Over a year ago, members of the St. Cloud Community decided to come together with leaders from the St. Cloud Police Department to review the original Community Policing document that was drafted and signed into agreement in 2005. On Thursday, February 22nd, 2018 at noon, the revised Community Policing agreement will be signed into agreement at the St. Cloud Police Station. *We will add a link to the revised agreement when it becomes available.
Why Community Policing?
According to the United States Department of Justice, "Community policing emphasizes proactive problem solving in a systematic and routine fashion. Rather than responding to crime only after it occurs, community policing encourages agencies to proactively develop solutions to the immediate underlying conditions contributing to public safety problems."
Why did it take over a year to revise the agreement?
When many entities and individuals come together, it is hard to come to a solid agreement on some subjects - especially when the subject is the safety and security of our friends and families. Tough subjects such as immigration and fair/impartial policing took many meetings to get through. In some cases, either the SCPD or the community had to give a bit on our ideals to meet in the middle. The one area we couldn't come to a full agreement on is regarding how the SCPD interacts with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). The deliberations considered perspectives of the SCPD, advocates for the immigrant community, and participants with legal experience and training. The group agreed to revisit this part of the agreement in the first annual review in January of 2019.
Why was #unitecloud involved?
Over the 3 years of our exsistence, #unitecloud has interacted with members of the SCPD many times. To be clear, we haven't always agreed on everything. There are things we wish they would have done differently and there were things we wish we would have done differently. What we have learned from these interactions is that we are after the same thing - the safety and security of EVERY SINGLE member of our community, whether they live in St Cloud, or come into town to work or play.
In the beginning of our existence, #unitecloud jumped the gun on sharing information about a few crimes before we understood the whole picture. This made for some "interesting" (in the MN sense of the word) meetings with the Chief and other officers. Although we got off to a rocky start, we have put effort into seeking to understand SCPD leadership's point of view and they have done the same. I can honestly say that there are multiple people throughout SCPD that I trust with sensitive information and situations. That is a great position for us to be in, as there have been marginalized folks that have come to us with impossible situations that need police to intervene, but they have been afraid to come to the police because they weren't sure the police could be trusted. We have agreed, as community advocates, to come along side people and suggest they meet with SCPD folks we trust or even go into the station with someone or find a trusted community member that will accompany them. This is how we #unitecloud - one situation at a time.
Does this mean SCPD is perfect?
Nope. SCPD is full of people and people are not perfect. That being said, the main thing I appreciate is that, when I have disagreed with SCPD leadership in this process, they have allowed me to speak my truth and push back when they have said something that didn't sound right to me.
So, what's next?
After the signing, the community team will take a well deserved break! (A special thank you to Pastor Alberts of Higher Ground Church who moderated each meeting.) We plan to come back together in January of 2019 to review the agreement, which is to be done once a year. We also have agreed, if something comes up in our community, to meet together if we deem it necessary. The work that we have done together over the last year has built a base of trust in St. Cloud that will make a difference in the life of everyone in this city - and for that, we are grateful.
The question is - which city is next? How about you, Waite Park? 🙂