ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Governor Mark Dayton is taking some heat for remarks he made about a new fund to help better train police officers. Now he's clarifying those comments and meeting with police chiefs to help form better diversity training.
“Very much appreciated their constructive advice,” said Dayton.
Governor Dayton met with seven police chiefs and others in law enforcement for more than an hour. The meeting had been planned for weeks.
“Where do we go from here? How do we make sure that we are more responsive to our communities?” said St. Cloud Chief Blair Anderson of the topics discussed. “He listened to the things that a lot of us are doing that are working and he took copious notes, so I feel very good about what went on in there.”
The State Legislature approved the funding of $12 million for more training in de-escalation.
In the wake of Philando Castile's death one year ago, Governor Dayton made the announcement on Thursday with the Castile family at his side. He thought it would be appropriate to be named for Castile. That decision promptly brought sharp criticism from a group of police unions accusing Dayton of kicking cops to the curb. Dayton says that backlash misconstrues his belief.
“I have the greatest respect and admiration for the men and women who risk their lives every day and night to protect the rest of us and I just deeply regret that isn't the message that got communicated out,” said Dayton.
The controversy, they say, was discussed at the meeting, but briefly.
“Because again most of what we talked about was where do we go from here, how do we implement the changes that are necessary and what things working and how do we share that information with all of our law enforcement partners across the state,” said Anderson.
Statement from Andy Skoogman, Executive Director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association
"Several police chiefs from agencies in the Metro and Greater Minnesota met with the Governor this morning. One topic of discussion centered around Governor Dayton’s push for the POST Board to name the recently passed law enforcement training bill after Philando Castile.
"When the state's law enforcement organizations proactively brought the proposal for additional training and funding to the legislature, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association called the bill the 21st Century Policing Platform. We believe that is an appropriate name as the bill addresses many of the recommendations laid out in the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
"The loss of life under any circumstance is tragic and the natural inclination is to remember the person who died. But there are 10 thousand men and women in Minnesota who put their lives on the line every day as peace officers and many of them view this as undermining their dedication to community policing and the citizens they serve."