MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A renewed sense of cooperation is spreading in the area of Minneapolis hardest hit during the uprising following the murder of George Floyd.
The Third Precinct is where most of the damage was done. Jose Gomez is the new inspector there for the Minneapolis Police Department. He and his officers are hoping to make a difference in places they weren't welcome before.
"We need the community more than ever," Gomez said.
He knows how important community is and how without it's help rebuilding what was destroyed could not happen.
"I heard from the community that presence was a big thing, and they wanted to see officers, so we established these beats, so it's kinda community-drive and data-driven," Gomez said.
He says establishing connections within the community is a priority.
"There are many different levels of partnership, and this is just making sure that they have a voice and listening to the concerns they have and how we can work together," Gomez said.
The inspector knows that his officers can only move at the speed of trust, especially when it comes to George Floyd Square at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.
"You gotta remember the square was a no-go zone, and we went from no communication, no response, no nothing with MPD and EMS to being able to actually, wow, somebody emailed me back," Bridgette Stuart said.
Stuart is public relations director for Agape. The group patrols and protects George Floyd Square, one of the few areas in the country that is community policed but also willing to work with law enforcement.
"We need their help going in there, so just the partnership and being able to talk to them and figure out how to work together, and, you know, make it more accessible to us, it's great," Gomez said.
Both Gomez and Stuart say because of their collaboration relationships are being built and criminal activity in that area is slowing.
"This is how you get past the broken trust, this is how you take that first step into communication and it came from Inspector Gomez when he got his new position," Stuart said.
Agape is not trying to replace police, and they are not acting as police officers in the community. The group hopes working with Gomez will help improve the area around George Floyd Square for those who live and work there.
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