MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau said in an interview aired Wednesday that she did everything she could to rush home from a hiking trip in Colorado last month after one of her officers killed an Australian woman who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.

But Harteau told Minnesota Public Radio , in her first media interview since her resignation, that she didn’t realize the depth of the anger ignited by the July 15 shooting of Justine Damond — or the political fallout to come. She said it took her two flights and a three-hour car ride to get home nearly four days after the shooting. Soon after Harteau got back, Mayor Betsy Hodges asked her to resign, saying she had lost confidence in her.

“I was in communication with my team, and I’m the one that requested the BCA (Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) be activated. And we know from history that things take time,” Harteau told MPR. “At no time did anybody say, ‘This is bad. You need to come back, chief.'”

Harteau said she’s aware of how politics shape decisions at City Hall, and that Hodges is facing a tough re-election campaign, but declined to criticize the mayor.

Harteau, 53, became the city’s first woman and first openly gay police chief in 2012. One of her main initiatives was MPD 2.0, an umbrella term for her vision for policing, which included a focus on accountability and transparency. But she said it was tough to rank all the things she counts as accomplishments.

“People ask me: ‘What are you the most proud of?’ But, it’s almost too much to really encapsulate. But my goal is, or was from the beginning, when I walked the door is to leave it better than when I came in,” she said. “I think I have.”

Harteau said she will not miss the pressures of the job, which took a toll on her family life and contributed to the end of her marriage to her longtime partner, Holly Keegel. Harteau remarried in 2016, but chose not to make that public at the time. She’s said she’s now looking forward to some anonymity and time with her family.

But Harteau, who left the department after 30 years of service, also said she wants to remain involved with law enforcement and that she has received job offers from other departments, including Dallas.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org