Metropolitan Transit Captain James Franklin presents to University community

Alida Tieberg

Metro Transit Police Department Captain James Franklin was the third finalist for the University of Minnesota Police chief position to present to the University community in a public forum Wednesday.

Franklin has spent eight years of with the Metropolitan Transit Police where he has served as both a Captain and Lieutenant. Franklin is also an adjunct instructor at Rutgers University’s National Transit Institute. He was a detective and patrol officer for the Plymouth Police Department and was also a police officer for the West Hennepin Public Safety Department.

During his presentation Captain Franklin said that the University community is unique in its cycle of graduating students and incoming freshmen.  Franklin said Metro Transit has a diverse set of commuters, as people from all over the Twin Cities use it.

Franklin said the biggest challenge to campus safety today is policing in a post-Ferguson era". Franklin said he believes UMPD can strengthen its relationships with the community through communication and engagement with students. He said that implementing programs at freshmen orientation could help establish that relationship. Franklin also said that he would like to create internships within UMPD.

Franklin said that as chief he would implement more training for officers, including language training to allow for better communication with the community.

One audience member asked about racial profiling and the recent crime alert policy change. Franklin said that bias has no place in policing and that the department needs to be cognizant that the goal of the alerts is to find a suspect, rather than reinforcing stereotypes or biases.

Another audience member asked about sexual assault and victims reporting incidents. Franklin said to encourage reporting the department needs to continue relationships with advocacy groups on campus. He also said officers may need more training about how to deal more compassionately with victims.

Assistant Chief of Police for the Minneapolis Police Department Matthew Clark will be the final candidate to present on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Best Buy Theater in Northrop Auditorium.