To gauge how effective it is, the Nisswa Police Department surveyed the citizens it works for in the community.
Now the five-person department plans to address some concerns that were mentioned most frequently, such as traffic enforcement, said police chief Craig Taylor.
With recent criticism and distrust of government, and police departments being one of the most visible extensions of government, Taylor said he decided to do the survey to get as accurate an accounting as possible of how the public perceives Nisswa police.
He sent 100 voluntary surveys to random, anonymous addresses with room for comments, suggestions and criticisms. The department received 39 surveys back in two weeks for a 41 percent response rate (five surveys were undeliverable).
For the most part, responses were favorable, Taylor said, noting he appreciates the time and thought people returning surveys put into them.
"I asked for input, and we are going to take that input and concentrate on some of the things the public wants," Taylor said.
When asked what officers could do to improve their service, most respondents cited some form of traffic enforcement, including patrolling speeders on residential streets and highways as well as drivers who pass on the right or speed through the stoplights at Sportland Corner.
Many respondents cited specific roads where they wanted speed limits enforced. One respondent asked police to "protect us from the aggressive weekend summer drivers."
Last weekend police put a trailer showing vehicles' speeds on Highway 371 where the speed limit drops to 45 mph through Nisswa. Also, police will focus more on specific roads that citizens mentioned for traffic enforcement.
Another person wrote, "If you see me walking and you aren't busy, stop and say hello. You'd get to know your citizens and we'd get to know you."
Two respondents suggested foot or bike patrols downtown as a way to be more visible.
When asked what they like best about the department, officers were commended on their approachability and willingness to provide feedback, as well as their friendliness.
Answers to what they disliked about the department included lax traffic law enforcement by one person and lack of professionalism by another.
The majority of comments were favorable and praised the department for doing a good job.
The police department also is on Facebook as a way to educate the public and reach out to the community to find agreeable solutions to any problems.
"We're going to listen," Taylor said. "We are here to serve them (citizens). It's their right to express their concerns and let us work with them. People should feel comfortable coming to us."
Anyone wanting to contact Taylor can reach him at city hall at 963-4444 or email@example.com.
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