Rochester Police Department introduces new initiative to better understand minority communities

Local law enforcement agencies are rolling out a new program to bridge the gap between officers and minority communities.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 8:17 PM
Updated: Sep 11, 2019 7:34 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - It's no surprise the city of Rochester is growing and becoming another melting pot in Minnesota.

With all the growth, local law enforcement agencies are rolling out a new program to bridge the gap between officers and minority communities.

It's called the "New Americans Academy."

The hope is that the program will build trust, understanding and communication between immigrants and law enforcement.

“It helps us communicate with the immigrant community,” said Rochester Police Sergeant John Mitchell.

He’s leading the effort with other local agencies on a series of workshops between the public and law enforcement with the goal of getting a better understanding of how law enforcement protects the community.

“Try to make it so they're not afraid to call us, they're not afraid to approach us ... just to make a better community overall,” he said.

It's a long time coming for Ahmed Osman.

He works for the Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association in Rochester.

He tells KIMT law enforcement has been working on this new program for a while to address the divide between immigrant communities.

The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office, Rochester Fire Department and the county attorney's office are just some of the agencies apart of the "New Americans Academy."

“The other side of the aisle, understand who are these people, what they endured, what they went through and see what we can work out,” he said.

Agencies say they are working to continue to build trust in the growing diverse community.

“We just want to give back ... they've invited us and we want to invite them. We want to give them the opportunity to see what we do, to meet the people that serve them,” said Sergeant Mitchell.

The first meeting will be October 1st at The Law Enforcement Center from 6-9 pm.

It will go over 911 calls and policing the community.

To get involved email: jbmitchell@rochestermn.gov 

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