New Policing Policy Helps Officers Connect to Grand Forks Community

Police officers are hoping to become familiar faces around Grand Forks.

A new method of policing is designed to improve communication between police and those they protect.
Tensions between police and the public are high in spots around the country.

That doesn’t seem to be the case in Grand Forks, where officers are making themselves known in the neighborhoods they patrol.
Downtown is where it’s at for Cpl Jon Lampi.

The 18 year-police veteran is one of the first officers to volunteer for sector policing.
“Get to see the same businesses. Get to see the same faces. I get to learn their names. I get to find out what makes each business tick,” says Cpl. Lampi.
Sector policing started last month in Grand Forks.

Instead of patrolling a different part of the city each day, a dozen officers are now embedded in one of four sectors.
“We wanted to designate officers who would take ownership of these areas,” says Lt. Bill Macki with Grand Forks Police.
So far, the results are promising.
Cpl Lampi adds, “I’ve been able to meet the businesses here along South 3rd and get to know the owners one-on-one.”
Rachael Eider, owner of clothing shop RH Standard , says it’s important to have an officer, “walking around. Having him be a friendly person. He’s not a scary person. He’s not just down here to arrest someone. He’s down here to see how things are going.”
Business owners say officers don’t have to be aggressive or make arrests in order to make a difference.

They say just having a continuous presence in each sector helps make the community safer.
“Because there is kind of a consistent police presence I do feel it’s a bit of a deterrent,” offers Eider.
Lampi says now he can focus on issues facing downtown more, with the perspective to offer solutions.
“It gives you a sense of accomplishment,” he says. “It gives you a sense of pride.”
“We appreciate it,” adds Eider. “It’s pretty fantastic.”
The Grand Forks Police Department is committing long-term to sector policing.

Officers will patrol their individual sectors until at least October of 2017.