There’s strong support in New Brighton for police wearing body cameras, according to a new survey.
Results of an online poll released last week to the city’s Public Safety Commission show support from 87 percent of those expressing an opinion.
The survey drew nearly 600 responses, a good showing compared with other suburbs.
Support came from 442 respondents, while only 17 expressed opposition. Fifty-one respondents said they were undecided and 63 didn’t answer the question, showing there’s still some uncertainty surrounding the issue.
There was strong support for the notion that cameras improve trust and help to hold officers more accountable. A smaller majority agreed with the proposition that cameras will “decrease the use of force incidents.”
More than nine in 10 of those responding said they live in New Brighton; the balance said they either work there, go to school there or belong to faith communities within its borders.
Council eyes senior housing for busy corner
High-density senior housing may be coming to a closely watched site on the southwest corner of Lexington and 109th avenues.
The Blaine City Council approved the general concept and land use for a retail and housing development in a 6-1 vote at an Aug. 3 council meeting. The development was proposed by St. Paul-based Wellington Management, and the senior housing piece would be handled by Plymouth-based Dominium.
“It’s an important site,” Mayor Tom Ryan said at the meeting. “With the growth of seniors coming up, I think it’s going to be necessary.”
Early plans call for a four-story apartment building with 189 units, which would be located on about 6 acres of the 32-acre development. Amenities may include a community room, fitness center and private apartment balconies.
Council Member Wes Hovland voted against the land use amendment needed for the residential project.
“I just don’t feel that this is the proper location for the senior housing,” he said. “In my mind, that whole site should remain commercial.”
Work on the site could begin as early as next spring, pending further city approval and financing.
More funding sought to fight sex trafficking
When Washington County Attorney Pete Orput started a major crimes unit a few years ago, it was funded with a two-year state grant.
With that money disappearing by year’s end, he appealed last week to the County Board to provide funding in the 2018 budget to continue the initiative.
“Sex trafficking has become a really big deal,” said Orput, who pointed to several convictions his attorneys have won against traffickers who control and abuse girls, and against men who try to buy sex from the girls. “People think they can be anonymous by pulling out their phones and ordering a kid up.”
Commissioners indicated their support for the initiative. “You have a strong partner in this board,” said Karla Bigham.
Lisa Weik, who chairs the board, told Orput: “You were like a weather forecaster. You saw that dark cloud coming a few years ago.”
The board will decide on Orput’s budget requests and those of other county divisions in September.
Sheriff’s Office gets donation for K-9 team
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office has added a new K-9 team, thanks to a $10,000 donation from two area residents.
Lisa and Paul Meunier, of Ham Lake, made the donation in honor of Lisa’s father, Al Heinz, a longtime Roseville police officer. Their contribution paid for the dog, named Heinz, as well as training, according to a news release.
Deputy Cole Bangerter and Heinz began their patrol assignment on July 31. The Sheriff’s Office has a total of six K-9 teams, Cmdr. Paul Sommer said.
Leaders seek resident feedback on parks
Ramsey County is seeking the help of residents in improving and perhaps even adding to the stock of county parks, with county officials turning to an online survey to determine who uses the parks and what needs improving.
One goal, they say, is to help “determine what steps to take to ensure all communities in Ramsey County have adequate access to our parks and open spaces.”
The survey can be accessed at surveymonkey.com/r/RCParksSystemPlan.