Minneapolis Police chief outlines new department direction, expects increased professionalism and transparency

Two months after swearing in, Minneapolis police Chief Janeé Harteau has a new vision for her department.

Last week Harteau unveiled “MPD 2.0,” her initiative to create more transparency, professionalism and accountability in the city’s police force.

Harteau required all MPD staff to attend a meeting early last week to introduce her mission to the department.

During the meetings, she told officers and civilian personnel she expects to see staff meet her higher standards, Sgt. Steve McCarty said.

“We’re just trying to change the image of our police department,” he said. “Even though there was nothing grossly wrong about it before.”

Internally, Harteau will insist officers address each other by rank and dress well to show more professionalism, McCarty said. She also expects officers to walk the streets while on patrol and actively engage with community members.

These new standards are meant to encourage officers to develop better relationships with residents, McCarty said.

“Police officers have done these things in the past,” he said. “But this plan is a resurgence of it.”

In a 2003 report, the U.S. Department of Justice said community policing efforts can have a major impact on police and civilians, like increased public confidence in police and improved public safety.

Though she has made her new standards clear, Harteau has not revealed many specifics on new enforcement or partnership strategies, crime prevention specialist Nick Juarez said.

“This was just the first meeting,” he said. “We haven’t had any meetings with the front line at the division level or precinct level.”

McCarty added that in his tenure, a chief had never launched a plan of this magnitude.

The University of Minnesota Police Department is just beginning to evaluate Harteau’s plan, University police Chief Greg Hestness said.

It’s critical for police to constantly re-evaluate how they operate, he said, because ignoring seemingly small issues can hurt a department’s reputation with its community.

“The more you ignore the small things, the less respect people have for their community,” he said. “Then, they can sort of snowball into serious things.”

Hestness said when he became chief in 2004, the department didn’t have a great reputation with some students because officers didn’t really interact with them.

In order to increase the visibility of University police, Hestness said he added more officers to the staff and set up partnerships with various student groups, like the Minnesota Student Association.

As a result, Hestness said he thinks the reputation of University police has improved.

Hestness said he likes the direction Harteau is taking her department.

“I think she’s made some really good choices,” he said. “She’s surrounded herself with people who have high credibility, and I’m pleased with what I see.”

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