic behavior among officers, among other things. 

Harteau called for the Diagnostic Center to conduct an independent review of complaints filed against officers from 2008 to 2013 and come up recommendations to move forward with reforms.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said he congratulates Harteau on her reappointment.

“I look forward to working with her. We’ve had a fairly good working relationship,” he said. “There are things that we disagree on from time to time. Since I’ve taken over as president, she’s always given me a seat at the table on things and a voice.”

Kroll said he will continue to push for a larger police force. The department is authorized to have 860 officers, but currently has about 790 officers with 50 recruits in the Minneapolis Police Academy. The department has been challenged with keeping up with a wave of retirements.

 “We need to get up to our authorized strength and then we need to move beyond that,” he said, adding that given recent growth in the city he’d like to see the department have around 1,000 officers.