On this MLK Day, Black law enforcement leaders reflect on the state of policing
It’s 2022, and black leaders in the law enforcement community say they are troubled by the lack of black police officers in Minnesota.
"Right now we have less than 200 black cops, out of about 11,000, we have been losing black officers, we have not been gaining in Minnesota," said Booker Hodges, Assistant Commissioner at the Department of Public Safety.
"We should be in a business of recruiting African-Americans to join the police department," added Attorney General of Minnesota, Keith Ellison.
At a virtual gathering, these leaders shared insight on policing today.
Blair Anderson is the police chief in St. Cloud.
"We’ve got people working in this job now who are scared, they are terrified and to me that’s more dangerous than anything because that’s going to create more inaction than we need, and that’s when people start to get hurt," Anderson said.
Roger New the police chief in Eagan.
"We have to make it okay to do policing in our community, we have to make it okay for officers to go out and do their job," he said.
They discussed where help is needed, from a corrections point of view.
"More equitable funding hands-down, we need more resources to deal with a complex issues we are facing," shared Suwana Kirkland, Director of Dakota County Community Corrections.
Attorney General Ellison said he could put at least 10 more prosecutors to work right now.
"We feel we could do more but we need the supports to do it," he added.
When asked about concerns our state isn’t as safe as it once was, Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said we all need to reflect on this.
"We’re not going to police ourselves out of problems, this will take all of us to come up with solutions, and that comes back to raising our children, how are we supporting them and what are our communities doing to demonstrate what is lawful behavior," Harrington said.