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Editorial: Praise for our local leaders in law enforcement

Community policing is a concept big cities wish they could tap into, to reduce crime and avoid headlines.

Park Rapids and Hubbard County are fortunate that such a practice has been “business as usual” in this relatively crime-free county.

Sheriff Cory Aukes and Police Chief Terry Eilers have good rapport with the public, based on years of mingling with their neighbors and constituents.

A cynic might call this politicking, but that would be misplaced skepticism.

Both men are popular by virtue of their personalities. Both laugh readily and are straight-shooters in conversation. There’s no hidden agenda with either – what you see is what you get.

That came into play this week when a troubled man suspected to be armed had a melt-down at a Park Rapids apartment complex, potentially endangering neighbors.

The situation was fraught with danger as seven officers responded.

It ended quietly, without drama, as officers talked the man into checking into a hospital and surrendering the weapon.

Outside the building, Eilers listened to his radio and answered nervous tenants’ questions, honestly and forthrightly.

Aukes would have done the same, had he been on the scene as well.

Their low-key approach and first-name basis with most residents can defuse a potentially explosive situation.

We’ve seen too many recent examples where people bent on destruction could not be dissuaded.

Here, we handle it the old-fashioned way, face to face.

There’s something to be said about our top cops, ordinary Joes who grab a burger at a fast food stop or chat up the customers at a sit-down restaurant during their busy day.

Familiarity builds trust. Good job, guys! You are leading two departments of officers learning by your examples, hitting the pavement, talking the talk and walking the walk.