Civic Leaders Praise Community Policing Efforts in St. Cloud
ST. CLOUD -- As the rumors swirled following the early morning arrest of an 18-year-old black man, St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson started making phone calls.
The chief called Mayor Dave Kleis and civic leaders like NAACP St. Cloud Chapter President Denise Fale and the Higher Ground Church of God and Christ Pastor James Alberts.
Alberts says community leaders and the police department have been meeting for years in an effort to build relationships...
Community policing requires the community as well. It requires both sides willing to come to the table and be willing to talk and be willing to negotiate. And, let's be clear about it...sometimes we don't agree. It's ok not to agree.
Pastor Alberts says it's important to remember that police officers are human. He says it's equally as important that officers get to know the people in their community so they know who they are dealing with when conflict arises and when arrests have to be made.
The group gathered at a morning news conference to condemn those who used social media to spread false information.
Chief Anderson says the false reports worked a group of about 100 people into a frenzy...
Things can get blasted all over creation right now and it is very reckless in my opinion, it's very dangerous, And this is the kind of thing that could have escalated. And I am deeply concerned about that kind of stuff.
Anderson says the group marched to the police station with the intent to do damage. He says a number of businesses were damaged along that route and some minor damage to the police headquarters, primarily from people throwing rocks.
It started when an officer was shot in the hand just after midnight by an 18-year-old suspect. Both were being treated at the hospital and have non-life threatening injuries.