Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chief Harteau's Speech

A few weeks ago, Janee Harteau was sworn in as the new Police Chief for the City of Minneapolis.  In Chief Harteau's inaugural speech she presented her core values and a clear vision for teh department in the years ahead. As I listened, I wished more people could have heard it, so I asked her for the text.  She sent it to me, and I have posted it below.

Much of what she said inspires hope for an even better, more community-centered police department.  I especially appreciated the lens she said she expects all MPD officers to use to judge their performance: "Did my actions reflect how I would want a member of my family to be treated?"

I think that's a great standard for all of us in government, including but certainly not limited to police officers, to hold ourselves to.  I'm glad that the Chief has laid it out so clearly and emphatically, for the public to hear and understand that this is the police department's aspiration.

Here's the whole text:

Being the police chief is an incredible honor and a tremendous responsibility.  I understand how important the role a professional police department is in a metropolitan city.  I believe, we as police officers should be viewed as "community leaders."

So... what kind of chief will I be?

I believe in top down accountability.  I believe in leading from the front and leading by example.  I will always stand up and do what I believe is right--even when I stand alone.

It has been said that "CHANGE IS AUTOMATIC... true, but… PROGRESS is NOT."  How do we make progress?
My vision for our police department:  I call it MPD 2.0
"SERVICE" will be an area of focus for me moving forward.  We must continue to do great things - but equally important - we must use greatness while doing them.

Doing the right things versus doing things right.  I believe we must become a values driven department grounded in both professionalism and service.  It must and WILL begin with me.

So what is the road to getting there?

I hold many values but the 3 key/core values I have been highlighting with the media and community I bring as your chief and will ask of the members of the MPD are: Commitment, Integrity and Transparency.

1.  Commitment: I am committed to my role and to each of you--the members of the MPD and the Mpls community.  I will never ask more of you than I ask of myself.  I will give you my best each day – I hope it will be enough.   I am not perfect (as many of you here know!), I have and will continue to make mistakes, but I will continue to learn from them.  As demonstrated today and in my public hearing there are high expectations for me – and you should.  Ironically, I get told I have high expectations for others – and I do.  I have high expectations for every member of the MPD--because I know that each of you are capable. 

I believe that most people in the world are honest and good.  Most people will do what is asked and expected of them.  If we expect the worst that is what we will get and all that we will see.  If we ask and expect greatness, that is what we will get and what we will see.

As a department we should be continually improving, continually growing, and always in search of excellence.  And critically important: daily living up to our commitment and our oath of office.

Commitment will become a department core value – it MUST and will begin with me.

2.  Integrity: we must adhere to our moral character, our values and our principles.  It means keeping our word.  My word as the chief, or those of our officers, MUST mean something, must be believed!  Especially in those times when that is all we have.

We must have trust.  As in any good relationship there must be a foundation built on trust.  Trust is built on being truthful and honest.  

As police officers, public trust is essential.  I believe the public actually decides how much authority we as police really have and our ability to be effective.  Do they trust and believe in us to do the right things?  Do they trust and believe in us enough to call 911 and let us police their neighborhoods?  Do they trust and believe in us to tell us "Who did it?"

As your chief, I will be asking every officer to use one same guiding principal during each encounter with the public, no matter how big or small, a simple question: "Did my actions reflect how I would want a member of my family to be treated?"   

The answer should always be yes.

 It is a simple question, but is has a strong ethical and consistent guiding rule.

This doesn't mean we will be soft on crime or we won't take proper action or use force when necessary.  Force is a necessary component of law enforcement.  But it does mean "our actions should be reasonable and appropriate for the situation."

We WILL make mistakes.  But we must act in good faith, always trying to do the right things.  

We MUST hold ourselves to a higher standard, asking ourselves, did I do the best I could today?

Integrity will become a department core value – it MUST and will begin with me

3. Transparency, both inside the MPD and in our community.  The key to transparency is effective communication.  This for me is a priority and something all of us need so we are informed, effective, understood, productive and happy.

Internally, I must find a way to ensure that everyone at all levels of the organization knows what the priorities are.  What does that mean to each individual? 

Internally and externally, we must communicate the “whys.”  I don't know too many people, including my 13-year-old daughter Lauren, who will respond to the answer "Because I said so!"

We must be willing and able to educate the public, actually showing and telling them what they need to know and why, developing partnerships in order to keep our communities informed and safe.

We need to admit when we are wrong; if we mess up, we must fess up, learn and move on.  We must hold ourselves accountable and I will do that.  But my goal is that when an officer steps out of line or does something that isn't reflective of the MPD’s values, this community will be able to say with certainty that is the exception – not the rule.

We support and trust in our police department.  I will also be asking our community that we all remember to show our gratitude and support for the members of the MPD who do amazing things each day.  We must support them and their families for the effort and sacrifices they all make.  

These officers are heroic human beings who wear uniforms, not super heroes in costume.  Believe me, I wish we were: then crime would be non-existent, police officers wouldn't be killed in the line of duty, and we would NEVER allow a 3 year old to be murdered by a stray bullet in his own home.

Transparency will be a dept. core value – it MUST and will begin with me.

As your chief, these will be the guiding principles I will be asking, as I am confident they will move our police department from one that is good to one that is great – in both crime prevention strategies and service.  Every member of this community and every member of this department deserves it!

I have been called a "Foot soldier for change."  My goal is to live up to that phrase daily. 

There will undoubtedly be times of crisis, and leadership is tested most when things go wrong.  You should be confident I have been tested.  I will respond and I WON’T LET YOU DOWN!



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