Jack Rice - Blog

Jack Rice is a criminal defense trial lawyer who provides legal advice to those charged with crimes in Federal and Minnesota State courtrooms.


Jack's Blog & Media Appearances

St. Paul: A City in Transition

Somebody once called St. Paul the biggest small town in America, And, I guess, when I drive down its streets, it makes sense to me.
Nevertheless, St. Paul really is a city in transition. Yes, it is Minnesota's state capitol. Yes, it does have a certain charm. And yes, it still does feel like a small town in some ways. But whether that will continue is probably an open question.

After years, the St. Paul Police Department finally built a new headquarters.

Chris Coleman is a life long resident of St. Paul, a former City Councilman and mayoral candidate.

Maybe some statistics can highlight the point. In one area of the city, people speak 26 different languages, everything from English, Spanish and Hmong to Eritrean. 26% of one area is under 14 years of age. There is poverty, homelesness, and areas that have continuing crime. As a result, this has caused the Mayor, City Council, Police and citizens groups to work towards solutions. That is the reason we went to St. Paul. That is the reason we broadcast The Jack Rice Show from the St. Paul Police Department Headquarters on November 3rd, 2005.

During the broadcast, we had a chance to speak with community organizers like Tate Danielson and Johnny Howard, community council people like Jessica Treat but also with Police Commanders and gang unit officers.

Commander Doug Holtz-Commander of Western District and Coordinator of the CARE Program. While it sounds like a hunaitarian group, in fact, it is a tactical law enforcement team that is sent into hot spots to deal with problems.
Officer Ruby Diaz works with the Department's gang unity and specializes in hispanic gangs. She surprized me in that she spent more time talking about the need to be proactive with the youth in the city rather than reactive after everything blows apart.

Before this broadcast, I went on a ride-along with Sgt. Jim Gray of the St. Paul Police Department. The Sgt. is an old east side kid. His father grew up there and so did he. His father was a cop and so is he. His perspective about the old neighborhood was really telling. As he put it, "sure, everything seems different but in many ways it is still the same." Before, we had Italian, Swedish and Polish immigrants. Now? Hmong, Somalian and Hispanic."
I guess that the old adage The more things change, the more they stay the same really applies to this city.

Karen DuPaul, community organizer from Dayton's Bluff Community Council and Commander Gene Polyak, Commander of the East Side Patrol division are on the same side and have found ways to partner-up to find solutions to the problems they face.

Doing a remote broadcast can sometimes be difficult. Often, it all depends upon the people that show up and take the time to share their stories. In St. Paul, I found people from all walks who have worked together to makes sure that this city's transitioninto the future is a smooth one.

Sr. Commander John Vomastic-Senior Commander of Central District focused in on the homeless problem and dealing with policing when the city's population is starting to shift back downtown. And about the inevitable clash that results.