Much as she might like to, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau can't really tell Lt. Bob Kroll what to do. Or say, or, given, Kroll's apparent love for communicating with the press, to stop saying.
But she can tell him what not to wear.
Harteau is still the boss of Kroll, the elected leader of city cops, who are organized as the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. And in her capacity as a representative of the city, she's asking that Kroll stop dressing like one while he's giving his oft-controversial public appearances.
Harteau has instructed Kroll to stop wearing his city police uniform during his public appearances in the role of union president, according to an email obtained by KARE 11. Pointing out that the city of Minneapolis pays for officer's uniforms and therefore "controls their use," Harteau says Kroll's wearing the badge in public appearances doesn't square with the officer code of conduct.
"This letter is a reminder as well as a direct order that you wear your MPD uniform only for MPD-sanctioned purposes," Harteau wrote to Kroll, also encouraging him to meet with the deputy in charge of "professional standards" if he still doesn't understand.
She continues: "'MPD-sanctioned purposes' does not include speaking in your capacity as a labor union representative. Therefore, I am also directing you to not wear an MPD uniform when speaking in your capacity as a union representative."
Harteau went on to say that multiple messages had come in to the department's "police conduct review" office about Kroll's "recent conduct." That conduct would include Kroll's bad-movie-scene slow clap for cops who walked out of a Minnesota Lynx game, his thought that the uptick in violent crime was the direct result of public scrutiny of city cops, and the assertion that Black Lives Matter is a "terrorist organization."
Kroll, in response, says he has received the chief's message loud and clear, and will stop flashing his badge on camera from this day forward.
Oh wait, Bob Kroll? Him? No. No way he's following this order.
Kroll told KARE 11 that officers in his position in the union have always been allowed to wear the uniform when giving interviews, and that he's just being singled out by Harteau.
"That's true," he told the TV station, when asked to confirm if the leaked email was authentic. "But I'll be fighting that and winning."
Really, though, when your city's chief of police is butting heads with the department's union president over everything, including wardrobe, aren't we all winning?