St. Paul Police Reach Out to Somali Immigrants

February 28, 2004

Source: Pioneer Press

On February 28, 2004 the Pioneer Press reported, "St. Paul police officers are learning how to say, 'Booliis baan ahay' and 'Ma dhibataa jirta?' to encourage trust between the department and members of the Somali community. The first means 'I am the police,' in Somali, and the second translates into, 'Is there a problem.' Other waves of immigrants to St. Paul, including Hmong and Latinos, have led to similar cultural training in the department. With Somalis representing the newest large group of immigrants to St. Paul, this marks the first time that all St. Paul officers are being trained in Somali culture and the Islamic community. More Somalis live in Minneapolis than St. Paul, and in Minneapolis, there has been some conflict between the community and the police, but that hasn't been a problem in St. Paul, said Abdisalam Adam, Somali community specialist for St. Paul's public schools."