ST. CLOUD -- A police program in south St. Cloud could become a national model.

Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer has re-introduced legislation called the Community OutPost Outreach and Engagement Act, which would establish a pilot program to promote the nationwide use of COP houses as a means to help law enforcement improve relationships with residents.

St. Cloud Police Commander Marty Sayre says Emmer was instrumental in getting the COP house going in St. Cloud from the beginning.

It was a short sale-type situation.  You call up a representative of Congress and say, "can you help us?".  He dug in right away and got people to start calling us back, which was very helpful.

Sayre says he also took Emmer on a ride-along and talked about the community's policing needs.

Sayre says they're expecting to get visits from other police departments curious about how the program works.

We talked about dusting off the playbook today, so for sure getting that ready to go, and making an electronic version.  It's best to do it in person.  We had a pretty large contingent that went to Racine to look at their program.  We anticipate we're going to get some cities from the U.S. to come to take a look at it.

Back in 2016 St. Cloud police went to Racine, Wisconsin to see their COP House program and then in 2017 the COP House in St. Cloud opened. In 2018 the effort won the Department of Justice's L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award.

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