Community Conversation on Policing

West Metro Police Departments Host Interactive Community Conversation on Policing
Posted on 10/21/2020
Three west metro police departments invite community members to join a virtual conversation on policing in an effort to strengthen ties between law enforcement agencies and the people they serve.

This pilot meeting, “The Power of a Question: Enriching Community Conversations,” is presented by the New Hope, Minnetonka and Plymouth police departments and will be held via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Space is limited and will be allotted to residents of each respective city on a first-come, first-served basis. New Hope residents interested in attending should email communications@newhopemn.gov and include their name, address and phone number or call 763.531.5103.

About the Meeting: An Open Conversation
The meeting centers on the concept of perspective, and will highlight the ways police officers and residents may approach interactions with varying perceptions. Footage from a real-life traffic stop involving the Minnetonka Police Department will be highlighted to explore the dynamics of police interactions and foster a better understanding of the thought processes, emotions and reactions of all parties involved.

Following the presentation, participants will head into small-group break-out sessions with community members, police officers and facilitators for an open dialogue. The group will reconvene to share what was learned.

“The idea is to create a space where all voices can be heard and an open, honest conversation can be had,” Plymouth Public Safety Director Mike Goldstein said. “Everyone involved in a police interaction comes into it with their own perspective – we hope to begin bridging the gaps so we can better serve our communities.”

Strengthening Community Ties
The meeting was initiated and developed by a group of community members and law enforcement officials from the three cities that formed nearly four years ago, following the officer-involved shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights. The group gathers regularly to discuss issues surrounding law enforcement, bias and improving policing.

The group now meets virtually due to COVID-19, but the conversations continue.

Since the death of George Floyd, another group has formed specifically for Black men to share their perspectives with police officers through open dialogue.

“As law enforcement, we know that we need to make changes – and we can’t make those changes without input from the people we serve,” Goldstein said. “We are fortunate that we are able to gather virtually and continue building crucial connections in a time when they are more vital than ever.”

A Continuous Effort
Community conversations will continue beyond the Oct. 29 meeting.

“This meeting is a first step to engage the larger community in the type of conversations our group has been having over the past four years,” said Goldstein. “Takeaways from this first pilot gathering will undoubtedly guide future community conversations.”

“This is an opportunity to build understanding, empathy and trust so that all community members can feel safe and we can continue to effect change,” he added.

To learn more, or to get involved, contact police@plymouthmn.gov.