DOWNTOWN WEST — The Minneapolis Police Department First Precinct held its 10th annual open house May 18.
“We have it every year to show the community what we are, and what we are all about,” said Sgt. Dave Hansen.
In front of the police station, 19 4th St. N., vehicles from the Bomb Squad, Canine, Horse Patrol, S.W.A.T Team and the Minneapolis Fire Department line the block. Sectioned off from traffic, members of the precinct stood around their vehicles in their designated uniforms with informational displays.
“We want people to see the department, to talk a little bit and to show some of the toys and the fun stuff the police department has,” Hansen said.
The open house encourages community members to walk and talk with the officers of every department and ask questions as they see fit.
“If people have questions or want to know why we do what we do, there are a lot of officers here to answer those questions,” Hansen said.
The tools, equipment and vehicles are open to the public’s curiosity as well as the doors of the police station. Horses, dogs, officers and neighbors mingled within and without the building, conversing over plates of food.
“We hope to provide a positive experience for people who live in the area. Here they can ask and find the real answers instead of what they hear on the street or think they know,” Hansen said.
According to Hansen, the idea is to have people see cops as people instead of just bodies that respond to emergency calls and bad situations.
“Too often police officers are viewed as robots who just show up when they are needed,” said John Peterson, a neighbor within the community.
Peterson’s wife Sue introduced him to the Open House. Both agree that they come for the food but stay to show their support.
“The open house helps get people closer to the department and see what they are doing here,” Peterson said.
Out in the city there isn’t much time for one on one, person-to-person dialogue. The Minneapolis Police Department First Precinct’s Annual Open House provides an opportunity for connection.
It lends itself to better communication between officer and neighbor. It gives time to questions, answers, and laughs. All the while providing a great outing that fortifies the Police Departments’ connection to the community.