RPD supports downtown businesses with increased patrol

RPD supports downtown businesses through the Downtown Resource Officer program.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – During the past year, the Rochester Police Department and downtown businesses have been working closely together to make downtown safer for everyone. It’s part of the RPD Downtown Resource Officer Program.

According to RPD crime statistics, more serious offenses are down from March of last year to March of this year. However, the number of trespassing incidents have gone up.

“We needed more patrol, we were starting to see more problems with crime, with homelessness,” RPD downtown resource officer Dan Swanson said.

RPD says the increase of report trespassing incidents because the program has strengthened the relationship between RPD and downtown businesses owners.

But instead of patrolling in squad cars, downtown resource officers are on foot.

“Just foot patrol, getting around, seeing people, talking, dealing with issues as they come up,” deputy Swanson said.

Officers say patrolling on foot makes it easier to interact with community members.

“It’s quick, it’s a lot of face-to-face. You’re seeing the people in the streets. You can’t get a squad in the skyways,” deputy Swanson said.

RPD has also fostered a close relationship with downtown business owners through this program.

“Us being able to help. Just somebody waving us down saying hey I need help. Great, we’re right there. Nobody has to call,” deputy Swanson said.

Business owners say they are grateful for the increased patrol.

“It kind of takes a lot of pressure off of people, business owners and anybody, when they see them, we have a point of contact now that we can call if we need to trespass somebody,” Victoria’s Restaurant owner Natalie Victoria said.

RPD now checks in weekly with business owners, creating an open line of communication between officers and staff members.

“Getting to know them on a first name basis is huge, to get their perspective of what’s going on, because they’re down here every single day,” RPD downtown resource officer Alex Ziemann said.

“It’s really fostered into a friendship, and it’s really been a blessing,” Victoria said.

The downtown police officers patrol every weekday from 7:30 in the morning until 6:30 at night around the entire downtown area, but patrol officers cover downtown seven days a week day and night.

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