"We have not reached our full potential," the new police chief told officers at first of two assemblies.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau had her key staff with her as she addressed the media on Tuesday. Behind her, from left: Cmdr. Lucy Gerold, Assistant Chief Matthew Clark, and Deputy Chiefs Eddie Frizell, Kristine Arneson and Travis Glampe.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau wanted to make sure Tuesday that those who work for her know there's a new chief with a new vision.
"We are certainly not a broken department, but we have not reached our full potential," Harteau said during a preview of what she planned to say to officers to lay out the tone of her administration.
Harteau, who took office in December, required the 840 sworn police officers to dress in uniform and attend one of two four-hour sessions Tuesday and Wednesday at which she unveiled her "MPD 2.0" plan. She wanted officers in uniform so they would "be reminded" that they are police, Harteau said.
Harteau, who was flanked by her management team, said she will push for officers to treat "every encounter" with the public as significant and to operate by one guiding principle: "Did my actions reflect how I would expect a family member to be treated?"
She said she will insist that officers address each other by rank and look "sharp" in their uniforms.
She said at a news conference that officers would be focused on how they serve as opposed to specific training. She added that she also intends to increase support for media and communications staff. "We have talented, professional officers, but that's not always what we see," Harteau said.
She wasn't specific but alluded to adding more staff and encouraging the news media to highlight police stories that "show the good side, the professional side."
Harteau noted that 64 percent of the department is over 40 and is heading toward retirement. Part of her job, she said, is "renewing and refreshing the next generation."
She didn't directly criticize her predecessor, Tim Dolan, who retired, but repeatedly talked about a new "vision," direction and tone for the department.
Asked how she would determine whether she's meeting her goals, Harteau said she would know through crime data, the degree of "public trust" and employee "engagement and morale."
Crime statistics released last month indicated that serious crime was up in the city for 2012, for the third consecutive year. But data showed other categories of crime decreasing. Overall, violent crime was at the second-lowest level since 1983 and only slightly higher than the recent low of 2011.
Asked for examples of where the department comes up short, Harteau said that partnerships were lacking in some parts of the city. She cited the need for an over-arching faith-based organization and better connection to social services and help for the mentally ill.
Asked whether she would seek to decrease police misconduct lawsuits as well as costly payouts, Harteau didn't offer a specific remedy, but said she would monitor the number of complaints, their validity and their outcomes.
Payments to victims of police misconduct in Minneapolis dropped to $814,093 last year, well below the $4.2 million paid out in 2011, city records show.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747 Twitter: @rochelleolson