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Superior police seek public input

Superior Police K-9 Officer Nick Eastman holds Marik as he gets petted during the Mighty Machines event at the Superior Middle School in August. Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com

The Superior Police Department wants to hear from you.

A community survey is being taken through the end of the year to allow Superior residents the chance to sound off on the department's effectiveness, neighborhood concerns and how safe they feel in the community.

"We do a pretty good job of identifying problems, primarily through 911 data and our crime statistics, and knowing where things are going on, but we should also hear from the community," said Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander. "I mean, there could be concerns out there that we just don't know about that are important to people. Without giving them an opportunity to share that with us, it goes unknown."

The department teamed up with legal studies and criminal justice students at the University of Wisconsin-Superior to conduct the Superior Police Department Community Survey. With police input, students created the online questionnaire and will collect the data.

"This puts a neutral party in the intermediate spot," Alexander said. "We're simply going to be provided the results and use them to try to deliver the services that our community wants. If we're doing a good job already, we'll try to improve on it."

Tapping the UWS partnership ensures anonymity, the chief said, and allows respondents to be candid.

"The identity of the people will never be known to us," Alexander said.

The survey asks respondents to give feedback on the effectiveness of department programs from social media to investigations, how well the department works with different groups, and what the department should prioritize. Other questions ask if Superior police officers treat people with respect, whether the department responds to emergencies in a timely manner, if community education and outreach programs are appropriate and whether a formal complaint against an officer will receive a fair, objective response.

In all, the survey should take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Alexander has been interested in launching a community-wide survey since before he was named chief. It's a way to build community trust and improve efficiency, he said. Although the Superior Police Department has hosted community meetings and listening sessions to get public input, the survey offers a broader scope of questions and allows more people to respond.

"I hope it's received well by the community as an attempt for us to be transparent and to demonstrate that we're willing to listen to the community's needs and use that information to try to help direct us in our delivery of services, the resources we think we need and to do a better job," Alexander said.

The survey is targeted mainly for Superior residents. However, if someone from Douglas County or Duluth sees the link and fills it out — maybe they work here or pass through regularly — their responses won't be discounted.

The study can be taken online at uwsuperior.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eEX0oxPKbjiUu9v.

People can also download a copy of the survey at www.dropbox.com/s/ibseiuelpi7uo1w/SPD%20Community%20Survey%20Finalized%2....`6.pdf?dl=0 and mail it to Dr. Maria Cuzzo, P.O. Box 2000, Swenson 3142, UW-Superior, Belknap & Catlin, Superior, WI 54880.

A random number of surveys will be mailed out with December utility bills, as well. Residents can also pick up an information sheet and directions to the survey link during events held by UWS students at Super One and Kwik Trip stores during November and December. The survey runs through the end of the year.

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