ST. CLOUD -- The Stearns County Sheriff's Office and residents have come to terms on a Community Policing Agreement.

Spokeswoman Patty Keeling says work on the agreement goes back before current Sheriff Steve Soyka was elected.

She says it is believed this is the first agreement of its type in any county in Minnesota and is based largely on the city of St. Cloud's Community Policing Agreement that has been in place since 2005. She says the biggest difference is the jail piece of this new agreement since the city doesn't have a jail.

We were able to begin changing languages in things that the inmates had available to them so that they could understand their rights within the jail.

Soyka says a lot of the items covered in the agreement are things that his department is doing already.

When a person reads it, it really is just common sense on really how law enforcement treats the public that they serve and really how people treat each other quite honestly is what it comes down to.

Keeling says one example of their partnership was in Rockville when some Latino people were being beaten and robbed but refused to call the sheriff's office for help.

But, the sheriff felt like he needed to get to the bottom of what was going on.  So, he called us in and we went and spoke with the people and we filled the gym with people and he was amazed.  That's what community work does.

Keeling says their biggest hang-up was over language involving Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- or ICE. Soyka says he's not expecting that partnership to change under this agreement.

I guess the conclusion was basically that we work with all forms of law enforcement and ICE is a law enforcement agency at the federal level and therefore we're going to continue working with ICE.

A signing of the Community Policing Agreement will take place Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. outside of the Stearns County Courthouse.

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