St. Cloud COP House Honored

St. Cloud COP House Honored Click to Enlarge Photo: Jake Judd (KNSI)

(KNSI) - The Richard C. Wilson St. Cloud Community Outpost or COP House celebrated their award for community engagement on Thursday.

The Justice L. Anthony Sutin Civic Imagination Award is given out by the U.S. Department of Justice to law enforcement agencies and community members who seek out unique ways to engage with the public and reduce crime.

St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson credits the work everyone put into the COP House.

"It means that this is only possible when a community comes together, stands together, and works together and that's what's happening here all the time."

Anderson talked about how he felt when St. Cloud was announced as the winner.

"I was humbled and extremely proud. The nominations come from all over it's just a testament to what's going on here and the impact and the impressions that we're trying to leave here in this community in a positive way."

Before it was the COP House, 600 13th Street South, had more than 100 police calls to it in five years.

After it went into foreclosure, St. Cloud Rotary gave a donation to get the ball rolling and the police department bought the home to turn it into the COP House.

There are reports of more COP Houses in the works.

Anderson says an impact study is underway to measure results from the current COP House and use that as the blueprint going forward.

Jade has lived in the Southside neighborhood for four years and says the COP House has made a difference.

"I hear stories of how bad it was, it was no good for the neighborhood at all now, you feel safer, you feel like you can go outside and things aren't going to be an issue."

The COP House officially opened in August of 2017 and is named after former Assistant Police Chief Richard C. Wilson, who died in February 2015 from cancer after 25-years of service on the police force.

His wife Sheri says the COP House helps keep her husband's memory alive.

"It's a great honor to have him remembered for his work here and with the community and community outreach."

Richard's daughter Liz says the lessons her father taught her are embodied in the COP House.

"To always be of service to others, to put others first, to be kind and to treat everybody with respect."

The COP Houses' goal is to provide another way for police officers to positively engage with the public and to strengthen those relationships.

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