Newspaper article

Police Chief Harteau Says Training Sessions Set 'Tone, Vision, Direction, Course'

Newspaper article

Police Chief Harteau Says Training Sessions Set 'Tone, Vision, Direction, Course'

Article excerpt

Introducing President Obama on Monday was a big deal, according to Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, but not as important as hosting training sessions for the entire Police Department in the two days since.

"This is a pivotal point for the Minneapolis Police Department and for the city as a whole," Harteau told reporters at a news conference before Tuesday's first meeting.

She has been thinking about these training sessions since last spring, when Mayor R.T. Rybak announced his intention to appoint her chief. "I want to make sure I get this right," she said.

To get it right, all sworn officers were asked to attend in uniform, and days off were canceled. Half of the department -- and that includes civilian employees -- attended a four-hour training session Tuesday, with the second session Wednesday.

The sessions, she said, will have no impact on answering 911 calls and "very little impact" on the department budget.

"The service and guiding principle that I will be asking of every officer, in every encounter, is: 'Did my actions reflect how I would want my family member to be treated?" Harteau said.

She offered assurances, though, that officers will not be soft on crime or step back from using force when necessary.

Harteau does not recall any training sessions aimed at the entire department and focused on law enforcement practices. The last major training initiative was in 1997, when then-Chief Robert Olson held sessions focused on new technology.

Her goal is to "set the tone, set the vision, set the direction and set the course" for the years ahead and make sure everyone knows what role he or she plays in the process. "There are no small parts," she added.

"The goal for today sets the tone for the Minneapolis Police Department moving forward -- not just doing great things but us being great while we're doing them," said Harteau. …

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