The trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is set to start in early March in Minneapolis. For many this will be a difficult time as the death of George Floyd is revisited throughout the trial. During this time, we encourage you to check in with your neighbors and to be supportive of one another.

You may have concerns about the safety of the community both during and after the trial, given the activity that took place last summer in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The St. Louis Park Police Department’s first obligation is to protect the sanctity of human life and to treat everyone with respect and dignity. As a police department, we will not interfere with anyone’s right to free speech and assembly. We are committed to providing people with the space they need to demonstrate peacefully.

At the same time we will not allow unlawful behavior or the destruction of property. That behavior threatens the safety of all residents and the stability of our community.

For several months, the St. Louis Park Police Department has been preparing to ensure the safety of our community during and after the trial. Police staffing has been increased to help monitor the safety of residents, visitors, businesses, public facilities and other property. We have been coordinating with other local, state and federal agencies for the past several months and will continue that coordination throughout the trial and afterward as needed to ensure safety of our residents.

We encourage you to follow the city on social media (@stlouispark) and on Nextdoor (nextdoor.com). Be sure to sign up for notifications through ParkAlert (stlouispark.org/parkalert) as well as GovDelivery (stlouispark.org/sign-up). These methods, in addition to information on the city website at stlouispark.org, will be used to keep residents informed as needed throughout the trial.

Continue to be aware of your surroundings. If you see something, say something. Help us protect our community. If you have questions or concerns, call the non-emergency number at 952-924-2618 or call 911 for emergencies.

Mike Harcey is the St. Louis Park police chief.

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