‘We must do better’

Solomon Gustavo • A St. Anthony resident and a St. Anthony police officer talk before the Feb. 22 open house on the Department of Justice’s review of the St. Anthony Police Department, at St. Anthony City Hall.

St. Anthony PD holds department review open house.

St. Anthony police Chief Jon Mangseth lead an open house introducing a department reform work plan at St. Anthony City Hall Feb. 22. 

“We must do better,” Mangseth said in his opening statement before detailing the work plan and providing an update on the U.S. Department of Justice review through the Community Oriented Policing Services program that the department requested following the killing of Philando Castile in 2016. 

Castile was fatally shot by a St. Anthony officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights; the officer was later acquitted of any criminal wrongdoing.

The two-year review, called the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance, is meant to provide law enforcement agencies with training, policy and procedure recommendations to help build trust between police and the communities they serve. 

After the Justice Department made “significant changes” to the COPS program last September, St. Anthony’s request to continue the review was granted, and the majority of the DOJ/COPS people involved in the review prior to the changes stuck around, said Mangseth. 


What’s coming

The department underwent bias training in September and fairness and impartiality training with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity in November, he said.

Going forward, the department review will have around seven development sessions with the DOJ, culminating in August, Mangseth said. 

Police-worn body cameras should be fully implemented by this summer he said, and they’ll be able to sync with squad car cameras that are being updated to high definition. 

Mangseth listed four technical assistance priorities. 

The priorities are to improve the department principal and procedural manual, which Mangseth called the “heart and soul” of department culture. “Hopefully, in the next year, two years,” is when he said it would be finished. 

Developing a “strategic plan” for vehicle and pedestrian stops was next. Mangseth said the department is shifting focus from traffic enforcement to safety. 

Mangseth rounded out the list with a plan for community engagement and de-escalation, and a plan for professional development in use of fire, de-escelation, encounters with the mentally ill and leadership. 

Mangseth said the department came to a “new way of thinking of use of force” through a training guide by the Police Executive Research Forum, a national membership organization of law enforcement executives in Washington, D.C.



Feedback and questions

Some 20 residents, along with law enforcement and city officials, listened to Mangseth speak in City Hall’s council chambers, as a band practiced across the hall in another room.

“What about ‘Bulletproof Warrior?’” asked Nancy Robinett, referring to training designed to teach away hesitation to shoot, which the officer who killed Castile had undergone. 

“Lesson learned,” said Mangseth. 

A few commenters applauded the department’s strides so far; one asked about what procedural justice is.

Its policing with transparency, honesty, fairness and voice, said Mangseth, describing “voice” as “allowing people to explain themselves.”

Another question was about engaging with the department through its website, which a resident felt should be made easier to navigate if someone wanted to make a complaint or request a translator, for something like the open house.

Mangseth said he’s aware of such issues and the department is working to improve its website.


– Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

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