Mpls. police chief reappointed as department begins community trust project

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The Minneapolis City Council gave Janeé Harteau their full support Friday morning when the members decided to officially reappoint her as chief of police.

KSTP reports it was a unanimous decision.

This comes after the Committee of the Whole voted to reappoint her for another three-year-term on Wednesday.

Harteau has been with the Minneapolis Police Department for 30 years and was appointed chief in 2012 by former Mayor R.T. Rybak. She became the first female and openly gay leader of Minnesota's largest police force.

Many people, including Mayor Betsy Hodges and the Star Tribune’s editorial board, have come out in support of Harteau, saying she deserves more time to continue implementing what she started.

But others have criticized her for the speed at which things are changing. Harteau has been in the spotlight lately for police-community relations and trust issues following some high-profile incidents in the city, including police fatally shooting Jamar Clark and the subsequent demonstrations at the Fourth Precinct in north Minneapolis.

The City Council on Friday also confirmed nominees for other city departments, including City Attorney Susan Segal, Fire Chief John Fruetel, and Director of Civil Rights Velma Korbel.

In en email statement, Hodges called them all "extraordinary leaders."

“Every day I come to work with three goals: grow the city, run it well, and eliminate disparities between white people and people of color," she said. "They will play a critical role in transforming Minneapolis and closing the gaps that divide our communities."

Year-long training

Harteau will also be leading the department in a year-long community training project.

Minneapolis is one of six cities in the country chosen for the Department of Justice's National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. The project aims to strengthen the relationship between the criminal justice system and the communities it serves.

The initiative's website says it will focus on reconciling tensions between police and communities as well as address racial disparities and racism. It will look into how police interact with the public and how that impacts people's perceptions of law enforcement.

The training will study how those relationships impact community members' willingness to obey the law.

According to the police department's Facebook post, the training is modeled after curriculum that Chicago police officers have been getting for the past four years.

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All 850 Minneapolis police officers will go through three days of training, WCCO reports.

The Trust and Justice initiative was created in response to the troubles in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, the Department of Justice announced later that year.

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