Richfield interim mayor Mike Howard called for the city’s police department to be equipped with body cameras during his State of the City address Monday.

“I would like us to develop a plan to implement body cameras for use departmentwide,” Howard said in his address at City Hall. “I am confident that our efforts to build trust and increase transparency will pay great dividends.”

Howard did not say how much the program would cost or when it would be implemented, but he asked the City Council to boost financial investment on the police for this purpose. Richfield would be following the lead of the Minneapolis Police Department, which began using body cameras last year.

In a short address centered on the theme of diversity, Howard also proposed the creation of an equity task force to improve opportunity in the city.

Howard, a council member, was appointed mayor following Debbie Goettel’s departure for the Hennepin County Board in January. A special election for the vacant position will held Tuesday.

Miguel Otárola

Eden Prairie

What’s new again: Old street signs for sale

Eden Prairie is selling more than 140 outmoded street signs as part of a city fundraiser for historical education and preservation efforts.

The city is one among several west metro suburbs selling old street signs that have to be replaced to comply with updated federal rules. Other cities, such as St. Louis Park and Golden Valley, have also worked with local historical societies to sell old street signs.

In Eden Prairie, each sign is $30 and benefits the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission. To see which signs are available or to purchase one online, go to

Kelly Smith


Fees set for organized trash hauling services

The Bloomington City Council on Monday updated its organized trash hauling contract and charter to include new services and fees.

The revised contract and amended city code list fees for additional yard waste carts, holiday tree pickup and curbside cleanup services for townhouses.

The city will charge $35 for additional cart exchanges, $25 for pickups beyond the regular collection day and $10 for late set-out collection.

Bloomington switched to an organized trash hauling system in October. The program faced two lawsuits from a group of residents who wanted to keep trash collection privatized.

“Admittedly, there had been sort of a rocky road to implementation,” Mayor Gene Winstead said. “Things are definitely settling down in the solid waste collection services, and it’s working well now.”

Miguel Otárola

Northwest metro

Annual forum to be held on race issues

The northwest metro suburbs are hosting a fourth-annual community forum Saturday, this one aimed at starting conversations about race in the community.

The free event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Brooklyn Park Community Activity Center, 5600 85th Av. N. Author Alexs Pate will be the keynote speaker.

The forum is sponsored by the cities of Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove, Osseo Area Schools, African Immigrant Services, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, the Joint Community Police Partnership and the Northwest Suburban Integration School District. To register for the event, go to

Kelly Smith

Brooklyn Center

City, Wal-Mart finalizing police agreement

Local police may soon be paid by Wal-Mart to patrol its Brooklyn Center store in an effort to reduce crime at a location that has logged the city’s most police calls in recent years.

City Council members on Monday approved the policing agreement between Brooklyn Center and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Under the agreement, the retailer will pay the city for a police officer to be stationed at the store from 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Details of the agreement will be finalized over the next few weeks, said Police Chief Tim Gannon.

Since the store opened in 2012, it has been the biggest single source of Brooklyn Center’s police calls. Other metro area cities have devised similar policing contracts with respect to their Wal-Mart stores.

The hope, Gannon said, is for local police to begin their contracted patrols by the end of March.

Hannah Covington