MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis residents packed city council chambers Wednesday to speak out about the reappointment of Police Chief Janeé Harteau.
Statements from people were mixed at the public hearing that was a continuation from last week’s meeting.
Some felt Harteau needs more time to continue transforming the department.
Others say her leadership has led to bad community-police relations, and she should not be reappointed.
Some got right to the point. They believe Harteau is making changes within MPD, and is helping heal the divide between community and police.
Others were not so sure. They want the chief gone, citing misconduct of officers and a department that cannot relate to the people it serves.
“I feel she represents certain parts of the city, but not my part,” a Minneapolis resident said.
Harteau listened as the people she took an oath to serve and protect gave their take on how well she has done her job.
“I think there’s an openness with this chief that is rare, not only among police chiefs but among public officials in general,” a resident who identified himself as Mr. Christianson said.
Most were in favor of giving Harteau another three years in office. Members of the Minnesota chapter of the National Black Police Officers Association say change would hurt the department and the city.
“By reappointing Chief Harteau, you would grant her that valuable time needed to address the challenges that exist and build upon the great work so many in the community and MPD are actively engaged in to strengthen the city of Minneapolis,” an NBPOA representative said.
MPD has been under fire in recent months. An increase in violent crime across the city, and claims of racism and misconduct within the department, has some calling for her job.
“The first Sunday this year, six people were shot in north Minneapolis in one day,” resident Phillip Murphy said. “How do we stop it? Well, I don’t know, but I’ll share that my opinion is this current administration is failing.”
But Mayor Betsy Hodges says Harteau has what it takes to bring a divided Minneapolis together.
“That willingness and that openness to ask the question, ‘How can we be better?’ Even in the most difficult circumstances, even in the things that are most challenging, her willingness to ask that question is the hallmark of the kind of chief we need in the 21st century,” Hodges said.
After hearing from the public, the committee unanimously approved Harteau’s reappointment.
The full city council is expected to formally approve it Friday.