Police and security luncheon create engaging conversation

The Mankato Department of Public Safety and Minnesota State Security sat down with faculty and students over lunch Wednesday to ask questions about policies and address concerns. 

Attendees were encouraged to have a healthy discussion and express their thoughts following a presentation from MDPS and MSU security about how they assist the community and ways to connect with them. 

Director of University Security Sandi Schnorenberg said students think of MSU security as ticket writers who get people in trouble, but they do much more than that. 

“Our main focus is to help ensure everybody has a safe living and learning environment. While we have to enforce policies and rules, we are your friend and partner in creating a safe space,” Schnorenberg said.

Schnorenberg said MSU security takes on more than responding to emergencies on campus. Besides 24-hour patrol, officers are responsible for the lost and found, helping students jumpstart and unlock cars and reviewing incident reports.

Matt DuRose has worked for Mankato Public Safety for almost 24 years. DuRose said he attended the luncheon to engage more with the community as one of the three pillars of their philosophy is community outreach. (The other pillars are problem-solving and partnerships.)

“It’s an opportunity to hear people’s experiences and stories because then we can take them and bring them back to the department to the officers who are not able to make it today,” DuRose said.

A few attendees shared stories of anxieties about traffic stops. In today’s social media climate, there’s no shortage of viral videos documenting negative encounters with law enforcement during traffic stops. DuRose said hearing those stories helps raise awareness for his department. 

“While they didn’t share anything that happened here, we do know that there are some experiences that people had in the city of Mankato that haven’t been positive,” DuRose said. “We’d like to hear about those, so we can make improvements. We always want to learn from our mistakes, but we want to do our best to have positive interactions.”

DuRose mentioned that Mankato Police has several training protocols to combat any incidents that may occur within mental health, LGBT and BIPOC communities along with trying to get involved as much as possible. 

“We walked in the Juneteenth parade. We attend the pride festival here in Mankato. We go there and participate. We’re not there to be security guards with our arms crossed and our sunglasses on,” DuRose said. “We’re invited because I think people see us as open and engaging and want us to be transparent in the community and get to know the community as best we can.”

Beyond attending community events, DuRose said officers must go through yearly implicit bias training and de-escalation training. Officers also must renew their licenses every three years. 

Grad student Orozco Luis said he attended the luncheon because it allowed students to realize security wants to help out in any way it can.

“Students sometimes may not feel that they are adequately being helped and it’s nice to know they want to help out,” Luis said.

Luis said these events help build communication between the community and MSU.

“If we as students are also in the know about what MPS is trying to do, we can all do it together,” Luis said.

To better support students’ needs, DuRose said getting involved not only in the Mankato community, but also in the MSU community is important. 

“We have a couple of officers that are assigned to MSU as a neighborhood, so you might see them just walking the campus. I like to come up here and have lunch every once in a while because we talk in classes, primarily the law enforcement classes,” DuRose said.

Schnorenberg said the luncheon helped create an opportunity for students to voice their concerns and questions in a comfortable environment. 

“Anytime we can have conversations when there’s low stress will help us in a high-stress situation. People will feel more comfortable coming to us,” Schnorenberg said.

Any students who have concerns they’d like to address can go to Wiecking Center room 222. 

Header photo: Students and faculty gathered with Mankato Police and MSU security to discuss policies and answer questions over lunch on Thursday. (Dominic Bothe/The Reporter)

Write to Emma Johnson at

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