Policing in Falcon Heights

Falcon Heights is home to University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus, the State Fair and major thoroughfares Snelling Avenue and Larpenteur Avenue. Hundreds of diverse visitors and drivers pass through every day. We should prioritize their safety.

According to its 2015 report, the St. Anthony Police Department (which the city contracts for law enforcement) sees “active enforcement of traffic laws” as central to crime prevention, and it accounts for some 80 percent of arrests. 

But studies and reports suggest that traffic stops can be stressful for both officers and civilians and can escalate into violence.  We rely on police to protect public safety from, for example, drunk drivers. But issuing citations for minor infractions, such as a broken taillight, is not worth risking loss of life, as it happened with the shooting of Philando Castile. The Falcon Heights city council should consult experts at the University as part of a serious study of policing.

 

Sarah C. Chambers

Minnesota Daily reader