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To the Hopkins Community,
The death of George Floyd has renewed a question for many of us – “Who polices our community?” Here in Hopkins, our police department is a part of the community. For decades, we have focused on understanding and bringing about substantial and tangible change within Hopkins. We have built strong, lasting relationships. We have heard the voices of the people we serve. We have brought about change.
The Hopkins Police Department embraced the President Task Force on 21st Century Policing in early 2016. (Learn more: https://cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/taskforce_finalreport.pdf). We assessed our existing policies, procedures and practices, and we made changes. We also trained other departments and invited the community to participate in these sessions.
Injustice saddens us. We appreciate all members of our community who come from all over the world and have a wide range of life experiences. We work to build trust and legitimacy with everyone in Hopkins. We hear your voices. We welcome the conversations to build understanding. We partner with you through various programs such as the Joint Community Police Partnership, the Hopkins Race and Equity Initiative and the Multicultural Advisory Committee. We give a voice to our community during our hiring processes to make sure we have the right staff to serve you.
We are accountable to the community. We hear the voices asking for transparency. The policies of the Hopkins Police Department are available to view online at www.hopkinsmn.com/DocumentCenter/View/595/Police-Department-Policy-PDF. Every encounter with a community member where an officer uses force is documented and reviewed by multiple police department supervisors.
We revise training programs continually to better our officers. We maintain statistical data that captures not only the race and gender of individuals our officers encounter, but also the age of the individual and the type of force used against the individual. In 2019, out of nearly 24,000 calls for service, Hopkins Police officers only used force in 73 incidents involving 81 individuals.
In addition, we have an embedded social worker to offer resources and guidance to those in our community suffering from mental health issues.
Technology and social media are continually a part of our strategic plan. We utilize body worn cameras to record the interactions between officers and community members. Our social media platforms seek to build understanding and trust through education and dialogue.
We are also extremely active within the Hopkins community. In 2019, we participated in over 215 community events, meeting with residents and business owners of all different races, religions and ethnicities. We celebrated our community. We listened and we learned.
Because of our involvement and partnership with the community, together we reduced crime again. Violent crime in Hopkins is down 37.3% over the last ten years.
Yet, we realize that isn’t enough, so we strive to continually improve ourselves so we can serve you better.
We are always attending training. Our officers are trained in de-escalation techniques, mental health awareness and decision-making. We specifically utilize scenario-based training to address police officer excessive force and the duty to intercede should an officer engage in such activity. Every officer is trained in implicit bias and procedural justice, and will act to stop another officer from violating the rights of another individual.
We recognize that the service of our officers can, at times, take a toll on their well-being. We know our officers need to be mentally, physically and spiritually fit so they can serve Hopkins with clarity.
Prior to hiring, a mental health provider screens all of our officers. Every staff member is required to meet with a mental health provider yearly, and is encouraged to partake in open community events to build physical and spiritual wellness.
We do a lot. However, we know we can always do more and find ways to improve. We are listening.
Today, as we have been for 115 years, we stand here to protect our community and give a voice to all, while serving with honesty, integrity and respect.
Brent JohnsonChief of PoliceHopkins Police Department