Community policing promotes organizational strategies supporting the use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques that proactively address immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues. Through the past few decades, rates of both violent and property crime have dropped dramatically across the country. However, some communities and segments of the population have not benefited from the decrease as much as others, and some not at all.
Community policing combines a focus on intervention and prevention through problem solving by forming collaborative partnerships with schools, social services and other stakeholders. In this way, community policing not only improves public safety, but also enhances social connectivity and economic strength, which increases community resilience to crime. Law enforcement’s obligation is to reduce crime fairly while protecting the rights of citizens. Any prevention strategy that unintentionally violates civil rights, compromises police legitimacy or undermines trust is counterproductive. It must also be stressed that the absence of crime is not the final goal of law enforcement. Rather, it is the promotion and protection of public safety while respecting the dignity and rights of all.
Law enforcement agencies should develop and adopt policies and strategies that reinforce the importance of community engagement in managing public safety.
Community policing should be infused throughout the culture and organizational structure of law enforcement agencies.
Law enforcement agencies should engage in multidisciplinary, community team approaches for planning, implementing, and responding to crisis situations with complex causal factors.
Communities should support a culture and practice of policing that reflects the values of protection and promotion of the dignity of all, especially the most vulnerable.
Community policing emphasizes working with neighborhood residents to co-produce public safety. Law enforcement agencies should work with community residents to identify problems and collaborate on implementing solutions that produce meaningful results for the community.
Communities should adopt policies and programs that address the needs of children and youth most at risk for crime or violence and reduce aggressive law enforcement tactics that stigmatize youth and marginalize their participation in schools and communities.
Communities need to affirm and recognize the voices of youth in community decision making, facilitate youth-led research and problem solving, and develop and fund youth leadership training and life skills through positive youth/police collaboration and interactions.
- The EPPD’s mission is: “To protect and serve the community of Eden Prairie through active and professional engagement.”
- The EPPD allows officers discretion in issuing citations and warnings. In addition the department allows officers to provide diversion programs for juveniles and young adults, including an internal diversion program for crimes including theft, damage to property and traffic diversion for traffic offenders.
- The EPPD’s hiring process, officer evaluations and promotion processes are based on our officers’ ability to communicate with the community and how they deal with the community. We don’t just look at arrests, tickets or tactical skills.
- The EPPD created smaller patrol districts to provide for more visibility, community engagement time and improved response times.
- All EPPD officers receive 40 hours of training through Minnesota Crisis Intervention Team. All crisis/mental health calls receive follow-ups with a member of our Mental Health Unit.
- The EPPD works with a number of community organizations on team approaches to issues including the department's Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) with Sojourner, Breaking Free, the County Attorney’s Adult Protection Office and Social Services.
- The EPPD has a directive that specifically covers vulnerable persons.
- The EPPD engages with neighborhoods, faith leaders and business leaders through Night to Unite, Neighborhood Watch, Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and our Chaplain Unit.
- The department regularly hosts community engagement events to create opportunities for meaningful conversations, some of these include Night to Unite, Neighborhood Watch, Coffee With a Cop, Citizens Academy and Senior Citizens Academy. The department also makes use of online engagement platforms and social media to interface with the community, creating easy ways for conversations to take place and opportunities for residents to give input, including Facebook, Nextdoor and Twitter.
- The EPPD offers a number of community programs that allow residents to learn more about the department including Explorers, Reserves, Citizens Academy, City Government Academy, Civilian Observers, Senior Citizen Academy, Safety Camp, Shop With a Cop and CounterAct.
- The EPPD has a strong relationship with Eden Prairie Schools and we are deeply involved in their day-to-day operations. We have had liaison officers in the schools since the 1970s. Currently there are four liaison officers who work full time in the schools.
- The EPPD has a Juvenile Diversion Program that is run by a part-time Police Department employee who also works as a school counselor. The purpose of this program is to keep juveniles out of the criminal justice system.
- The Explorer program provides youth leadership training, positive role models and community service for Eden Prairie youth.