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St. Paul police hope a new website will help build trust with the community

The department believes it's the first law enforcement agency in the country to issue this kind of progress report.

The St. Paul Police Department is hoping to improve transparency and strengthen its relationship with the community with a new website.

The website details how the department is doing at implementing the best policing practices outlined in the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and the department believes it's the first law enforcement agency in the country to issue this kind of progress report, a news release says.

"There should be no questions among our community about what their police department is doing and how they are doing it," St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said in a statement. "We will use the website to hold ourselves accountable. I hope the public will do the same and use it to see how hard their officers are working to keep them safe, reduce crime and build meaningful relationships."

After the 21st Century Policing report was issued, Axtell launched a comprehensive review of the department's practices to make sure they aligned with the task force's more than 50 recommendations, which were based on six pillars: building trust and legitimacy; policy and oversight; technology and social media; community policing and crime reduction; officer training and education; and officer safety and wellness.

The department doesn't give itself an overall score of how well it's doing, but the Pioneer Press estimates the agency has accomplished about 84 percent of the recommendations, while the department says other recommendations require new initiatives.

All of it is laid out in the new website. For example, under the building trust and legitimacy section, there are nine recommendations that are applicable to law enforcement agencies. The St. Paul Police Department says it has established a practice in three of the nine recommendations.

Meanwhile other initiatives – like the department confronting past bias, establishing a culture of transparency and accountability, and diversifying the department – are still in the works (and there are details on what the department plans to do to implement them on the website).

Axtell says the goal of the website is to inform the public about what they're doing to build trust, be transparent and reduce crime, noting that the website will be updated as the department works towards implementing all of the task force's recommendations.

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