Why is Falcon Heights looking for a new police partnership?
Falcon Heights has been looking for a long-term fit for policing services since 2022 when the city’s existing contract with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office (RCSO) was set to expire on December 31, 2023. Falcon Heights has contracted with the RCSO for policing services since January 1, 2018.
The city partnered with the Center for Values-Based Initiatives in 2022 and 2023 to analyze the existing RCSO police services contract and resident satisfaction with law enforcement within the city. The process included community engagement to gather resident feedback.
Why is Falcon Heights ending its partnership with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO)?
Falcon Heights and the RCSO mutually agreed in March 2023 that Falcon Heights should explore law enforcement options that are a better long-term fit, primarily for logistical reasons.
For example, the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t provide police services to any cities adjacent to Falcon Heights. Additional staff are required to ensure a safe and timely response within Falcon Heights. Deputies on patrol in other contract communities need to travel through Roseville or Saint Paul, often at high speeds, in order to provide backup support to emergencies in Falcon Heights.
The City and Sheriff’s Office are in the process of finalizing a one-year contract through December 31, 2024.
Why not create a Falcon Heights Police Department?
Police services are some of the largest expenses for city governments, and it’s challenging for small communities to hire and retain law enforcement professionals in a competitive market. This is not a strictly financial decision, however, contracting with a neighboring community is more feasible than creating a standalone Falcon Heights police department.
What is Falcon Heights looking for in a police services partner?
The City wants a partnership that makes sense logistically, is financially feasible and, most importantly, reflects the policing approach and priorities community members have identified.
The City expects that respect for all will be the foundation for policing in Falcon Heights with the following priorities: emergency response, cultural competence and community engagement, informative policing, and prioritization of serious moving violations.
Additionally, the partner should place an emphasis on building positive police-community relationships, recognizing that mutual safety is built through mutual trust. A partner should also conduct extensive training that focuses on de-escalation, cultural competency, and explicit and implicit bias, along with mental health care and community relationship building.
The selected partner will also be asked to provide data reporting and transparency through ongoing data analysis, public feedback and open communication.