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Policing in Diverse Communities

Just as the face of communities continues to change and become more diverse, so do the strategies that police officers employ to reach out to our communities residents.

Following the guidance of the Columbia Heights City Council, the CHPD has continued to outreach to the Columbia Heights community, to include outreach that is targeted at the city's multi-cultural communities.   Police efforts to recognize and break down cultural barriers to police and community understanding began in October 2010 when Chief Nadeau, Captain Austin, and Officer Terry Nightingale met with some of the Monte Horeb Pentecostal congregation that meets at First Lutheran Church.  Many of the members voiced concern that they were being targeted by police because of their immigration status.  Some related through an interpreter that they’d had less than positive contacts with police.  Although most of the complaints about police conduct did not involve Columbia Heights police officers, some had been stopped by police and taken to jail for simple traffic violations.

A very successful congregation-wide meeting occurred January 2011.  Issues relating to the mission and goals of the police department, and how American policing differed from other countries were discussed, as well as the role that the entire community plays in reducing crime and violence.  “For most people perception is reality, and we need to make sure that we have a dialogue will all of our community members that is respectful and ensures that accurate information is being exchanged” said Police Chief Scott Nadeau.  “Such understanding is a two-way street between police and community”.

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The department has continued the dialogue by making connections with the Church of All Nations. Four officers spoke at a pot-luck dinner March 2011.  Fifty people representing the four ministries there attended as experiences were exchanged in a comfortable environment.  The head pastor, Jin Kim, was appreciative of the CHPD effort and wanted to continue with such dialog.

Police officials are also working with The Islamic Center of Minnesota.  In November 2011, Captain Austin, Community Policing Officer Nightingale, Officer Beranek, Officer Huber, Community Service Officer Abdi Ahmed and CHPD Intern Abrahim Bility attended an open forum discussing police department initiatives and community concerns.

The CHPD has a continuing relationship with the Adult Education Center, dating back to 2012. We have had a very steady attendance at classes throughout the years. Officers lead classes about the police department and policing in Minnesota. In 2015, Officers met with over 100 students over the course of 5 classes. 

In 2015, the Islamic Mosque in Columbia Heights invited members of the Columbia Heights Police Department for a picnic.  The event was scheduled as a kind gesture and to show appreciation for the partnership between the Islamic community and the Columbia Heights Police Department.  Several officers attended and met members of the Islamic community in Columbia Heights.  

In early 2015 the East African Community helped welcome Officer Farah and Officer Abdullahi to the CHPD.

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In mid-June, 2016 Chief Nadeau and several officers met with leaders and families of the Muslim Community in Columbia Heights to discuss current affairs and impro
ve youth relations. The meeting, which took place during Ramadan, concluded with everyone partaking in breaking of the fast. Many great things continue to stem from this strong community partnership.

MAC.jpgOn June 27, 2016 the department started at Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee, known as the MAC. This committee is made up of dedicated volunteers who took time out of their lives in an effort to make our community the very best it can be. This committee will meet monthly discuss what's happening in our community and to share ideas that will have positive outcomes, affecting our residents and those who live, learn, worship, work, or visit Columbia Heights. The MAC will have direct contributions into our Community Policing efforts and other outreach opportunities in our community. The MAC will also use synergy, acceptance, and communication to further the positive relationship our Police Department has with our community. The best way to learn about what one another is to listen. And we had a great first meeting!

CircleTerracePlan.jpgPossibly our biggest and most exciting outreach comes in the form of a new public space. The Department has been spearheading the City of Peace Park, which will be located in the Circle Terrace Neighborhood. The police department reached out to the neighborhood, going door-to-door, completing a survey to gauge interest from the neighborhood related to community and social services that could be provided, and how.  It was determined that a community service and recreation building would be constructed on the lots adjacent to the playground.  This playground would also be renovated, to further promote community use of the park. 

At present time the department has secured funding and is awaiting its deposit. After deposit, the City of Peace Park will hopefully break ground by the fall of 2016.  Once the building has been constructed, it will immediately be filled with opportunities for citizens such as parenting classes, adult and youth educational classes, first aid and safety training, health and social services, parks and recreation events, picnics and other outdoor activities, and various other programs all aimed at ensuring that everyone in Columbia Heights has the opportunity to succeed.  

For more information on connecting with the CHPD, or to have a Police Officer speak with your group, contact Community Policing Coordinator Officer Andy Museus at 763-706-8110.

Contact Columbia Heights
590 40th Ave. NE
Columbia Heights, MN 55421
Ph: (763) 706-3600
Fx: (763) 706-3601
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