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Council approves Harteau as new police chief

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: November 30, 2012 - 11:33 AM

The City Council voted unanimously Friday to approve Janeé Harteau as the city's next police chief.

Harteau, who previously served as assistant chief, takes over the reins from Tim Dolan, who left the force earlier this month. Harteau is the city's first female police chief, as well as the first openly gay officer in that position.

"I want to thank her for her willingness to step forward for what is absolutely the toughest job in the city," Mayor R.T. Rybak said at the Council vote on Friday. While praising her tenure on the force, Rybak also noted Harteau's 1996 complaint with the Human Rights Department.

"I think it's important to point out that we have a chief who's coming in who at one time had complaints about this department and how it treated women," Rybak said. "And I think that's an important value to be bringing to the table. Because in the top job, that top cop can also see when things aren't going right."

Harteau told the Council that "I won't let you down." Midway through her brief comments, Harteau became briefly emotional while recalling the Cold Spring officer who was gunned down last night.

 "It's a good day but its a tough day because we lost one of our own," Harteau said.

In a press conference following the vote, Harteau said some of her first priorities involve structural and personnel changes in the department. She also intends to review the department's "use of force" policies, which detail the levels and types of force officers can use in various situations.

As for the precedent of having a female, openly gay police chief, Harteau said it wasn't personally significant.

"For others it might be," Harteau said. "And if I can be a role model...I want people to see that you can achieve things despite some obstacles in your way. I stand on my merits on how I got here. I've been given tremendous opportunity."

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