EP Police Chief Greg Weber Part 2: Diversity, COVID
Chief Weber seeking diversity on the EP police department
Chief Greg Weber said he is a strong supporter of diversity in the EP police force. “We always look at diversifying the police department. How do we reflect the community we serve, not only from an ethnic background, a gender background but also mindset?”
Diversity on the police force helps to bring a comprehensive set of strengths and perspectives to serving the community, according to Weber. “If we had 70 school resource officers we’d fail miserably. If we had 70 computer forensics officers we’d fail miserably. We need different passions and different strengths and interest levels within our organization to provide comprehensive services.”
Weber said that he’s looking for young people who represent diverse communities who might have be considering a career in police work. He is interested in a diversity in his staff, and extends an open invitation to individuals from various ethnic communities to consider joining the police force in Eden Prairie.
Chief Weber invited young people in the community to consider a career in policing starting with the Explorer Program. “We’ve got an Explorer Program where we can get kids interested, from a diversity standpoint. If you have young men or this young women with a desire to serve and are empathetic. They would be very valuable to us as an organization.”
The chief continued, “One of the things that we’ve come to learn through the diversification process and our desire to make sure we have a diverse workforce is talking to our officers of color saying how does diversity breed more diversity. We’re learning that you can look at gender, you can look at ethnic background, but one of the critical things is the culture or the environment in which you grew up.”
He maintained, “To get a person who feels that they could fit in as a police officer in Eden Prairie, their upbringing, almost needs to be in an environment like Eden Prairie, a suburban environment. You get more buy in or more of a desire or more of an investment of that individual to serve in the community.”
Impact of COVID on police
On the one hand, people in Eden Prairie may well find getting stopped by the police an unwelcome experience. On the other hand, Chief Weber noted that during the COVID-19 crisis the EP police department staff drive to work daily, and don’t have flexibility to work from home. They frequently encounter lack of social distancing, drivers without masks during traffic stops.
The chief explained, “When people don’t feel well they call 911, and my staff responds. The caller might have the Coronavirus but the staff provides patient care to them, and all things they need to do, and they are happy to do.”
The exposure to the general public and varying attitudes about the COVID pandemic though, can put a strain on officers and their families, noted Weber. After the officers work with the public for 8-10 hours they return home to their families, noted Weber. The family member’s response may well be “You just went to work for 8-10 hours, you were exposed to how many people?” he said. “That can put a strain in that family.”
See here for Part 1 with Police Chief Greg Weber speeding and distracted driving
Editor’s note: Vijay B. Dixit is the chairman of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation which promotes distraction-free driving educational programming and legislation.