The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 28, 2012

Brazilian delegation to study Mankato community policing model

By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — A delegation from Brazil that is traveling to the United States next week to learn about community policing is scheduled to make a stop Tuesday in Mankato.

Ten visitors and two interpreters from Recife, Brazil, will arrive in the Twin Cities Sunday and spend a couple of days there before traveling to Mankato, said Todd Miller, Mankato Department of Public Safety director. They will spend several days in Reno, Nev., and a few days in Little Rock, Ark., before leaving Dec. 12.

“It’s kind of a neat thing to host people from emerging countries,” Miller said.

The group — which includes government, police and military officials — will be focusing on police relationships with schools, neighborhoods and immigrant groups while touring Mankato.

They are working with the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitors Leadership Program. The program brings emerging foreign leaders to the United States to develop relationships with their counterparts here. The goal is to support the country’s foreign police goals, according to a Department of State website about the program.

Miller said Mankato was likely chosen as a stop, in part, because of his experience with the International Association of Chiefs of Police Community Policing Committee. Miller was at the forefront of developing the community policing model, which focuses on creating community partnerships to curb crime.

“Mankato is on the map nationally,” Miller said. “People know what we do here.

“It’s really the right way to do policing. It’s the most effective way to do policing because you have to involve the community.”

The city is now in the process of using the community policing model to develop similar relationships with all of its departments. As an example, Miller said police officers, park employees and public works employees worked together to solve a neighborhood dispute.

“Why would that just be a police issue when we can get others involved,” he said. “Then we can be more effective so we don’t have to keep going back.”

The group from Recife will share what they learn from the trip with other federal, state and city leaders in Brazil. In addition to touring Mankato’s new Public Safety Center, the group will be visiting Mankato schools to learn about immigrant programs and with representatives from the city’s neighborhood organizations.