Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers. Send questions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.
What is our local law enforcement doing to improve relationships between themselves and the minorities in the community to ensure that we don’t encounter some of the problems that other areas of our state are having between the minority community and law enforcement?
While many departments within the nation are currently trying to repair relationships within their communities, this is something Scottsbluff Police Department has always made a priority. Fortunately, there is already a positive relationship with most people within our community.
The mission of the Scottsbluff Police Department is to “enhance safety, service, and trust with our community:” Keeping our community safe by preventing citizens from becoming victims of crime or from being injured in traffic collisions; Providing excellent service to the numerous requests we receive from the community; Our principle duty is to serve; Maintaining the trust of our community. This trust provides every department member with the foundation required to carry out our duties. Without trust, we simply do not have the authority to serve our public.
The Scottsbluff Police Department (as well as many other local agencies) has been involved in many programs with the intention of community outreach and relationship building for years. Some of those programs include; Coffee with a Cop, Shop with a Cop, and National Night Out. Members of the department are often present for events like; Kidz Explore, Safe Kids Day and YMCA Safety Day, to name a few.
Coffee with a Cop has been hosted by several local businesses and is a nationally recognized program designed to bring police officers and community members together in an open forum over a cup of coffee to discuss issues and learn more about each other.
The local Shop with a Cop program is organized by the Gering Police Department each year. More and more agencies within Scotts Bluff County have joined the cause each year. Each child is given money to purchase Christmas gifts for their family members. The children are paired up with officers and deputies for their shopping trip.
All of the money comes from donations. Departments do fundraisers, police unions donate, as well as businesses and civilians from within the community. For 2020 specifically, Leadership Scottsbluff put on its annual Hoops for Heroes fundraiser and the Shop with a Cop program was one of three to receive a donation.
Shop with a Cop fosters positive relationships centered on mutual trust and respect between youth and local law enforcement agencies. The children are selected based on the criteria of financial need, staying in school, fighting adversity and avoiding a criminal lifestyle.
If you have any suggestions on additional relationship building between law enforcement and other members of the community, please submit your ideas. We would love to hear them.