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Mankato Public Safety officials lead discussion on community policing

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 5:38 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Mankato Department of Public Safety officials spoke on community policing at VINE Faith in Action Monday afternoon.

Public Safety leaders led a discussion on patrolling residential areas.

“That’s outreach, that’s problem-solving, and that’s partnerships. That’s how we police,” Mankato Public Safety Director Amy Vokal said.

To make policing more personable, designated police officers serve Mankato neighborhoods.

“The way that we do it here in the city of Mankato is we break up the city into about 29 neighborhoods, right around 29 or 30 geographical neighborhoods,” explained Matt DuRose, deputy director at Mankato Public Safety. “They’re pretty small. They might only be eight or ten square blocks.”

Public Safety leaders said this method allows residents to become familiar with authorities.

“[It is] so that people in their neighborhoods know the officer assigned to them and will be a little more at ease approaching if there’s anything that is of consequence to them or concern,” added Mike Lagerquist, director of programs and newsletters at VINE Faith in Action.

“We want them to be very in tuned with their neighborhood, and really the only way to do that is to get out and really get to know the citizens, the residents, the visitors, the business owners within that neighborhood itself,” DuRose explained.

About a dozen residents, including Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato), participated in the discussion, addressing topics like racial and economic inequalities.

“We’re looking for equity. At the end of the day, we want all men to be created equal and, as Dr. King said, be judged by the content of your character, not the color of your skin,” Frentz stated.

A second session to continue the discussion on community policing is planned for July 27.

“We only get our jobs done because of each other. We have a lot of overlap. That’s how we get the job done and get it done right,” Vokal stated.

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