Falcon Heights considering partnership with St. Anthony Village police

Falcon Heights mulls reviving partnership with St. Anthony Village police

Falcon Heights mulls reviving partnership with St. Anthony Village police

Ramsey County approved a contract to have the sheriff’s office patrol Falcon Heights for one more year on Tuesday as the city is looking to bring back its policing partnership with St. Anthony Village.

Falcon Heights has used Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office’s police services since January 2018.

In March 2023, both parties agreed that the city should explore law enforcement options that are a better long-term fit.

After conducting a survey with Falcon Heights residents, the city decided St. Anthony Village police could be a good fit again for the partnership.

St. Anthony Police Department is no stranger to Falcon Heights. They teamed up with the city to provide law enforcement services in 1994, but that changed nearly eight years ago.

In July 2016, 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony Village police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. In 2017, the St. Anthony Village City Council voted to terminate the contract.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to talk to St. Anthony and see if both cities could have a path forward,” said Falcon Heights city administrator Jack Linehan.

About eight years later, both cities are exploring the possibility of restarting a long-term police partnership.

“After carefully analyzing our needs and the available options, a potential renewed relationship with St. Anthony Village is a good fit for several reasons: level of service, physical proximity, logistics, financial considerations and – most importantly – the clear commitment the St. Anthony Village Police Department has to practices that align with the values of Falcon Heights residents,” said Linehan.

Linehan explained he recognizes the painful memories of the killing of Philando Castile the partnership may resurface.

“As we discuss a potential relationship, it’s imperative that we recognize Philando and the impact his killing had on all of us — including his loved ones, the communities of Falcon Heights and St. Anthony Village, our leaders and our staff, along with the members of the St. Anthony Police Department and their families,” he said.

Charlie Yunker, St. Anthony Village city manager, said the police department has been training on implicit bias, de-escalation, crisis intervention and communication since the shooting.

“We’re really confident in all the efforts that they’ve done and they’ve embraced this stuff fully,” Yunker said. “They have done a tremendous amount of work over the last few years.”

Philando Castile’s mom, Valerie, said in a phone interview that Falcon Heights gave her a heads-up about the possible partnership and she’s been a part of the conversation.

“I personally don’t have a problem with them partnering with St. Anthony Village again,” Valerie said. “I’m glad to see so many solutions so we don’t have this unnecessary loss of lives.”

The Falcon Heights City Council will join the St. Anthony Village City Council for a joint workshop on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in the St. Anthony Village Council Chambers to discuss the possible partnership.

The meeting is open to the public.