Minneapolis Could Learn About Community Policing From A Neighboring City


The Minneapolis police killing of Jamar Clark touched off tense protests that drew national attention when white supremacists shot and wounded five Black Lives Matter protesters outside a police station. TakePart.com, in an article by Mark Obbie, puts the reaction to Clark's death in the context of years of clashes between police and citizens. Despite a reform-minded administration and positive changes, Minneapolis remains a divided city, “a division that often defies logic to outsiders who never experience the kind of policing that inner-city people of color typically do.” They believe killings by police boil down to bad behavior and anti-cop lawlessness. “That's the kind of perspective you gain when you live in comfort and safety and get only the good kind of policing,” Obbie says.

Alongside the story of Minneapolis, the article tells the story of nearby Columbia Heights, where a forward-thinking chief led his department through a radical transformation that has cut crime while improving relations at the same time. TakePart says they do it by looking for people to help instead of looking for people to arrest, the essence of the community-oriented policing ethos. In the wake of police controversies in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere, community-oriented policing is Topic A in Minneapolis, whose embattled police department says it knows it needs to climb out of the hole it has dug for itself. Minneapolis police need only look at what's happening on their northern flank in Columbia Heights, Obbie says.

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