Mankato Public Safety adds new programs

These programs will be focused on the police reform process and are focusing on the mental and emotional health of the department

Mankato Public Safety adds new programs

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Minneapolis City Council voted and approved early Thursday to shift $8 million from the police department toward violence prevention, mental health programs and other initiatives.

The Mankato Department of Public Safety is working on reforms of its own in the sense of creating new programs to help with the ever-changing times.

They have started to plan and create a transparency hub which would give the community a look into the department itself.

“Our policies, the types of training that we do, any training that we highlight a person or an expert who is doing something. Our statistics by arrest and race and volume of calls, fire prevention, fire safety and police safety,” Public Safety Director Amy Vokal said.

This transparency program isn’t the only new initiative that they have come up with, there is also guardian tracking, which is an early intervention system within their task force.

This tracking system is a way to alert people in higher positions if an officer or person is stressed or showing signs that they may need help without them even realizing they may need assistance.

“Minor accidents, losing equipment, tardiness, that kind of things. So, the way the system is set up is that it will come up with a red flag when we are seeing certain types of things together. Then we can kind of do that intervention and reach out to that officer and say ‘how are you doing, how are things going, do we have an issue’, because then we know the officers will have better outcomes,” Vokal added.

Another big part of their new adjustments will be to focus just as much on the mental and emotional health as they do on the physical health of their task force.

Mankato Public Safety has taken a lot of information from the community listening sessions which involve a steering council of local organizations.

Those groups include Mankato NAACP, YWCA Mankato, Black Excellence Around Minnesota and more.

After the listening sessions, they review the information and schedule another meeting where they share what they heard and the direction they’re taking.

“They bring us a completely different perspective and what we ask them is, will they please lead us. This is not the time for us to lead, but this is the time for us to stand beside or follow and do the right kind of reform. The reform that hits, not what we think is best,” Vokal stated.

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