Recognizing Police and Diversity

I challenged my own biases on Sunday when we hosted St. Louis Park Police Officer Paul Barnes who gave a presentation about safe interactions with police. With the increased killings of unarmed people of color, I wanted to think most officers were probably racist and/or dangerous. Officer Barnes changed my opinion. He told us about the requirements and training practices for police officers in St. Louis Park and answered our questions about them. He laid out some of the standards in training that are mandated by law including “Recognizing and Valuing Diversity and Cultural Differences.”

In a follow-up email, Officer Barnes said, “as a response to recent police community encounters the City of St. Louis Park has started a race and equity training. Currently all supervisors in the city are engaged in the training. I have volunteered to be a liaison to our department …then will be expected to be a leader in our department in talking about these issues.” He went on to say “at the police department level the state of Minnesota requires every police department to have a bias policing policy.”

Not only was mind changed, but my heart, too. Now, whenever I hear sirens, I feel some anxiety for Officer Barnes and say a prayer. I share this personal story because by God’s grace, I am being transformed everyday just as I hope you are.

There is no better time in history to share this good news – God is still speaking and I’m trying to listen and respond. Are you?
Pr. Barb

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