The head of the union representing Minneapolis police officers said Thursday that Chief Janee Harteau is asking the right questions about how to prevent racially charged incidents involving officers.
"We hire from the human race, so will we ever rid the department of people who can be problems? I don't think so," Lt. John Delmonico told MPR's Morning Edition. "But I think it's things she's talking about. Who do we hire? How do we train those people? What are the clear expectations set out by her?"
A new community group is working on a plan to improve the Minneapolis Police Department's relations with the public following the incidents in Apple Valley and Green Bay, Wis., involving off-duty Minneapolis officers. The incidents have sparked outrage in the community.
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis is part of the community group, which has been split up into subcommittees that will report back by the third week in September.
Delmonico said he thinks the department should do more than just change its way of doing things.
"I think a big piece is to explain to the community how we do do things. Certainly it's always good to look at, is there things you can do to do better? Is it an education piece for the police department to educate the community? I think we're going to have some really good, healthy dialogue and hopefully at the end we will have accomplished what we set out to do," he said.
Delmonico also said he thinks some members of the community have an inaccurate perception of how the department's ranks are holding themselves accountable.
"In 2012, about half the complaints that came into internal affairs about cops were from other cops," he said. "So I think if you look at other professions where, do they really police themselves, and what is the ratio of complaints against that profession from their own people, I'd say we're probably at the top of the list."