Retired St. Paul Police Chief Bill Finney on Mediating Civil Rights

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During an interview with The UpTake’s Grace Kelly, retired St. Paul police chief Bill Finney described how good community policing practices built goodwill in the community, so that when St Paul faced a policing crisis, the community still responded with support. Finney described a humorous story when he had to mediate civil rights between different groups involved in a political protest at a fundraiser for President Bush.

Chief Finney also discussed the difficulties of change in a police force. Finney was in charge when new rules requiring diversity, gender balance and the end of height requirements were implemented. Over time, the different generations also had different styles of accepting change. Training has also had to change to fill in backgrounds of suburban officers who did not understand urban culture.

View more clips from Grace Kelly’s interview below.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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