We have a crime problem in St Cloud, all the while our patrol officers who are amazing, hardworking public servants need our support. As part of that support I found out that there was a report done on efficiency in the department but I, as a private citizen, have been unable to get a copy of that report. I believe the report shows that we should have more officers. As a council person I will have better leverage to access such reports and give better (read some) transparency to the citizens and help our patrol officers do the job that they so bravely do everyday.
Some of the issues I want to help them be better equipped to address include sex trafficking. Yes, St. Cloud, Minnesota has a sex trafficking problem. Just do an internet search of St. Cloud, Minnesota sex trafficking and you will see an alert almost everyday. It is no wonder on the relocation sites for Realtors that our once happy little city receives a big fat F for crime.
We can change this but first we have to admit we have a problem. The data on rape in our area is very high as compared to the rest of the state and the argument that it is due to the college does NOT hold up as college enrollment has been in steady decline for the last 8 years. Rape has been on the rise over the same time period college enrollment has dropped by 40%. We are also having trouble with bombs and bomb look-alikes being located in the city (hence the need for the new bomb search police puppy) and of course there is the city's drug problem (and yes, we also have 2 drug dogs on patrol).
Please know that even though this sounds bad we can change it, but the first thing we have to do is honestly look at causes, then figure out the solutions. It is a hard and uncomfortable conversation, followed by even harder decisions, but together we can do this. We can Make St Cloud Great Again!
Last May, Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall and Waite Park police Chief Dave Bentrud gave an eye opening presentation at the Area Cities meeting on sex trafficking in central Minnesota. This is a very serious problem for all of us. This article on sex trafficking in St. Cloud/Central Minnesota came out in 2016 however it’s very timely.
“According to the Stearns County Attorney's Office, St. Cloud is number two in the state behind the Twin Cities in the number of ads for sex. Authorities have also learned St. Cloud is a "training ground" for pimps looking to traffic women for sex. The reasons are numerous.”
“The Central Minnesota Sex Trafficking Task Force has been seeing some success from their efforts. All 100 cases of men looking to buy sex have led to convictions. And, there have been at least three convictions of men who were trafficking women with more awaiting court hearings.”
The task force has been outstanding however I think they need more resources.
From: William Anderson Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2018 9:15:22 PM To: Elizabeth Cc: Dave Masters; John Palmer; Matthew Staehling; Dave Kleis; Carol Lewis; Jeff Goerger; George Hontos; Jeff Johnson; John Libert; Steve Laraway Subject: Re: 22 questions asked on Aug 6th St Cloud City Council
My apology for the delay in getting the written response to you. I have just recently finished up a previously scheduled community meeting to discuss our police/community relations agreement. Attached you will find the written answers to your questions. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any further law enforcement related questions.