ST. PAUL, Minn. - Officers with the St. Paul Police Department are literally growing stronger relationships with residents in one neighborhood.
For the past two summers, with the help of the University of Minnesota’s Extension Service, police and residents share a garden in St. Paul's Payne-Phalen neighborhood.
Cindy Rost has been a police officer for 20 years. She says building relationships with the community is important and planting seeds is a good analogy for what’s been happening at Bruce Vento Elementary School.
“Sometimes kids only have contact with officers when they come to their house usually to deal with a situation. This is a chance for them to see us in a different light,” she said.
Police say the Payne-Phalen neighborhood has the city's highest crime rate and with the recent officer-involved shootings in the Twin Cities and across the country, some communities are looking for better relationships with officers. People living near the garden say it's been a win-win.
“It's bringing more kids here and having them interact with officers that they may never have had before. Plus they are learning about nature and that’s amazing,” said Danette Allrich.