Falcon Heights, St. Anthony Village city officials reconsider policing partnership

Sam Estes translates at the city council meeting.
A St. Anthony Village City Council Meeting on Oct. 11, 2016.
Sam Harper | MPR News 2016

The Falcon Heights City Council is meeting with the St. Anthony Village City Council Thursday evening to explore whether to resume the cities’ policing relationship seven years after it was terminated following Philando Castile’s killing by a St. Anthony police officer.

Since 2017, Falcon Heights has contracted with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department for policing services. Falcon Heights is finalizing a contract with the sheriff’s department through the end of this year. 

A recent study and resident survey by the Center for Values-Based Initiatives found that resuming the policing contract with St. Anthony makes sense for Falcon Heights. 

Falcon Heights City Administrator Jack Linehan said in a statement that the study found the policing contract with St. Anthony Village was a good fit for Falcon Heights due to proximity, logistics and cost. He acknowledged that the renewed “partnership will raise concerns and painful memories of the killing of Philando Castile in our city.”

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“As we discuss a potential relationship, it’s imperative that we recognize Philando and the impact his killing had on all of us — including his loved ones, the communities of Falcon Heights and St. Anthony Village, our leaders and our staff, along with the members of the St. Anthony Police Department and their families,” Linehan said. 

Since Castile’s killing, officials with the cities said the St. Anthony Police Department have enacted reforms working with the U.S. Department of Justice including implicit bias, de-escalation and crisis intervention training for officers.

Photo of police chief
Jeff Spiess, chief of St. Anthony Police.
City of St. Anthony Village

St. Anthony Village City Manager Charlie Yunker said in a statement that “our officers were proud to previously serve the Falcon Heights community for more than 20 years and given the size and location of our two communities, it makes sense to explore a renewed partnership with Falcon Heights.” 

Jeff Spiess is to be sworn in on Feb. 13 St. Anthony’s police chief. He is replacing Jon Mangseth, who had been with the department for 29 years.

The councils will not make a formal decision on the proposal at Thursday’s meeting.