Falcon Heights advances exploration of return to St. Anthony policing contract

The city councils of Falcon Heights and St. Anthony have directed staff to set up opportunities for community feedback on a proposal for the St. Anthony Police Department to take over policing in neighboring Falcon Heights.

The city councils met Thursday in a joint workshop to discuss a potential police services partnership. Although no formal action was taken, council members from both cities “expressed initial interest in beginning a multi-phase process to determine if a renewed partnership makes sense for each community,” the city of St. Anthony said Friday on its website.

Each council will meet separately for workshops the week of Feb. 12 to provide additional direction on in-person community engagement.

St. Anthony provided policing for Falcon Heights for 22 years, but Falcon Heights cut ties after St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez fatally shot 32-year-old Philando Castile of St. Paul on July 6, 2016.

After its breakup with St. Anthony police, Falcon Heights turned to the Ramsey County sheriff’s office for its law enforcement services. However, last March both sides agreed a change was needed, with the city administrator citing contract language and price and the sheriff mentioning a lack of proximity to other communities its deputies cover.

Meanwhile, St. Anthony’s police department has undergone years of work with the U.S. Department of Justice in response to the Castile shooting. The police department completed more than 1,600 training hours in 2023, and also now conducts an annual use of force analysis and shares the reports on the city’s website.

On Tuesday, the Ramsey County Board approved an agreement with Falcon Heights for the sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement services through the end of the year.

The cities of Falcon Heights and St. Anthony expect to announce details about the public engagement process in late February. In the meantime, community members can share initial feedback online through the cities’ websites.

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