There are many different policing styles and strategies among law enforcement agencies in this country. In the next couple of posts I am going to highlight what we are doing in Duluth that seperates us from some other police agencies. In Duluth, our staff have engrained themselves into the very fabric of our City. We are the guardians, protectors and helpers of our citizenry, not a militaristic occupying army. Here is a portion of an email I sent to our City Councilors earlier this week that highlights some of our community policing efforts.
In light of the current national events I was hoping to make you aware of our community policing efforts and values that separate us from many of the cities experiencing troubled police-community relations.
First, our department is focused on building relationships with our community members. We know that to break down barriers of mistrust we need to build healthy relationships with those we serve. Every week members of our department are either attending community meetings or we are hosting them. Whether it be community club meetings, business meetings or neighborhood meetings we are there. We have been actively engaged with the health and wellness of our youth through programs like the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative to lower the number of juveniles that are incarcerated, the new Police Activities League or spending time at the numerous youth after school programs; our officers seek out opportunities to have positive interaction with our youth.
Additionally, we continue to build on our Block Clubs, Neighborhood Watch and Citizen Patrols that engage hundreds and hundreds of residents. We collaborated to bring a civilian review board to help build transparency and strengthen relationships. We meet regularly with African American and Native American community organizations and collaborate to find opportunities for positive interaction such as the very popular “Cops, Kids and Cars” events.
When it comes to use of force issues we focus on deescalating tense situations through verbal communication and listening. We train to be successful at policing in a free and democratic society that must be restrained in our use of force when ever possible and treat people with courtesy, respect and dignity.
The good work that is done by our staff every minute of every day shows in this year’s Citizen survey that gives us a 93% rating of fair, good or excellent. Cities that are experiencing police community relations problems we've been seeing on the national news can't touch those numbers because all of the work that is done in Duluth to strengthen and maintain our relationship with those we serve.
Please do not hesitate to call me if you would like to talk further about any of the current events.
Your Police Chief