Minneapolis’ first female police chief has also become the first city chief to conduct a “Tweet-along.” Today, chief Janee Harteau rode in a patrol car in the 2nd Precinct responding to calls and tweeting about them. Harteau, who calls herself a “Twitter chief,” said using the popular social networking tool to connect with city residents is just one way to build better community relations.
“It’s good for the community to see, real time, what an officer goes through in a day. The ups and downs, from the crisis to just general conversation. That’s what my day was like,” Harteau said.
Harteau says she’d eventually like to see more officers connect with the public through Twitter. She says today’s Tweet-along is all part of her push to improve police community relations and make the department more transparent to the public. The department’s historically tenuous relations with the city’s black residents has been particularly strained lately following the May 10 officer-involved shooting death of Terrance Franklin. Some black community activists say they don’t trust the MPD’s ability to fairly investigate the matter and have called for an independent probe. The department’s investigation into the shooting has been forwarded to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office where it awaits a Grand Jury review.
In the meantime, Harteau says she’ll keep reaching out to the public in person and online. “I keep trying to look for ways to be out — out in front of situations, out connecting with people before the crisis. I did it before the May 10 event and I’ll continue to do it.”