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September 19, 2015

There are rumors that Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Chief Janeé Harteau will not be reappointed by Mayor Betsy Hodges once Chief Harteau’s term is up, December 31, 2015.

We are both surprised and troubled by even the remotest possibility that this type of devastating decision is even being considered.  Chief Harteau has done more than just work hard with great success:  she has put in place an excellent administrative team that has allowed the MPD to work closely with the community, establish a well earned reputation for the MPD, and achieve that contiinuing success.

Chief Harteau proposed to the Department of Justice that include Minneapolisa  in the six city monitoring program of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP).  The cities that do well will receive half a million dollars to continue the work in enabling improvements in po lice accountability by integrating  model practices to help prevent officer misconduct. 

I know a lot about this.  For five years I was on the PCRC (Police Community Relations Council), and served  much of that time as Co-Chair.  And now, answering Chief Harteau’s request, the DOJ granted OJP participation and placed me on the Steering Committee that is monitoring police activities.

We have sub-committees, including
--- Resources,
--- Communications,
--- Community Engagement,
--- Performance Monitoring,
--- Early Prevention, and
--- Police Conduct Review. 

So why would the Major risk all of that?  What’s the hidden agenda?  We know there are only four reasons to not renew a Chief’s contract, two that are OK, and two that would be disastrous for the city:
1. for cause
2. for retirement,
3. to politicize the police department, which would be a disaster, as it is for any city that tries to politcise their police department, or
4. for personal reasons best left to experts on “mean girls.”

We know we don’t live in a perfect cityor in a perfect world. We also know we are under siege from Mexican drug cartels supplying gangs with drugs and guns (see our blog entry of July 31, 2015). 

We need the kind of action that Chief Harteau has called for to helpl to make this a better city for all.  We believe that is the right direction.  So what are the politics for this move?  Who is whispering into the mayor’s ear to make a decision that would be a terrible reversal of what we say Minnenaplis is about?

Janeé Harteau, we repeat, has earned a second term, and we hope that the rumors of her departure are just that, rumors without foundation, for if these rumors become fact, it will set the MPD back for at least a decade.

We think it is nice that John Harrington is being mentioned as a successor, but we thing that John is serving well his mission as Chief of the Metropolitan Transit Police.  We are a big enough city and a big enough metro area, that we can utllize two or more who are fine chiefs.  We will watch the situation very closely.  Continue to read our observations on this Blog and in our in columns.

Stay tuned.

Posted Saturday, 9-19-15, 8:41 p.m.
Edited, Sunday, 9-20-15, 2:10 am.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at

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