MINNEAPOLIS - Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau has been the top cop in Minneapolis for about 12 weeks, but she is also leading a different forum.
For the past six years Harteau has traded her badge for the professor's podium. She teaches future law enforcement officers at St. Mary's University once a week, about how to be an officer in the ever changing demographics of our community.
"Little girls don't generally grow up to want to be police officers, let alone police chiefs, but I knew I wanted to play an active role of some sort in society," Harteau said Tuesday night.
Active she has been. Harteau was on the scene at a child abduction weeks ago, not shying away from being the head of the department.
"In policing that is what we deal with. We deal with people that are like us and then not like us and as our community gets more diverse we need officers that are more diverse, not just in ethnicity but in their way of thinking," Harteau said of her class.
Changing is something Harteau is also trying to do back at the department, revamping it from the inside out to be better and to gain the public's trust
"We are not broken, but we haven't achieved our full potential so having the ability to grow and to do things differently than in the past is always a challenge. Two things cops don't like, the way things are and change. How do you achieve them?," Harteau said.
Harteau has the passion to want to find out. She also has 26 years of on the street experience to lend a hand.
Perhaps it is that combination, padded with humility and a passion for learning that she doesn't just preach, but practices that will change policing in Minneapolis.
"I am incredibly humbled and thrilled to be the chief. No one is more surprised than me to be in this role, but we have an amazing department and city and I can't think of a better place to be."
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