St. Cloud Police Chief Talks 1-On-1 On Future Of Policing

Chief Blair Anderson doesn’t mince words when reflecting on the past year. He says his heart breaks for families who’ve lost a loved one during a police encounter, John Lauritsen reports (2:19). WCCO 4 News At 6 - April 23, 2021

Video Transcript

- It's been a trying year for law enforcement officers across the state and across the country. Many are taking an inventory of what's working and what needs to be improved. John Lauritsen spoke with St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson, who weighed in on the future of law enforcement in Minnesota.

- It's been a huge challenge. It's been tension filled.

- Chief Blair Anderson doesn't mince words when reflecting on the past year. He says his heart breaks for families who have lost a loved one during a police encounter, but he's frustrated that his profession has become a target for some groups.

BLAIR ANDERSON: The vast majority of men and women doing this job 99% or better are doing it the right way for the right reasons.

JOHN LAURITSEN: For St. Cloud police, community relations is key. Chief Anderson says, he's made it a priority, and he continues to look for ways to build relationships.

After the third precinct burned in Minneapolis, people planted flowers outside the St. Cloud Police Department and dropped off food.

- The people wanted to make sure that we were fed. They wanted to make sure that we were OK.

- Anderson says, he's been able to add new officers every year, and moral is high in his department. But he's concerned the lawmakers aren't listening to him and others by proposing police reform legislation he calls dangerous.

- And the things that they're proposing are stupid. I'm just going to be honest with you. They're stupid, and they're dangerous. And they're going to get people killed, so you know what? You want to ban no knock warrants? Then don't call me to come and raid that drug house that's a blight in your community. Because in my experience, I know where there are large quantities of drugs, there's guns.

- As a black man, Anderson says, he knows what it's like to be judged, and he's now asking people not to judge the men and women in law enforcement who are in it for the right reasons.

- Judge people how they come to you, right? I mean, I guess that's how I was raised, right? You don't lump people together. Because they wear the same uniform, or because they have the same skin tone. And that just comes back down to simple civility. We got to start being kinder to each other, I mean, across the board. We've been through crises before, and we'll make it through this one.

- In St. Cloud, John Lauritsen, WCCO 4 News.

- Chief Anderson is also asking people to not believe everything they see and read on social media. He calls some of the misinformation dangerous for the public and for officers.