ST. CLOUD -- Minnesota’s newly signed police reform bill could have a negative effect on police departments across the state according to local law enforcement.

The bill includes a ban on the use of chokeholds and warrior-style training. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson says he agrees with expanding mental health training but says the rest of the bill could make it difficult for officers to do their jobs.

I've never been to warrior training. I've been to street survival training, and my response to that would be to ask folks if they've ever been in a fight for their lives under the cover of darkness with somebody who wants to do them harm. If that's the kind of training that they want to ban, we're gonna be in big trouble. As far as the chokeholds, the correct terminology for it is a carotid neck restraint and it is a deadly force option, so if you're gonna take that from us, take my firearm as well.

He says the St. Cloud department is already equipped with the co-responder model to handle situations where a person has a mental illness.

According to Anderson, the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis nearly two months ago was not due to a training issue. He says the reform package is not getting to the root of the problem and will just create more frustration in departments across the state.

Until we deal with the binding arbitration issue in Minnesota, you are going to have frustrated police chiefs who are forced to take back problem employees that they've tried to discipline and or terminate.

He says a big problem is that too much power is given to the police union when it comes to making those administrative decisions. He adds that it is demoralizing for officers, chiefs, and entire departments when people who should not be in law enforcement stay in law enforcement.

Anderson says as a department St. Cloud spends more money than mandated to train their officers and prides themselves on being on the cutting edge and finding creative solutions.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app