One of the most common concerns I heard from people I spoke with for the story which aired yesterday on MPR about female police officers was the stagnant or shrinking number of women in law enforcement.  In April, female officers made up 15 percent of the Minneapolis Police Department.  Today, I received the latest tally, which shows that number has decreased to just under 14 percent.  In 2013, women made up more than 16 percent of the sworn ranks in the MPD.

According to research from the National Center for Women in Policing, female officers are much less likely than their male colleagues to be sued for use of excessive force. And in the wake of the current discussions about the race of police officers involved in the deaths of unarmed black men, the woman who supervised that 2002 study, Katherine Spillar, says the gender of the officers involved should also be part of the mix.

Yesterday during an award ceremony, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau chuckled as she told two women who received the department’s civilian lifesaving award that they should apply for jobs in the police department. But she wasn’t really joking.  Ever since Harteau was sworn in as chief in 2012, she has publicly called for gender as well as racial diversity on the force. However, Harteau said hiring more women is not necessarily the answer to use of force complaints. “If I had a department filled with women, does that mean there would be no use of force complaints? No,” said Harteau.  “Absolutely not.”

 

Minneapolis has won a grant of up to $2.7 million that the officials will use to evaluate whether the city delivers city services equally.

Twelve U.S. cities, including Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles, will share $45 million in award money from Bloomberg Philanthropies. It’s the second round of the foundation’s Innovation Team Program.

Previous winners of the grant include Atlanta, which used the money to address homelessness, and New Orleans, which reduced its murder rate.

There are wide disparities in Minneapolis between white residents and minority communities in education, employment, health and other areas.

But the six-person Minneapolis innovation team will analyze whether core city services are delivered fairly to all residents, regardless of race.

In its grant application, the team noted that it might look at whether there are “inequities in how the city tows cars during snow emergencies.”

Mayor Betsy Hodges has made improving “racial equity” the centerpiece of her first term. During budget negotiations this month, she clashed with the City Council over how best to achieve it.

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau presented Officer Patrick Reuben with a Lifesaving Award for administering CPR to a man lying unconscious on the floor of a gas station bathroom in July of 2012. (Brandt Williams / MPR News)

A Minneapolis police officer who stopped an apparently suicidal man from leaping from a bridge, another officer who revived an unconscious victim of a drug overdose and an officer who struggled with a gun-wielding robbery suspect are just a few of the Minneapolis cops honored by police chief Janeé Harteau at a ceremony held Monday at City Hall.

“[Officers] do great work every day. Unfortunately, we don’t get to recognize everybody for the work that they do or we’d just be constantly be having award ceremonies,” said Harteau. “But the reality of it is, we probably should.”

Harteau also presented lifesaving awards to several citizens including Lisa Bilcik and Sally Jacobson. On May 29 of this year, Bilcik and Jacobson, gave first aid to a motorcyclist injured in a crash in the Lowry Tunnel. “The two women, strangers in separate cars, stopped in the fast lane of one of the state’s busiest freeways to render aid to the injured man who was being ignored by others, who just continued to drive by,” said Harteau.