Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said Wednesday she will appoint Janeé Harteau to a second three-year term as the city’s police chief.
“Together we have made tremendous progress in improving public safety, public trust and transparency,” the chief said in a news release. “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.”
Since taking over the job in 2012, Harteau has been a popular speaker at law enforcement conventions and events around the county, building a national reputation as a chief eager to improve community relations and integrate new technology into the department.
The chief, who makes more than $150,000 a year, was appointed by former Mayor R.T. Rybak.
The announcement came after a week of intensifying rumors within the police ranks that the mayor would not reappoint Harteau and was actively seeking a replacement. The chief had told other officers that she had been courted by police departments in Texas and Oklahoma.
Harteau did not respond to multiple requests for comment Wednesday. A department spokesman said that the chief would not discuss her future with the department until she is confirmed by the City Council in mid-November.
Hodges acknowledged the rumors in her news release, saying she “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.”
Both leaders have previously denied any friction when rumors surfaced before, and Harteau has gained the support of the majority of the council.
Harteau and Hodges have publicly shared a goal of trying to rid the department of officers who abuse their authority or use excessive force, which has drawn skepticism from some rank-and-file officers. She has also tried to run the department more like a business, with strict measurements and goals.
Some cops are resistant to change, Harteau told the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis in a speech earlier this year. “For the first time in the history of our department, we have actual performance measurements, we have goal setting (and) they’re like, ‘Chief, we’re not the private sector.’ ”
Harteau’s reappointment drew a tepid response from police union officials.
“At least we know what we’re getting. She’s not new to the department,” said Lt. Bob Kroll, head of the Police Officers’ Federation of Minneapolis. “It’s a fairly new relationship and we don’t agree on everything, but she’s given us a seat at the table and there’s open communication.”
The uncertainty surrounding her future with the MPD forced Harteau to delay appointments to several high-level posts, Kroll said, including naming a replacement for former deputy chief Kris Arneson, who became the department’s second-in-command after Matt Clark left to take the top job at the University of Minnesota’s police force.
Kroll said he hoped Harteau would make increasing the department’s size a top priority.
While the department’s authorized strength is 860 police officers, union officials say that with a wave of retirements, and two classes of not-quite-street-ready rookie cops, the actual number on the force is closer to 800.
Libor Jany • 612-673-4064 Twitter:@StribJany