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St. Paul Park Police department undergoing revisions, changes

Starting with a new mission statement, the St. Paul Park Police Department is preparing to roll out new a new vision statement, new values and new community outreach endeavors.

The recently completed mission statement will serve as the introduction to the revised policy manual police Chief Jessica Billmeyer is just starting to work on.

The statement reads: "It is the mission of the members of the Saint Paul Park Police Department to protect the lives, property, and rights of the citizens of Saint Paul Park while enforcing laws impartially and maintaining our honor and integrity."

"It's short and sweet, and that's the purpose of it," Billmeyer said.

The vision and values statements are up next, she said. The department hasn't had a vision statement before.

To draft the mission, vision and values statements, Billmeyer reached out to the officers for their perspectives and what their department values and vision, and "conglomerated" those, she said.

"I want to know what my officers' core values are," she said.

Next up will be the policy manual, which Billmeyer said still has some codes in it from 1989.

"When some were written, we didn't even have computers," she said. "We need it electronic, and some (policies) are not applicable any more."

The revised manual won't put any extra requirements on the officers, Billmeyer said.

"If anything it might make it a little more workable for the officers," she said.

Some of her work on the manual will be determining what should be policy and what should be procedure.

"A policy (officers) need to stand by and follow, (and) sometimes get called into court; it protects everyone a little bit more," Billmeyer said. "Policy violations can get written up. Procedures really can't. They're more guidelines."

The revision phase is still in its infancy, Billmeyer said, but will become more concrete in the coming months.

Depending on what they can get in the city's budget and the committee of officers comes up with in terms of design, the eight officers, one community service officer and Billmeyer may be getting newly designed badges.

The current badges have been in use since the early 1990s, Billmeyer said.

She said they might be moving forward with body cameras for 2018 as well.

Community engagement

In the absence of the D.A.R.E. program, the department is trying to find new ways to reach out to the community.

Billmeyer said currently they are working on a bike safety event in late spring.

"We'll set up a course, check bikes for safety," she said. "Kids can learn tips and tricks."

The "bike rally" will be a way to test the waters, Billmeyer said. If the event goes well, the department will look into more outreach with kids or adults.

"If it's successful we'll see where to go from there," she said. "It's whatever the community is asking for."

Billmeyer said she'd like to get together with senior citizens in the community next.

It can be tricky getting the officers' tight schedules to fit with events, she said, so a lot of the outreach will come from reserves volunteering their time for the events.

"They may not be actually sworn, but they reflect who we are," she said.