Minneapolis has chosen a new police chief and she's openly gay. Janeé Harteau, who has been on the police force for 25 years, won unanimous approval from the City Council on Friday. Mayor R.T. Rybak praised Harteau for her "willingness to step forward for what is absolutely the toughest job in the city."
According to Eric Roper at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the mayor also addressed the 1996 complaint Harteau filed with the Human Rights Department: "I think it's important to point out that we have a chief who's coming in who at one time had complaints about this department and how it treated women. And I think that's an important value to be bringing to the table. Because, in the top job, that top cop can also see when things aren't going right."
Roper reports that Harteau told the council "I won't let you down" and got choked up mentioning police officer Tom Decker, who had been killed just the night before. "It's a good day but it's a tough day because we lost one of our own," she said.
Harteau said her being the first gay woman police chief wasn't significant for her but for others it might be, adding that she wants "people to see that you can achieve things despite some obstacles in your way. I stand on my merits on how I got here. I've been given tremendous opportunity."