Harteau Background: Contract and Recent Controversy

Police Chief Janee Harteau and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges in 2016. Photo: KSTP/File
Police Chief Janee Harteau and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges in 2016.

July 22, 2017 10:47 AM

On Friday, July 21, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau retired from her post with the city. 



Harteau was officially hired as Minneapolis police chief on Dec. 4, 2012. 

Her initial contract, dated Nov. 30, 2012, states that Harteau reports directly to the mayor. When the contract was approved, R.T. Rybak was the mayor. 

Harteau's salary started at $136,894. The contract outlines four different pay grade steps, which graduate with years of performance. The final step allows for $151,303. 

One of the terms of the salary is that it cannot exceed 110 percent of the governor's salary, which is currently $127,629. 

The severance portion of the contract specifies: "If you have not received notice from the City's Executive Committee, at least 3 months prior to the end of your final term, you shall receive, at the sole discretion of the executive commission, an additional 3 months of of severance pay or outplacement assistance in an amount equal to 3 months of severance pay." 

This was a three-year contract, starting from the beginning of the term on Jan. 2, 2013. KSTP is working to confirm the details of her latest contract, but city documents show that effective July 1, 2016, the chief of police's starting salary was $159,293, with seven further increments topping out at $188,832. 

Harteau is in the middle of her second term and resigned with 18 months remaining. 

Just 45 minutes after her resignation announcement, Minnepolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced her nomination of Medaria Arradondo as the new police chief, which would be a promotion from his role as assistant police chief.

Weeks Leading Up to Resignation

The city's police department has been under scrutiny in the past few months, and two shootings in recent weeks have stirred tension in the community.

On Saturday, July 8, a Minneapolis police officer responding to a burglary alarm shot two dogs in the backyard of a North Minneapolis home. The dogs survived but suffered serious injuries. The family released the security footage, showing the officer shooting the dogs. 

The following day, the police department issued a statement, saying it was investigating the incident and reviewing the officer's body cam video.

Harteau issued a statement on July 10

I've watched the video, and as someone whose family has included dogs most of my life, I can say that it was difficult to watch. This was an outcome that no one wanted. I've asked for an Internal Affairs use of force review. We are reaching out to the family to help them with the veterinary care bills to ensure that both dogs are adequately taken care of.

To help us prevent similar outcomes in the future, we will be implementing updated mandatory training specifically for officers identifying effective tools and tactical strategies with police and dog encounters. We want both our officers and all our community members to be safe.

Then, on the night of Saturday, July 15, Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor shot and killed 40-year-old Justine Damond after Damond had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in progress in the alleyway behind her southwest Minneapolis home.

Damond had initially called 911 at 11:27 p.m. that Saturday, and again at 11:35 p.m. when she hadn't noticed a response from the department.

At 11:39 p.m., according to the detail incident report, the responding police squad issued a Code 4, which meant that no assistance was needed. About that time, as Noor's partner, Matthew Harrity, later told state investigators, the officers had been watching as a bike passed in front of their squad on West 51st Street when they were startled by a "loud bang" on the driver's side of the vehicle.  

Noor, seated in the passenger seat, fired a shot through the open driver's side window, fatally striking Damond in the abdomen. 

In the days following the shooting, the police department was represented publicly by Arradondo, who said Harteau was on a personal leave of absence. Harteau said she had been backpacking in the mountains, the remoteness of which made her immediate return difficult after the shooting. At a news conference Thursday, Harteau said she had been in "constant communication" with MPD staff during that time.

"I might not have been here physically for a few days," she said. "But I'm always the chief."

At the same news conference, Harteau said, "Justine didn't have to die. Based on the information that has been publicly released by the BCA, this should not have happened.

The following day, Harteau tendered her resignation at Hodges' request. 


Theresa Malloy

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