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Local law enforcement goes 'Beyond the Badge' to help build community relationships

KAAL-TV
Updated: February 21, 2020 07:33 PM
Created: February 21, 2020 07:32 PM

(ABC 6 News)- In 2019, Rochester Police Chief Jim Franklin announced the 'Beyond the Badge' program in an effort to better connect the community with the people who protect it. 

The program focuses on partnerships with several different organizations including the Boys and Girls club Rochester, the Women's Shelter and Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. 

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Officer Andrew Thoma with the Rochester Police Department said this programs helps a lot with building trust, "One of the biggest challenges is just building trust with the community for law enforcement, and I believe starting with a lot of organizations that are already doing that, joining their team basically and continuing that partnership within the community is very important."

The ten recruits spent the week visiting the six organizations they'll be working with in the future, and one of the officers in training said this experience helped her to see how often law enforcement share life experiences with the people the encounter.

"We may be wearing that uniform but we're people just like them. We go home, we may have our struggles we may have issues that we're going through    just like someone that we may come into contact with," said Chantel Powell.

The recruits shared each of their experiences from the organization they worked with, and Officer Thoma said each year they want to expand and continuing building their partnerships and connections in the community.


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