The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer no doubt has us reconsidering our priorities and ideas about public safety. We are a suburban community with a low crime rate, but we cannot assume we are exempt from such a tragedy happening if we do not proactively make changes.
Our police department already has several successful community outreach programs engaging civilians in learning about the officers, policing, and volunteering with them (Coffee with a Cop, Shop with a Cop, National Night Out, Citizens Police Academy, Police Reserve Officer, and Explorer programs). However, many of our Maple Grove police officers do not live here, creating a disconnect between their home and work lives. I support incentivizing officers who are willing to live in the community and get to know the citizens they serve as neighbors.
I support hiring a diverse police force that matches the community demographic. Over 50% of our population is female. It has been exciting to see several of our recent hires are women. Around 16% of our population is non-white, and 12% speak a language other than English at home. I support increasing the racial diversity of our police force.
Finally, similar suburban cities have formed a Human Rights Commission. The purpose of such a commission is to advise the city council on issues related to equal rights and preventing discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, sex, and sexual orientation.