Minneapolis part of Dept. of Justice initiative to build trust between community, police

- Minneapolis is one of six cities in the United States chosen to be part of the Department of Justice’s national initiative for building community trust. The Minneapolis Police Department hopes the new effort will improve relationships within the community and lead to safer streets.

For many residents in the city of Minneapolis --- the police are not seen as the good guys and some people undoubtedly view the officers as racist.

“I think it all goes back to their upbringing, like how do they look at certain ethnicities. You know when they see an African American, a Mexican and they automatically think something’s going to happen when they see these individuals,” Minneapolis resident Tafari Duffers said.

True or not, the MPD is looking to change its perception. The department is one of six cities launching what’s called “procedural justice training.”

“It’s is not anecdotal and it will not be guesswork,” Deputy Chief Mederia Arrandondo said. “This is through evidence based training.”

The training is designed to teach what procedural justice means to all 850 officers on the force – trust, transparency, respect and legitimacy.

“We need to make sure we have public trust and one of the ways to do that is to be sure we are seen as legitimate,” Chief Janee Harteau said.

Lt. Erick Fors says legitimacy means treating people officers come into contact with like they would treat a family member.

But, the training is also giving officers and understanding of why history dating back to the 1960s might play a part in what the community is feeling.

So the MPD says it's ready to "reset" relationships.  It’s a tough sell to some in the community – but Kylonna Branch believes it’s possible.

“You see us walking down the street it doesn't hurt to stop your car and be like ‘How are you doing today?’ not ‘Where are you going?’ Like really stop and talk to us,” Branch says.

This training will go from the chief down to the newest recruit and will also be available to interested members of the community.

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