November 28, 2012 by Sarah M
By Nick Halter
If today’s hearing on the appointment of Janeé Harteau as the next Minneapolis police chief was any indication, the community is a big fan of the city’s future top cop.
“I think we all know in these public sector jobs, including police chief, it’s all about partnerships and community, and Janeé just so gets that, and I see it every day,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman.
Dorfman was one of two-dozen people who testified in support of Harteau, a Minneapolis cop of 25 years. Also supporting Harteau were leaders from the business community, neighborhoods and government.
The city’s Public Safety, Health and Civil Rights Committee approved Harteau’s appointment on a 6-0 vote. The full City Council will make her appointment official on Friday.
“Are we lucky or what?” said Council Member Diane Hofstede (Ward 3). “In the city of Minneapolis there is nothing more important than the job that you’re doing, and nothing more important than the decision we’ll be doing in confirming your appointment.”
Harteau is the former inspector of the city’s First Precinct, which encompasses downtown. She spent the last couple years as assistant chief in preparation to take over as Police Chief for Tim Dolan, who retired earlier this month.
“By taking the safety of downtown so seriously, you’ve won the respect of the business community,” said Sam Grabarski, former President and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council.
Harteau will become the city’s first female police chief, the first openly gay police chief, and the first Native American police chief.
“I just want to really remark on the courage it took women to choose this profession and to me, that is one of the remarkable things we’re acting on today and I can only imagine some of the things people went through,” said City Council President Barb Johnson.
Several neighbors of the Cedar-Riverside area spoke highly of Harteau’s help in dealing with crime in their community.
“One of the greatest things about her is that some people will tell you something and not follow through. Janee has always followed through on everything she has told our community that she is going to do,” said Lynn Johnson, a safety volunteer in the Riverside Park area. “I have seen her grow and she has actually brought our community together to solve a lot of issues we’ve had in the past.”
Harteau said the praise meant a lot to her, but also signified that she has a lot of partners who will help her in her new role.
“All I can say is wow,” Harteau said. “For me it was a little awkward, frankly, to hear a lot the comments, but also very comforting, and I take comfort in the fact that those partnerships will continue in my role as chief, and I only see them growing.”