City Hall update // Harteau sworn in as citys first female police chief

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December 17, 2012 // UPDATED 5:48 pm - December 27, 2012
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter

Minneapolis leaders heaped praise on Janeé Harteau before the City Council appointed the 25-year cop as the next police chief on a unanimous vote Nov. 30. 

“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. Also supporting Harteau were leaders from the business community, neighborhoods and government.  

 “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 1st 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 in November.  

“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. Janeé 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.”

Council Member Betsy Hodges files paperwork to run for mayor

Betsy Hodges, the City Councilwoman who represents Ward 13 in Southwest, has filed paperwork to run for mayor in 2013. 

Hodges said, however, that she would only run if Mayor R.T. Rybak decides not to seek re-election to a fourth term. 

“If the mayor runs again, I will support him,” she said. 

The second-term City Council member said that just because she filed paperwork does not mean she knows if Rybak will run again or not. The two are allies at City Hall. 

“It wasn’t meant to be a signal about what R.T. is going to do,” Hodges said. “I don’t have any information about what he’s going to do, but the law requires you put in your papers for a campaign committee when you’ve raised or spent $100.”

Hodges said Scott Dibble and Josie Johnson will serve as her campaign’s co-chairs. Dibble is a State Senator from Southwest’s District 61. Johnson is a human rights advocate. 

Rybak told the Star Tribune he will decide on running again by Jan. 1. 

City Council Member Gary Schiff (Ward 9), former City Council Member Jackie Cherryhomes and Minneapolis School Board member Hussein Samatar have also said they’re exploring runs as well. 

Reach Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com.