In 2009, our city police department chose to adopt the philosophy of community oriented policing. The following is a brief definition of community policing that our Police department relies on to steer their organization forward.
“Community Oriented Policing (COP): Working with stakeholders (neighbors, business people, schools, other departments/government entities) to find out what the community needs from local law enforcement to reduce crime and increase public safety (note—perception and reality can also be two different things).
- COP is also an opportunity for law enforcement to work with stakeholders in a way for everyone to understand what we can, and cannot do to help with public safety.
- COP cultivates relationships
- COP has to involve as many community partners as we can.
- And…. COP allows us to problem solve and share the responsibility of crime and public safety together. We are much more effective when citizens understand that crime and public safety is their responsibility too.”
As a Columbia Heights City Councilor, I strongly support community policing in our community. Every year our police department conducts a review of their community policing policies, strategies, strengths and weaknesses in order to improve their ability to keep our city safe in a more equitable manner for all of our citizens. This style of community engagement by our law enforcement officers has been successful in reducing crime and improving safety for everyone.
Our law enforcement officers also participate in many activities in our community to develop and strengthen relationships with residents, businesses, and other stakeholders. For instance, they have picnics for residents throughout our city during the summer. They partner with other departments to host our Truck and Treat event. They conduct a resident Police Academy workshop for our residents to educate people about their policies they use when conducting police business. They host gym night for the teenagers at our high school. Many of our police officers participate in our Big Brother/Big Sister organization in our community. They have hosted Conversation events at First Lutheran church where residents can discuss their concerns and questions about policing in our city with our police officers. They conduct door to door policing surveys in our city. This is just a smattering of all the activities our police do to strengthen their relationships within our community.
If you re-elect me to the council I will work hard to help our police department improve our community policing. I think it is very important that all residents in our community feel safe and are treated with respect in all ways.