ST. CLOUD -- Police and public safety will have a larger presence in south St. Cloud.

The Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation held their groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, for Minnesota's first Community Outpost House (COP House).

The COP House will be at 600 13th Street South, near the St. Cloud State University campus. St. Cloud Police Commander Jim Steve says the community outpost will be a central hub for law enforcement and public safety officials to work with the community.

"The goals really are to number one reduce crime in the area it's also really to engage with the community and the residents."

Steve says it's important for all officers to meet people in the area to understand how they can better serve the community.

"What I tell my officers is get out of your squad cars, I don't want to wear tire rubber off of their cars, I want to wear the soles off their shoes, they're really getting to meet every resident in this area and really understand what needs they have."

The location of the COP House was chosen based on the crime activity in the south St. Cloud area. Steve says when the outpost is completed it will create a positive change in the community.

"In the last five-years we've taken 99 calls for service at the house that was previously here before we demolished it. It was a problem for the neighborhood, it was a problem for our officers. What we're going to do is change the identity of that address by being here, bringing positive people into this address and by doing that we're going to be changing the neighborhood as well."

With the help of $375,000 federal grant the St. Cloud police department will staff three full-time officers at the house for three-years.

Three major organizations contributed to the funding of the COP house, the St. Cloud Rotary donated $25,000, the Metro Lions of St. Cloud donated $20,000 and Precise also donated $35,000.

After the ceremony, those involved with the project expressed their joy by dancing in the street.

The Community Outpost House is expected to be completed by this summer.

Officers dancing after groundbreaking ceremony for COP House (Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)
Officers dancing after groundbreaking ceremony for COP House (Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)

More From AM 1240 WJON