Focus on Priorities
REIMAGINING PUBLIC SAFETY
I am impressed by the work of the St. Cloud Police Department in partnering with the community.
The St. Cloud Community Policing Agreement, for example, is a pact reflecting a relationship of trust, collaboration and fairness between several community organizations and the police department. The agreement served as a model for the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office Community Policing Agreement. Cold Spring is reviewing and updating its agreement; and I expect other communities will follow suit.
St. Cloud police partner with CentraCare’s mental health professionals and the court system in finding ways to better aid people experiencing homelessness. Officers interact with residents through the Community OutPost (COP) house and an array of youth programs. The chief or a department representative often attends community meetings to listen to city residents’ concerns.
Our firefighters also do a tremendous job keeping our community safe. We have seventy firefighters covering five fire stations with coordination between many captains, three battalion chiefs and one fire chief. Much time is spent in coordinating the department to keep how they operate every day the same despite who is on duty.
As your Minnesota state representative, I would:
Encourage police departments and communities across the region and state to develop policing agreements modeled on St. Cloud’s.
Push for statewide use of Safe Spaces, an app through which everyone can participate in open conversations without fear of judgment about their thoughts and feelings. This type of relationship building is an important step in fostering public safety.
Create legislation that would provide incentives to people to enter the professions of public safety.
Enact smarter public safety policies based on input from our community and our police and fire departments.
What other solutions would you support?