Bismarck Police Officers Spark Conversation with Community Members

People expect to see police in a time of need, but the Bismarck Police Department is revamping this idea.

RenĂ©e Cooper walked the streets with one of the BPD officers who is working to build relationships with the community before a 911 call is made.

Sergeant Tim Sass says, “It’s not a new idea in police work to go back to foot patrol and community policing; face-to-face interaction, but it’s one we just haven’t done for awhile here in Bismarck.”

Officers like Sergeant Sass have been out at Urban Harvest every Thursday. It’s not about patrolling, it’s about community engagement.

Sergeant Sass says it’s important for police to get to know members of their city on a personal level.

Bismarck resident Crystal Askvig adds, “They’re so approachable and I think that’s great. I think our community needs to see that, I think kids especially need to see that and learn that.”

The goal is to hit every business in Bismarck.

Sergeant Sass explains, “We’ve probably done, I think, around 75 businesses so far in Bismarck. When you really start walking the streets and the city blocks, you realize how many businesses there really are in town.”

Sergeant Sass says giving out stickers to the kids is one of his favorite parts of foot patrol.

Bethany Just got a sticker.

She says, “It’s like a free chance to meet a police officer and so I think that’s cool.”

Sergeant Sass sums up the effort best, “You know, just having a conversation, not always ‘what’s wrong’ or seeing us when they need us in a time of need, but just being able to talk to them on a personal level and show the human side of police work.”

Sergeant Sass is not the only officer you’ll see out and about. He told us the BPD started this effort a couple weeks ago and plans to keep it going.

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