It's pretty unusual to hear Japanese in the halls of the Coon Rapids Police Department, but this week a team of journalists and filmmakers from the other side of the globe brought their cameras to the city.
The television crew, led by senior producer Taku Nishimae, is creating a documentary for Japanese public television about technology’s role in improving public safety. Part of the piece will focus on the Community Watch Team in Coon Rapids. Nishimae was in town to learn more about the police department’s voluntary camera registration program and how police partner with regular citizens on crime prevention efforts.
Coon Rapids Police launched the camera program last year, which allows residents and businesses to voluntarily share the location of private security cameras with police. If a crime occurs nearby, it could help investigators track down useful footage.
The filmmakers will use the footage they gathered in Coon Rapids, and elsewhere throughout the United States, to paint a picture of how American law enforcement is harnessing technology and community engagement to tackle crime. Nichimae says community safety is top of mind in Japan as the country prepares to host the Olympics next summer.
"That's why we're here," he said, "it is very different. Law enforcement [in Japan], they do community outreach but it's not like here."
Nishimae first discovered the Coon Rapids camera program from a report by the Associated Press. The documentary is expected to air on Japanese public television sometime in February.