The largest city in the US state of Minnesota has appointed its first woman police chief who is also its first police chief in a same-sex relationship.
Janeé Harteau was approved in a unanimous vote by the Minneapolis City Council to be the city’s next police chief on November 30, having previously served as the city’s assistant chief of police.
Harteau takes over from former boss, police chief Tim Dolan, who had not sought a third term.
Harteau is in a domestic partnership with Holly Keegel – a woman she has been in a relationship with for 24 years and the couple have a 13 year old daughter together.
Keegel is a Minneapolis police sergeant and the couple shared a squad car as patrol officers when they first joined the force.
Harteau told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that she very much identified as a member of the LGBT community although she didn’t identify with the label ‘lesbian.’
‘I don’t want to be put in a box,’ Harteau told the Star-Tribune, ‘I … fell in love with my best friend.’
‘I absolutely would identify with the [LGBT community though] and certainly will support them in any way and be a role model, but … you’ll be hard pressed to put me in a box in any category, whether it be ethnicity, gender, the type of police chief or police officer I was,’ said Harteau, who is also part Native American.
Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak thanked Harteau at the council meeting for her willingness to serve the community.
‘I want to thank her for her willingness to step forward for what is absolutely the toughest job in the city,’ Mayor Rybak said.
Minnesota does not yet recognize same-sex marriages but voters there defeated a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution banning gay marriage during US elections in November.