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City council appoints Minneapolis’ first female, openly gay police chief

Monday, December 3, 2012
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The Minneapolis city council on Friday confirmed 25-year veteran officer Janee Harteau as the city’s new Chief of Police, and in doing so Harteau becomes the first woman and first openly gay officer to serve as police chief.

The council voted 11-0 to confirm Harteau, 48, after council members and Mayor R.T. Rybak gushed praise for the new chief.

Janee Harteau

“I love the fact that we will have a chief who has worked her way up,” said Rybak, who officially nominated Harteau to become the city’s next chief of police. “She’s a smart cop, a savvy administrator and a natural leader,” he said.

As for the precedent of having a female, openly gay police chief, Harteau said it wasn’t personally significant.

“For others it might be,” Harteau said. “And if I can be a role model … I want 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.”

Harteu and her partner, Sgt. Holly Keegel, also a Minneapolis police officer, are parents to a 13-year-old daughter.

The couple shared a squad car as patrol officers together in their earlier years on the force, writing two small books on safety issues, and were sometimes referred to as “Cagney & Lacey,” after the characters from a 1980s television police series, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The formal swearing-in ceremony is to take place on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at City Hall.

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