Without hesitation, Janeé Harteau

I’m very pleased to announce that I have named current Assistant Chief Janeé Harteau to serve as Minneapolis’ next chief of police beginning in 2013, following the retirement of Chief Tim Dolan at the end of 2012.

One of the most important choices a mayor can make is a police chief, and I came to this choice without hesitation. For many years, I have seen Janeé Harteau make our city safer, including during some of our toughest crises. She has succeeded at every step: on the street, at the downtown command and in our top administration.

She is a smart cop, a savvy administrator and a natural leader. She is the logical next chief, and she will be an exceptional one.

As she herself describes it, Janeé Harteau “grew up” in the Minneapolis Police Department, joining the force as an officer in 1987, when she was just 22 years old. She has worked on the street in north, south and downtown Minneapolis, and has served in the narcotics, organized crime and license investigation units, among others.

From 2006–2009, she led the 1st Precinct in downtown Minneapolis, where she helped start public/private partnerships that led to the very successful Downtown SafeZone Collaborative and Downtown Courtwatch program. In the same role, she also helped dramatically improve relations with the Somali community Cedar-Riverside and started the position of Somali Liaison Officer.

Chief Dolan named her deputy chief of the Patrol Bureau in 2009 and assistant chief in 2010.

She has served in community as well as in the Police Department, including on the boards of YouthLink, a nonprofit that serves homeless youth, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Downtown Improvement District and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.

I think it’s also important to point out that Janeé Harteau, who is of French Canadian and Native American background, will be the first woman to lead the Minneapolis Police Department, and one of only two women police chiefs of America’s big cities.

I will formally begin the process of nominating Assistant Chief Harteau as the next chief in January 2013, after Chief Dolan’s retirement becomes effective, at which time the City Council will begin the process of confirming the nomination.

Until then, Assistant Chief Harteau will continue to be part of Chief Dolan’s top command as they work together on a smooth transition. During this period, she will be reaching out and listening to our many internal and external partners and she sets her leadership priorities for continuing to improve public safety and public trust.

A final note about Chief Tim Dolan, who is taking a well-deserved retirement after 29 years as a Minneapolis police officer. He stepped in as chief in 2006 in the middle of a public-safety crisis and immediately got to work on a spearheading significant, multi-year decrease in crime. His success wasn’t an accident: we worked closely together for months and years on a series of smart strategies that engaged every community in our city and made every part of Minneapolis dramatically safer.

I’m especially proud of his innovative work in preventing youth violence, establishing effective public-safety partnerships with community, and boldly championing our fight against illegal guns.

Of course, Chief Dolan is not done: he has much good work left to do, but he deserves our deep thanks and gratitude for his years of exemplary public service and for making Minneapolis a much safer, stronger city.

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One Minneapolis, growing north

For Minneapolis to grow — and for us all to grow into One Minneapolis — North Minneapolis must grow.

That’s the message I delivered Wednesday at my annual State of the City speech, called “One Minneapolis, Growing North”, which I gave at the Capri Theater on West Broadway, the same place I gave my State of the City in 2006. The transformation of that beautiful facility into a regional destination is a great symbol of North Minneapolis.

It matters to all of us if North Minneapolis is growing: more people living in North Minneapolis means more property taxes that fund vital services that benefit everyone; more neighbors looking out for each other mean a safer city for everyone; and more customers for business mean more vibrant commercial corridors for everyone.

Unfortunately, North Minneapolis is not growing. While some parts of the city grew strongly in the last decade, North Minneapolis’ population declined by 11%.

So if we want to grow as a city — and we should grow into the city of a half-million residents that we were 60 years ago — the key will be North Minneapolis.

The recipe for growing North Minneapolis is straightforward: investing in safety, housing, jobs, connection and youth. We’ve made great progress on those fronts in recent years, and in order to meet the challenges we still face, I announced some exciting new initiatives.

Safety. Violent crime is down 45% in North Minneapolis since 2006. Some categories of crime are up this year, but we have fought too hard to make this city safer and will not be complacent.

Housing. We have helped stabilize North Minneapolis: we have helped prevent foreclosures, rehabbed hundreds of blighted properties, and attracted new homeowners to redeveloped homes. Foreclosures are dropping, down 50% last year compared to 2008.

I also announced plans for a new program called Green Homes North, a partnership with Minnesota Housing to build 100 new green, sustainable homes in North Minneapolis on vacant City-owned lots in the next five years, using local labor and locally-sourced green materials.

Jobs and economy. Minneapolis does more to train workers than almost any other city: since 2006, we have placed nearly 7,000 people in jobs, 40% of them from North Minneapolis. But our recovery is not evenly shared: while the City’s overall unemployment rate is now the lowest since the start of the recession, African American unemployment in Minneapolis stands at 20%.

We are doing more to become One Minneapolis: we are extending our RENEW program that has placed many people of color in green jobs, dramatically increasing the City’s goals for minority participation in City contracts, and beginning a new City internship program focused on college students of color.

Transit and reconnection. North Minneapolis must be better connected to the rest of our city and region. One step we are taking is to study a modern streetcar on West Broadway that will spur business vitality and new jobs on that valuable commercial corridor. And this year, we will see the construction of the Van White Bridge that will cross I-394 and connect Heritage Park to Lowry Hill.

Youth. Our STEP-UP summer jobs program has put nearly 12,000 young people in good jobs since 2006 — 45% of them from North Minneapolis — and we are keeping it up, employing 1,800 more youth this summer.

I also announced that nonprofit Emerge Community Development will soon break ground on a new, technology-focused, workforce center for youth and adults in the historic North Branch Library on Emerson Avenue.

My State of the City speech on Wednesday was the first since a tornado hit North Minneapolis last May 22, damaging 3,700 properties and killing two people. Amid the devastation, the tornado brought out the best in so many: thousands of neighbors doing remarkable things for each other, and thousands of volunteers pouring in to help. That was one North Minneapolis pulling together.

We are recovering: 2,800 repair permits have been issued, and I announced that we have secured a grant to reforest the neighborhood with flowering trees in honor of Rob McIntyre, a neighborhood resident who died while trying to help his neighbors clean up from the tornado.

North Minneapolis has made progress and while it still faces challenges, its greatest asset is its remarkably people. When they all pull in the same direction, they have done great things, and all of Minneapolis has benefitted. And there is much more to come.