Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday that there was no signed agreement or “heads up” that Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators would handle high-profile cases for the Minneapolis Police Department before Chief Janeé Harteau made the plan public on Wednesday.
Dayton said he first learned of the plan on Monday evening and contacted Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman, whose office oversees the BCA. Dohman, who was also unaware of the proposed change, contacted Harteau on Tuesday to “express clearly that we had real concerns about this, that it hadn’t been handled properly.”
To his surprise, Harteau went ahead the plan Wednesday, saying that state investigators would take over criminal investigations of Minneapolis police officers whenever someone was killed or seriously injured as a result of police force, or when the chief deems it necessary.for other officer-involved incidents.
“The fact that this very public announcement was made without any forewarning to myself or Commissioner Dohman; consultation and just a heads up that they’re going to do this, announce it, is very inappropriate,” Dayton said in a Thursday news conference on an unrelated topic.
Harteau said earlier that Minneapolis police officials and the BCA had discussed collaborating since summer and had met as recently as last Friday. She maintained that at the end of that meeting, they agreed the new policy would be effective Monday.
Dayton said he was not criticizing the plan, but the way it was handled. He did note that when the BCA is called upon to handle criminal investigations for other departments, “It’s the exception to the norm.”
That, he said, “is a lot different from automatically referring every critical incident at the (Minneapolis) chief’s discretion to the BCA, with the assumption that the BCA’s just going to automatically take it.”
BCA protocol calls for the agency to assist in investigations of homicides or other serious crimes, terrorism, and some felonies if there are special circumstances. Internal affairs cases are investigated only with the signoff the BCA superintendent or assistant superintendent.
“I don’t see why Minneapolis felt the need to try to establish a special arrangement." he said. "The status quo was working. Minneapolis could have, according to the Commisioner, for the last number of years gone to the BCA under the same terms as any other city, received the same consideration as any other city and received the same assistance as any other city. You didn’t need to have some grand press announcement as though it’s a reform effort in Minneapolis. I’ve really got to question why it was handled the way it was.”
Dayton had called the news conference to tout the news that a Canadian heating and ventilation company will open a $2 million design center in Maple Grove, lured in part by a $700,000 grant by the Minnesota Investment Fund. The $30 million fund is designed to help Minnesota compete with other states and nations for manufacturing and high-tech jobs.
Winnipeg-based Price Industries expects to employ 40 engineering and technical workers at the facility, which will serve as its U.S. headquarters. Senior Vice President Bruce Dorey said he expects 90 percent of the workers to come from Minnesota. Dorey said the company was made grant offers by other states, some of them larger, but chose Minnesota in part because of its highly skilled workforce.
Dayton traveled to the company’s headquarters in Winnepeg this summer to woo the company to Minnesota.
Price expects to begin hiring in February.
Dayton also was questioned about the recent departure of April Todd-Malmlov, who headed MNsure, the state health exchange that has been under fire for a series of glitches. Dayton repeatedly declined to say whether he had specifically requested her resignation.
Todd-Malmlov stepped down from the $136,000-a-year post during an emergency session of the MNsure board on Tuesday night. At that meeting the board named Scott Leitz, the state’s assistant commissioner of health care, as interim CEO while it conducts a national search for a new chief executive.
Dayton said he now will focus on what is needed to bring MNsure up to the standard Minnesotans expect.
“In hindsight I apologize to those Minnesotans who were seriously inconvenienced or distraught by the failure of MNsure,” he said. “It’s not acceptable and we’re going to do anything we can around-the-clock to correct that.”
Dayton said he remains confident that the program will reach its goals. “We’ll get to the point where it’s functioning very efficiently,” he said. “I don’t know when that will be.”
Pictured: Gov. Mark Dayton, Price Industries Executive Vice President Bruce Dorey and Department of Employment and Economic Development Commisioner Katie Clark Sieben.