Panel will discuss improved policing in Falcon Heights

A group of Falcon Heights residents called Falcon Heights We Can Do Better will host a panel discussion on setting a new direction for policing in Falcon Heights on Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. at Falcon Heights United Church of Christ, 1795 Holton St.

Panel participants will discuss the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, racial equity, police training, policing models and residents’ roles in improving policing. This discussion is intended to help inform the work of a proposed Falcon Heights citizens’ work group on community policing.

Panel participants will include Melvin Carter Jr., retired St. Paul police sergeant and founder of Save Our Sons (SOS), an organization that works with at-risk African- American young men; Mindy Greiling, former member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, who will present findings from the Roseville Area League of Women Voters’ study on policing in Falcon Heights and neighboring suburbs; Teresa Nelson, legal director, American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU); and Jeff Martin, president, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), St. Paul. Sarah Greenman, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University, will moderate the panel.

Falcon Heights We Can Do Better is a group of residents who began meeting in July after Philando Castile was shot and killed in Falcon Heights by a St. Anthony Police officer on July 6.

“What brought us together is frustration with the lack of responsiveness from our city council,” said We Can Do Better member Paula Mielke. The group meets weekly and includes a past mayor and city council member.

In August, the group submitted a resolution for a Falcon Heights task force to be formed to review current and explore other policing models. The Sept. 29 panel discussion is intended to help inform the work of the proposed citizens’ work group on community policing

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