Archive for August 18th, 2010

Community Outreach and Law Enforcement

Yesterday, I hung around late at work for a bit, then made a detour out of my way to attend the Saint Paul Police Department’s “open house” at the Eastern District station.

This is one of a handful of open-to-the-public events the SPPD do every year, in the guise of community outreach. The goal is a noble one, of course – develop a rapport with the local community, earn the trust and respect of people in the neighborhood, and be “good neighbors”. Like a lot of community outreach efforts, I have my doubts about how well they actually work.

The Eastern District station is an old brick building that was once part of the Hamm’s brewery, a major employer on Saint Paul’s east side for about a century, until it closed in the 1990s. The “open house” was held in their garage, a large and very spartan concrete space with not a lot of light and not a lot of ventilation. Arrayed for public viewing were examples of most of the vehicles the SPPD owns – from a mobile command post to an EOD disposal trailer to a motorcycle with sidecar to… one of four EOD robots. (If you’re a military history buff, you might also be interested in the department’s oldest actively serving vehicle – an ex-USAF armored car.) The SWAT team was there to show off their body armor and weapons (AR-15/MP-5/40mm grenade launchers/.40cal Glocks). A K9 officer was there with his partner.

I hung around for a few minutes, talked to a couple of people – the officers were all very friendly, and extremely happy to answer questions – took a few really blurry photos with my cellphone, and left.

Here’s what I observed in the thirty minutes or so I was there:
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Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on August 18th, 2010 | No Comments »