ST. CLOUD -- Here in the city of St. Cloud, if you have a complaint against a police officer you can take it to a citizen review board.

The St. Cloud Police Citizen Review Board was established way back in 1998.  It is made up of nine members including six non-police members and three police department members.

In 2020 there was a spike in the number of cases heard by the board.  They heard 25 complaints compared to just 11 each of the two previous years.

Mayor Dave Kleis says he believes part of the reason for the rise in cases was because of the George Floyd murder

I think some of it is what happened last year with the murder of George Floyd and the discussion on policing.  In St. Cloud, we've put a lot of emphasis on community policing way before anything that happened last year.

Kleis says, given the thousands of contacts St. Cloud police have with citizens those are very low numbers of complaints.

The vast majority of the 25 complaints last year were determined to be unfounded.  A couple of the cases were sustained, meaning the board agreed with the action taken against the officer.  And, a couple of the cases were not sustained, meaning the board determined other action should be taken.

Kleis says they look at everything involved in each case including all available camera footage.

In those types of situations where you may be stopped and pulled over for speeding or some other reason, often times the way people sometimes perceive what happened may be different than what actually happened. It's always good to have that video.

Kleis says there isn't a lot of cities that have this type of citizens review board in place.

Coming up on Tuesday we are going to learn about the Stearns County Sheriff's Office's new Community Service Engagement Team (CSET), which was created by Sheriff Soyka to encourage positive interaction with the community.

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