By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been a trying year for law enforcement officers across the state and across the country.

Many, like St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson, are taking inventory of what’s working and what needs to be improved. He weighed in on the future of law enforcement in Minnesota.

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“It’s been a huge challenge. It’s been tension-filled,” said Chief Anderson.

Anderson doesn’t mince words when reflecting on the past year. He said his heart breaks for families who’ve lost a loved one during a police encounter. But he’s frustrated that his profession has become a target for some groups.

“The vast majority of men and women doing this job, 99% or better, are doing it the right way for the right reasons,” said Anderson.

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For St. Cloud Police, community relations is key. Anderson said he’s made it a priority and he continues to look for new ways to build relationships through various initiatives.

After the 3rd Precinct burned in Minneapolis, people planted flowers outside the St. Cloud Police Department and dropped off food.

“The people wanted to make sure we were fed. Make sure we were okay. It’s a good feeling to have that support,” said Anderson.

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He said he’s been able to add new officers ever year and morale is high in his department. But he’s concerned that lawmakers aren’t listening to him and others – by proposing police reform legislation he calls dangerous.

“The things that they are proposing are stupid. I’ll be honest with you. They are stupid, dangerous and they are going to get people killed,” said Anderson. “You know what? You want to ban no-knock warrants then don’t call me to come and raid that drug house that’s a blight in your community. Because in my experience where there are large quantities of drugs there are guns.”

As a Black man, Anderson said he knows what it’s like to be judged. And he is now asking people not to judge the men and women in law enforcement who are in it for the right reasons.

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“Judge people by how they come to you. I guess that’s how I was raised. You don’t lump people together because they have the same uniform or they have the same skin tone,” said Anderson. “That comes down to simple civility. We have to start being kinder to each other across the board. We’ve been through crisis before and we’ll make it through this one.”

Chief Anderson is also asking people not to believe everything they see and read on social media.

He calls some of the misinformation that’s spread dangerous for the public and for officers.

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John Lauritsen