St. Paul’s ‘PEACE’ plan dismisses the importance of enforcement

Last week St. Paul Mayor Carter held a press conference with other officials including US Senators Klobuchar and Smith, to announce the city’s $10 million plan to address public safety. The plan is titled PEACE, which is an acronym for prevention, environmental design, accountability, community action and enforcement.

That’s right — enforcement is dead last in the plan and that’s intentional. The Interim Chief of Police, in the unenviable position of having to champion these priorities, stated: 

“The last letter in the acronym ‘Peace’ stands for enforcement. It’s at the end of the acronym for a specific and intentional purpose.”

If our political leadership has not learned the importance of prioritizing enforcement over the past two years, we are in for more of the same. 

St. Paul, like so many other cities, is coming off a year of record murders, car jackings, and other crimes of violence. Its police force is down over 100 officers from its authorized strength. Citizens are tired and are deserving of a government that prioritizes their safety.  When exhaustion sets in, people and businesses give up and leave.

David P. Deavel an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas (Texas) recently shared this quote from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. It applies to the situation in St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“Starbucks is a window into America.” Schultz blasted the political leadership—all Democratic, by the way—of the cities where closures are happening: “At the local, state, and federal level, these governments across the country, and leaders—mayors and governors, city councils — have abdicated their responsibility in fighting crime and addressing mental illness.”

St. Paul’s public safety plan, and others like it, stand a better chance of success when a firm foundation is laid down first. Without a foundation of strong, supported enforcement, building programs designed around prevention, environmental design, community action and others will only look good until they “settle.” Restoring order and reclaiming the streets first will prevent the prompt settling of these well-intentioned programs. 

Let’s hope our citizens and businesses have stamina — it looks like they’ll need it in St. Paul.