Falcon Heights Seeking New Policing Options in Wake of Yanez Verdict

St. Anthony’s city council will vote on July 11 to discontinue their service contract with city

police,
Image Credit: Preya Samsundar/Alpha News

ST. ANTHONY, Minn. — The city of Falcon Heights will be searching for a new police department to provide public safety to their community.

St. Anthony’s city council will vote on July 11 to discontinue their service contract with the St. Paul suburb following the death of Philando Castile.

Office Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile in 2016 during a routine traffic stop was charged by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and was acquitted late last month when a jury cleared him of all charges.

Immediately following the verdict, the city of St. Anthony announced, “that the public would be best served if Officer Yanez was no longer a police officer in our city. The city intends to offer Officer Yanez a voluntary seperation agreement to help him transition to another career other than being a St. Anthony officer.”

The Pioneer Press reports the St. Anthony police force will have fewer officers as a result of the terminated contract, but it looks as there will be no layoffs.

The Pioneer Press notes that Yanez’s partner, Joseph Kauser left his post for another job in law enforcement in April. Yanez was terminated following the trial, and another officer is supposed to retire at the end of the year.

However, the city of Falcon Heights will not be without a police force.

“Two members of the Council and I met with the Ramsey County’s Contract Cities Group to discuss the potential of including the City of Falcon Heights. Details will need to be flushed out, but the Contract Cities Group welcomes the addition of the City of Falcon Heights. The Sheriff’s Office has been directed to explore and provide cost estimates for the City of Falcon Heights for the current base services provided to the Contract Cities Group and also a cost option similar to services provided by St. Anthony Police. The Sheriff’s Office and the city will have later discussions on the possibilities of integration of the policing and inclusion recommendations from the Falcon Heights Task Force. Communication materials will be available once the options have been determined.”

City Administrator Sack Thongvanh wrote in a weekly newsletter.

The city budget shows they allocated $672,590 to pay for St. Anthony police services.